Margaret Boettcher knows a fast stress reliever: turn upside down. “Handstands and cartwheels make people happy,” said Boettcher, who has taught fellow WHOI graduate students and postdoctoral researchers her relaxation methods—even on geology field trips to volcanoes.
Her contributions (cartwheeling and otherwise) to graduate student life were recognized this spring when she received the Panteleyev Award, given annually to a graduating student in the MIT/WHOI Joint Program who best exemplifies the commitment to improving the graduate education experience at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.
“She has always been helpful to other students, taking the time to explain whatever questions came her way about research, problem sets, and the finer points of doing a cartwheel,” wrote one student in a letter nominating Boettcher.
The award is named for George P. Panteleyev, a graduate student who in 1995 was swept overboard and lost in an accident on a research cruise on the Ob River in Siberia.
Boettcher, 29, received the award at a reception for graduates June 1 in Woods Hole. She continues her research at WHOI as a postdoctoral investigator working with Associate Scientist Greg Hirth in the Department of Geology and Geophysics. She studies the frictional behavior of ocean faults where earthquakes occur.
Margaret Boettcher demonstrates a handstand on Hualalai Volcano on Hawaii. Students from the MIT/WHOI graduate program traveled to the island to study its origin and active volcanism during a geodynamics seminar in 2004. (Photo by Shichun Huang, MIT)