Dr. Michael Rygel, assistant professor of geology at SUNY-Potsdam, and a 2000 University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown geology graduate, was the 2006 recipient of the award for the Ph.D. that made the most outstanding contribution to Canadian sedimentary and petroleum geology, by the Canadian Society of Petroleum Geologists.
His thesis, entitled “Alluvial sedimentology and basin analysis of Carboniferous strata near Joggins, Nova Scotia, Canada,” was supervised by Dr. Martin Gibling at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and was published in the March 2007 Bulletin of Canadian Petroleum Geology. The majority of his doctoral research involved the coastal exposures of the Joggins Formation, a candidate UNESCO World Heritage Site. The initial phase of his research involved working as part of a research team that measured the Joggins section for the first time since it was originally described by Sir William Logan in 1842 (Calder et al., 2005; Davies et al., 2005). In order to reconcile the new measurements with the original work of Logan, Dr. Rygel revisited Logan’s original field notes. He and Shipley (2005) documented new information about the search for coal in Canada and the interactions between William Logan, John William Dawson, and Charles Lyell during what would become one of the most important early geologic
studies in Nova Scotia.
Dr. Rygel received his doctorate in earth sciences at Dalhousie University in 2005. While at Dalhousie University, he was awarded the President’s Graduate Teaching Assistant Award (2002-2003), was a Killam Pre-Doctoral Scholar (2003-2005), and won the Doctoral Thesis Award for the best doctorate in the Sciences and Engineering (2006). Additionally, he received the Cameron Award from the Canadian Society of Coal Science and Organic Petrology (2001), the A.L. Medlin Award from the Coal Geology Division of GSA (2004), and the GSA History of Geology Division Student Award (2004).
Founded in 1927 and celebrating 80 years, the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown is a four-year, degree-granting college of the University of Pittsburgh with an enrollment of approximately 3,200. The university offers more than 40 majors and is known for its engineering technology, education, humanities, natural and social sciences degree programs. UPJ has been ranked “Third in the North” among public comprehensive colleges and universities, northern region, by U.S. News and World Report, America’s Best Colleges, 2007.