Alissa J. Kotowski

Hi! I just started as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Earth Sciences at Utrecht University in the Netherlands. More on this coming soon!

I was recently a Wares postdoctoral research fellow at McGill University in Montreal. I earned my Ph.D. from the Jackson School of Geosciences at the University of Texas at Austin in 2019. Before that, I studied Geology at Boston College (B.Sc. 2014) and spent a semester at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia in 2013.

I study the interactions between deformation and metamorphism at plate tectonic boundaries, to constrain shear zone rheology. I use exhumed rocks -- ancient, fossilized plate boundaries -- as natural laboratories to understand the mechanics of steady-state and transient deformation. Most of my work has been in subduction zones, but I'm interested in all kinds of tectonic settings.

My postdoc research is just getting started, but the plan is to assess fault and shear zone mechanics using nano-indentation experiments to quantify the material properties and creep behavior of important strain-accommodating minerals, like micas and amphiboles.

During my time at UT, I was an Instructor for UT Austin's GeoFORCE program, a K-12 outreach initiative designed to increase the number and diversity of students pursuing STEM educations at the college level. Every summer GeoFORCE takes high school students on field trips to spectacular sites around Texas and the United States to introduce them to geology in the field. As an Instructor for summer field trips, I brought students from Austin, Dallas and Houston to the Grand Canyon, Oregon, and Central Texas. Find out more about GeoFORCE on their website.