Grace Musser, Ph.D. Candidate + NSF GRFP Fellow

The Jackson School of Geosciences

The University of Texas at Austin, Austin, Texas


Academic Status and Education

May 2022 (current) Ph.D., The Jackson School of Geosciences, The University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX | Geosciences | Primary Advisor: Dr. Julia Clarke | Thesis focus: Morphology, systematics and biogeography of extinct and extant Neoaves, with an emphasis on core-Gruiformes.

May 2017 Master of Arts, The Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, Columbia University, New York, NY | Conservation Biology | GPA: 4.0 | Primary Advisor: Dr. Joel Cracraft | Thesis: Resolving the radiation and phenotypic evolution of basal | Neoaves: Beginning construction of a new morphological dataset and a novel sister taxon for Aptornis.

May 2015 Bachelor of Science, The College of Charleston, Charleston, SC | Major: Anthropology | Concentration: Biological Anthropology | GPA: 3.8 | Primary Advisor: Dr. Dana Cope | Thesis: The Effect of Holocene Climatic Variation on Baja California Rodent Diversity: Evidence from the Abrigo de los Escorpiones Fauna.  

May 2015 Bachelor of Art, The College of Charleston, Charleston, SC |Major: Studio Art | Concentration: Oil Painting | GPA: 4.0

Publications

Musser, G. M. and J. Cracraft. 2019. A new morphological dataset reveals a novel relationship for the Adzebill of New Zealand (Aptornis) and provides a foundation for total evidence neoavian phylogenetics. American Museum Novitates 3927:1-70. https://doi.org/10.1206/3927.1

Non-peer-reviewed. Holden-Musser, Mary Ellen, Tamás Cserkész and Grace M. Musser. 2017. Family Sminthidae (Birch Mice). In: Wilson D. E., T. E. Lacher, Jr & R. A. Mittermeier (eds). Handbook of the Mammals of the World. Vol. 7. Lagomorphs and Rodents II. Barselona, Lynx Edicions.

Non-peer-reviewed. Holden-Musser, Mary Ellen, Rimvydas Juškaitis and Grace M. Musser. 2016. Family Gliridae (Dormice). In: Wilson D. E., T. E. Lacher, Jr & R. A. Mittermeier (eds). Handbook of the Mammals of the World. Vol. 6. Lagomorphs and Rodents I. Barselona, Lynx Edicions, pp. 838–889.

 

Fellowships

2019    The Smithsonian Institution Fellowship Program Graduate Fellowship, The National 

           Museum of Natural History, Washington, D.C. ($7850)

2017    Dean’s Prestigious Fellowship Supplement, The University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX ($4,670)

2017    The Jackson School of Geological Sciences Provost Fellowship, The University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX ($18,000)

2017    Doctoral Fellowship, the Jackson School of Geosciences, The University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX ($91,300)

2016    National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program, The National Science Foundation ($102,000 plus tuition)

            Project: Resolving the radiation and phenotypic evolution of basal Neoaves: A new morphological dataset. 

 Selected Honors and Awards

2019    The Lundelius Scholarship Award, the University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX ($876)

2019    Python Geoscience Research Competition Project Award Winner, the University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX

2019    The Graduate Research Internship Program Award, The National Science Foundation ($5000)

2018    Endowed Presidential Scholarship, The University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX ($3500)

2018    The Jackson School of Geosciences Graduate Off Campus Research Student Grant (Summer), The University of Texas at Austin ($1529)

2018    The Stephen Jay Gould Award, The Paleontological Society ($1214)

2018    The Jackson School of Geosciences Graduate Off Campus Research Student Grant (Spring), The University of Texas at Austin ($1000)

2017    Ornithology Collections Study Grant, The American Museum of Natural History, New York, NY ($1400)

2017    The Jackson School of Geosciences Graduate Off Campus Research Student Grant, The University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX ($88)

2017    Dean’s List, Department of Ecology, Evolution and Environmental Biology, Columbia University, New York, NY

2017    Master’s Synthesis Competition Finalist, Columbia University, New York, NY

2016    Dean’s List, Department of Ecology, Evolution and Environmental Biology, Columbia University, New York, NY

2016    Ecology, Evolution and Environmental Biology Summer Research Grant, Columbia University, New York, NY ($1200)

2014    The College of Charleston Summer Field Work in Anthropology Scholarship, The    College of Charleston, Charleston, SC ($500)

          2014    Phi Eta Sigma Senior Scholarship, Phi Eta Sigma ($1000)

2014    Dean’s List in Anthropology, The College of Charleston, Charleston, SC 

2013    College of Charleston Merit Scholarship, The College of Charleston, Charleston, SC ($1500)

2013    EXCEL Award for Academic Excellence, The College of Charleston, Charleston, SC ($1000)

2012    The Elizabeth Greenshields Foundation for the Visual Arts Grant, The Elizabeth Greenshields Foundation, Canada ($15,000)

2012    Palmetto Fellows Scholarship, State of South Carolina ($7500 per year for 4 years: $30,000)

2011    Palmetto Fellows Enhancement Scholarship, State of South Carolina ($2500)

2011    College of Charleston Foundation Scholarship, The College of Charleston ($3000)

Conference Presentations

2018 “New material of Pellornis clarifies pattern and timing of the extant gruiform radiation.” Oral presentation. The Society of Vertebrate Paleontology Annual Meeting, the Albuquerque Convention Center, Albuquerque, NM. 

2018 “New material of Pellornis clarifies pattern and timing of the extant gruiform radiation.” Oral presentation. Presented at the American Ornithological Society Conference, the Hilton Tucson El Conquistador Hotel, Tucson, AZ.

2018 “Resolving the radiation and phenotypic evolution of basal Neoaves: A new morphological dataset and a novel sister taxon for Aptornis.” Poster presentation. Presented at the Jackson School of Geosciences Research Symposium, The University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX.

2017 “Resolving the radiation and phenotypic evolution of basal Neoaves: A new morphological dataset and a novel sister taxon for Aptornis.” Oral presentation. Presented at the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology Conference, the Calgary TELUS Convention Center, Calgary, Alberta, Canada.

2016 “The Effect of Holocene El Niño Variation on Rodent Diversity: Evidence from the Abrigo de los Escorpiones Fauna.” Poster. Presented at the Women in Science Conference, Columbia University, New York, NY.

2014 “The Effect of Holocene El Niño Variation on Rodent Diversity: Evidence from the Abrigo de los Escorpiones Fauna.” Oral presentation. Presented at the Stanley J. Olsen Eagle Lake Zooarchaeology Conference, Eagle Lake Field Station, Lassen County, CA.

 

Invited Talks

2017 “Escaping the ghost of the forest: a new morphological dataset reveals a novel sister taxon for the adzebill of New Zealand (Aptornis).” Oral Presentation. Presented for the Paleontological Society of Austin, Austin, TX.

2017 “Escaping the ghost of the forest: a new morphological dataset reveals a novel sister taxon for the adzebill of New Zealand (Aptornis).” Oral Presentation. Presented in the Paleontology Brown Bag Series, the Jackson School of Geosciences at the University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX.

 

Professional Experience

Teaching Assistant in Human Anatomy and Physiology, The University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX (current)

·     Responsible for creating lesson plans involving the Complete Anatomy 360 application, Aperio pathology and histology software, dissections of human and non-human specimens, skeletons, and anatomical models.

·     Leading two sections of 3.5 hour labs per week(7 hours per week in total), teaching emphasizes the Socratic method.

·     Creating two quizzes per section each week and contributing six to twelve questions for two lab practical examinations per semester.

·     September 2018-May 2019

Research Experiences for Undergraduates Mentor, The American Museum of Natural History, New York, NY

·      Undergraduate student mentor in the Ornithology Department along with Dr. Joel Cracraft.

·      Aided student daily in research, data collection, publication creation, and presentation of data.

·      June 1, 2016-August 24, 2016

Reading Assistant in Ethnobotany, Columbia University Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, New York, NY

·       Reading assistant for Ethnobotany course in the Ecology, Evolution, and Environmental Science Department for Dr. Michael Balick and Dr. Chuck Peters.

·       Responsible for creating lesson plans and lecturing, describing and grading assignments, leading field trips, and dissemination of reading material.

·       January 19, 2016-May 1, 2016

Intern, Forensic Autopsy Department of the Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, SC

·       Responsible for dissecting and diagnosing patients, determining cause and manner of death, labeling and collating morgue specimens, writing autopsy reports, and communicating with forensic pathologists, medical staff, medical students, members of the police force and relatives or guardians of the deceased.

·       January 13, 2014-May 3, 2014

Intern, Exhibition Preparator, The American Museum of Natural History, New York, NY

·       Facial reconstruction of Emperor Qin Shi Huang and the creation of two dioramas for the “Power of Poison” Exhibition that is currently travelling globally. Responsible for exhibition fabrication, collections research, meeting with designers and patrons for exhibition approval, and collaboration with other preparators and scientific curators.

·       May 7, 2013-August 10, 2013

Intern, Exhibition Preparator, The American Museum of Natural History, New York, NY

·       Collections research and reconstruction of an Aztec Marketplace diorama for the “Our Global Kitchen” exhibition that is currently traveling globally. Responsible for exhibition fabrication, collections research, meeting with designers and patrons for exhibition approval, and collaboration with other preparators and scientific curators.

·       June 14, 2012-August 20, 2012

Intern, Historical archaeology at Hampton Plantation, McClellanville, SC

·       Aided in excavation and specimen identification.

·       October 12, 2013-October 20, 2013

Honors Biology Teaching Assistant, James Island Charter High School, Charleston, SC

·       Responsible for creating lesson plans and lecturing, creating and grading assignments, and dissemination of reading material.

·       August 23, 2014-April 5, 2015

Fieldwork Experience and International Collaborations

2019 Paleontological fieldwork and collections research in Yunnan and Beijing, China at the Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology. May 14-29, 2019.

2018 Paleontological fieldwork and research in Gansu, Yunnan, Xi’an, and Beijing, China. May 19-June 25, 2018.

2018 Paleontological fieldwork in Southern Patagonia, Chile. February 14-March 5, 2018.

 

Selected Outreach

Volunteer Mentor, GEOFORCE

·       Mentor to an underprivileged undergraduate student within the University of Texas at Austin, with meetings occurring at least once per month.

·       September 2017-present

Volunteer, Annual Fossil Fest with the Paleontological Society of Austin

·       Responsible for teaching the general public about invertebrate and vertebrate fossils and evolution.

·       November 2017

Volunteer, Earth Science Career Day

·       Responsible for teaching middle school students from several Austin schools about invertebrate fossils and evolution.

·       October 2017

Volunteer, S.T.E.A.M. (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math) Day

·       Responsible for teaching elementary school students of Barton Creek Elementary School, Austin, TX about fossils and paleontological art and reconstruction.

·       Aided children in creating paleontological art and reconstruction through the use of real fossils.

·       October 2017

Group leader, Women in Science “Sunday Science Starters” program at Columbia University

·       Responsible for coordinating and teaching female middle school students how to conduct scientific experiments and think critically about the scientific method.

·       November 11, 2016-May 2017

Volunteer, Women in Science “Sunday Science Starters” program at Columbia University

·       Responsible for creating scientific experiments for middle school students to conduct monthly in labs at Columbia University’s Morningside Campus, and aiding in teaching the students how to conduct the experiments and think critically about the scientific method.

·       August 10, 2015-May 2017

Coordinator and teacher, The Literacy Outreach Initiative at the College of Charleston, Charleston, SC

·       Responsible for creating scientific experiments for Title I elementary middle school students to conduct in labs at The College of Charleston Campus, and aiding in teaching the students how to conduct the experiments and think critically about the scientific method. Additionally I coordinated weekly college student visits to each school where students were given a literacy curriculum to teach in order to boost literacy in Charleston County Title I schools.

·       August 2011-May 2013