Student Highlights: Dani Jones


Class:  Junior

Major:  Environmental Systems Science

Dani Jones is a junior studying Environmental System Science with a minor in Geology at the University of Wyoming. She is passionate about the climate and intends to later earn a graduate degree in a climate-based field. With her degrees in hand, Dani hopes to one day work as a researcher for a federal organization. As is often the case with environmental scientists, Dani loves spending her time outdoors, especially hiking, backpacking, and just sitting on a park bench. She also enjoys baking, reading, and a small collection of half-started hobbies.


Dani is working with postdoctoral researcher, Dulcinea Groff, in the Shuman Lab. They are researching factors that may influence interpretations of paleoclimate proxies using sedges (a grass-like plant) in the Rocky Mountains. This is done by comparing the ratio of the weights of certain elements found in the plant. For example, the ratio of heavy oxygens to light oxygens. Different ratios of the elements correspond to different climates, so as you look at older and older plants, you can estimate what the climate was like. Dani’s research looks at how the ratios in modern plants correspond to other environmental factors (such as precipitation and source water) so we know what might be affecting interpretations of past climates. This research can be used to better understand the application of plant-based paleoclimate proxies.


Every year, we award fellowships to graduate and undergraduate students attending the University of Wyoming or one of Wyoming’s community colleges in order to provide them with the opportunity to do “real” research. Occasionally, we feature one of these students and their research on this blog. For more information about our student fellowships, visit our College Programs page.