While Lindsey Powell’s childhood love of dinosaurs never faded, it took a documentary to help her realize to could become a lifelong passion. During a semester break, Powell watched Dinosaur 13, which depicts the discovery and legal battles surrounding Sue, the most complete Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton ever found.
Powell vowed to become a geologist and immediately changed her major at IUPUI to geology.
Armed with a clear passion, Powell pursued internships and hands-on experiences. She reached out directly to The Black Hills Institute (featured in the documentary) and landed a summer job where she learned how to prepare fossils. Another summer she interned at the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis where she went on excavations digging up dinosaurs.
On campus, Powell conducted research with Catherine Macris, Ph.D., assistant professor and geoscientist. Powell used a scanning electron microscope (SEM) to examine geological samples she gathered from the site where a meteorite killed the dinosaurs 66 million years ago. Powell collected the samples from the North Dakota site while working for The Black Hills Institute. She is one of only a few researchers who have collected samples at the site.
“My research is going to be able to tell us more about how dinosaurs died and what happens after meteorite impact,” she said.
This spring, Powell shared her preliminary finding at IUPUI’s Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP) poster presentation where she was awarded best research poster.
For Powell, the research experience at IUPUI was critical to gain the experience needed to attend the prestigious graduate program she was eyeing. This fall, Powell will pursue a master’s degree in vertebrate paleontology from The University of Manchester, United Kingdom.
“IUPUI has prepared me because they were able to provide me with research experience,” Powell said. “IUPUI was also able to allow me to build comradery with my professors and make it normal to speak to people who are academically higher than you, which really helped me build confidence to go to someone and ask for what I need.”
Video by Lauren Kay | Story by Candace Beaty Gwaltney