Mines News

Release Date Tuesday, February 14, 2023

Dr. Laurie Anderson Named AAAS Fellow

South Dakota Mines Professor, Department Head, and Museum Director Dr. Laurie Anderson has been named to the most recent cohort of AAAS Fellows, which is among the most distinct honors in the scientific community.


The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the world’s largest general scientific society, has named South Dakota Mines Professor, Department Head and Museum Director Laurie Anderson, Ph.D., to its 2022 class of Fellows.

AAAS fellowship is one of the most distinct honors in the scientific community. Anderson is the first woman to be named an AAAS fellow while employed at a South Dakota university. She is one of only three current AAAS Fellows in the entire state. The organization’s database shows that Anderson is among only small number of individuals in the history of South Dakota who have previously been named AAAS Fellows.

“This honor for Dr. Anderson is so very well deserved,” says South Dakota Mines President Jim Rankin, Ph.D., P.E. “It’s wonderful to see her distinguished work as a scholar properly recognized by the scientific community. She also deserves high praise for her leadership on campus as a celebrated mentor and advocate for faculty, staff and students. She is an excellent reflection of all of the amazing individuals we are fortunate to have at Mines.”

Dr Lauries Anderson 2Anderson leads the Department of Geology and Geological Engineering at South Dakota Mines and is the director of the Museum of Geology on campus. She is a paleontologist; her research focuses on reconstructing past environments by understanding the life, death and fossilization processes of clams, oysters and other marine and freshwater creatures. She is an expert in paleobiology, paleoecology, taphonomy and phylogeny of mollusks, particularly Bivalvia.

Anderson has a distinguished career that includes work all over the world, including in the Amazon, along with research in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama following the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Besides field work, her scholarship also includes research in modern and ancient coastlines, ancient freshwater lakes, statistical analysis of shape and geochemical datasets.

Sarah Keenan, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Department of Geology and Geological Engineering at Mines, agrees that Anderson deserves recognition for both her scholarly work and her leadership. “Dr. Anderson continues to serve as an inspiration for paleontologists and geoscientists, and for women in academia. Her leadership, contributions to research and education and mentorship are more than deserving of the highest honor of AAAS Fellow.”

Anderson received a B.A. (summa cum laude) in geology, biology and music from the University of Minnesota, Morris in 1985. She went on to complete an M.S. in geology in 1987 at Bowling Green State University, where she held an Amoco Foundation Geology Fellowship. She earned a Ph.D. in geology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1991. While at Madison, she received a Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation Fellowship and a Shell Companies Foundation Fellowship. In 1991, Anderson joined the faculty in the Department of Geology and Geophysics at Louisiana State University. While at LSU, she received the College of Basic Science Research Award, Dr. Henry V. Howe Distinguished Professorship and the Harrison Family Field Camp Professorship. She also served as LSU faculty senate president and chair of the Department of Geology and Geophysics. She came to South Dakota Mines in 2011 to serve as the geology and geological engineering department head and director of the Museum of Geology. She also served as interim head of the Department of Mining Engineering and Management in 2019-2020.

Anderson will receive a certificate and a gold and blue rosette pin (representing science and engineering, respectively) to commemorate her election as an AAAS Fellow. Her achievement will also be celebrated in Washington, D.C., in summer 2023. She will be featured in the AAAS News and Notes section of Science magazine in February 2023 along with the list of other most recent nominees.



About South Dakota Mines  

Founded in 1885, South Dakota Mines is one of the nation’s leading engineering, science and technology universities. South Dakota Mines offers bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees and a best-in-class education at an affordable price. The university enrolls 2,493 students with an average class size of 24. The South Dakota Mines placement rate for graduates is 98 percent, with an average starting salary of more than $70,036. For these reasons  South Dakota Mines is ranked among the best engineering schools in the country for return on investment. Find us online at www.sdsmt.edu and on FacebookTwitter, LinkedInInstagram, and Snapchat.

Contact: Mike Ray, 605-394-6082, mike.ray@sdsmt.edu