Laura Rooney; M.S. (Geosciences)
ASSISTANT CREW CHIEF, STUDENT RESEARCH ASSOCIATE, EDUCATOR
Laura Rooney is a researcher and educator of paleontology. She grew up in New York on Long Island where frequent visits to the American Museum of Natural History helped develop her passion for the field. She obtained her Bachelor’s in anthropology from the Macaulay Honors College at CUNY Hunter College where she primarily studied primate fossils and evolution. It was during the sophomore year of her undergraduate education that she first joined our field crew and began to truly dedicate herself to her studies in paleontology. She recently received her Master’s in geoscience with a concentration in paleontology at East Tennessee State University where she studied methods of interpreting the locomotor modes of extinct reptiles.
Her paleontological fieldwork has spanned the Lance and Morrison Formations of Montana and Wyoming, as well as the Wayan Formation of Idaho and the Gray Fossil Site of eastern Tennessee. She is primarily interested in vertebrate functional morphology and biomechanics, particularly locomotor behavior. Currently she is studying the skeletons of living crocodilians and lizards to determine if the features of their bones can help to interpret how extinct reptiles moved.
Laura’s teaching experience spans from the field through the lab and the classroom. She has instructed newcomers to paleontology in proper field techniques during several summer field seasons in Montana and Wyoming. While interning in the fossil preparation lab at the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University in Philadelphia and the New Jersey State Museum, she educated visitors in various aspects of paleontology. During her time at East Tennessee State University, she also worked as a teaching assistant for undergraduate courses in geology and evolution.
In Her Own Words
A combined love of animals and bones has brought me to my current studies in paleontology. While I have never considered myself a particularly outdoorsy person, paleontology brings out the explorer in me. Despite my hatred of heat and insects, I’m more than happy to hike for miles in search of incredible fossils. Other than my interests in paleontology, I’m an avid reader and writer of science fiction, a skilled baker (my triple chocolate chip cookies are to die for), and a lover of Spider-Man.