A Wyoming native who feels most at home in the sage-brushed sandhills of the Powder River Basin, Kirsten Nicolaysen’s professional training includes roaming volcanoes from the sub-Arctic to the sub-Antarctic. As an undergraduate at Colorado College, Nicolaysen participated in a KECK consortium geology project to investigate Mt. McLoughlin, one of the southern Cascades volcanoes. Thoroughly enspelled by igneous geochemistry and active volcanoes, she pursued research in the Aleutian Islands for a master’s degree at University of Wyoming.
During her doctoral work, Nicolaysen participated in two research cruises: the first to investigate the Southeast Indian Ridge near the islands of Amsterdam and St. Paul and the second to drill into the Cretaceous to Recent Kerguelen Plateau, the second largest igneous province on Earth. Since finishing her dissertation work, Nicolaysen has taught at Lawrence University and then for four years at Kansas State University. Between these teaching commitments, she was a visiting research professor at the Université Libre de Bruxelles (U.L.B.) in Belgium.