PaleoPlants

Klymiuk Lab at the Field Museum

People

Current

Dr Az Klymiuk
Dr Az Klymiuk

Tan’si! I’m a paleobiologist, mycologist, comparative plant anatomist, and ecologist, pretending to know what I’m doing most days of the week. I’m a Métis (Indigenous) Canadian first-generation scholar from Treaty 8 Territory in Alberta, Canada; I completed my PhD in Ecology & Evolutionary Biology at the University of Kansas in December 2018. I’ve been employed as Collections Manager for fossil plants at the Field Museum since January 2019. I hike and garden, participate in art through scientific illustration and beading, and there are persistent rumors that I write speculative fiction.

Curriculum Vitae

Cathy Wiegand
Cathy Wiegand

I am the Lauer Collections Assistant for Paleobotany and have been working in the collection since September 2019. I was a 2017 Women in Science Intern in Geology Collections. I have worked on a number of projects including rehoming the cellulose acetate peels, organizing the permineralized peats, and photographing fossil ferns. Being able to learn about how the Earth used to look and what life was like millions of years ago is fascinating. I also enjoy sharing the collections with the public during outreach events. This collection contains so many interesting specimens and I love being able to explore it. When not at the museum, some of my hobbies include reading, cross stitch, and cooking.

Mendkhuu Enkhbayar
Mendkhuu Enkhbayar

Hello, my name is Mindy Enkhbayar and I have a degree in Art History. I have always loved being surrounded by cultural artifacts and specimens that contain so much history and stories. The Field Museum has not only allowed me to have a close up look of the objects, it also allowed me to work with the specimens. My work on imaging dried fern specimens and fossilized specimens allowed me to go into 360 million years of fern diversity and environments. Paleobotany rocks!!!

Andrew Gallardo
Andrew Gallardo

My name is Andrew I. Gallardo and I’m a collections assistant jumping back and forth between working on ferns and fossil plants. I’m originally from Southern California, and I spent most of my summers camping with my family in the Sierra Nevada, which fostered my love for nature and eventually science as a whole. I moved to Chicago 7 years ago for my undergrad at the Art Institute of Chicago, and for the last 3 years, I’ve been working at the Field creating/editing records and imaging dried plants and fossil plants. Working with botany and paleobotany specimens has reinvigorated my interest in science, plants, and their environments, both of our time and of the past (although it never really left). When I’m not at the museum, I can be found with my partner, Zach in other museums or at the conservatory. If not, we’re at home playing board games or video games, and giving our little dudes, Smith and Boone, treats and belly rubs.

Ugne Gliaudelyte
Ugne Gliaudelyte

My name is Ugne Gliaudelyte and I’m a freelance web developer. I graduated from Vilnius University in 2015 with the Bachelor’s Degree in Environmental Hydrogeology and Geoengineering.  Ever since my graduation I was missing science, so in 2019 I decided to join the Field Museum as a volunteer. This year I started developing a web based application for fossil leaves analysis (CLAMP) which helps to obtain ancient climate information. In the future it should make other volunteer work much easier and faster. In my free time I read fantasy books, take long walks with my dog Trikse and (sometimes) write on my blog missugne.com.

Jack Wittry
Jack Wittry

I am a lifelong resident of the Chicagoland area. My first day volunteering at the Field Museum was the day after 9/11. The guards were carrying assault rifles and I made chocolate trilobites. Since then I have had the pleasure of working under 7 collection managers in three collections, Fossil Invertebrates, Fossil Vertebrates and last, but not least Fossil Plants. My goal and what I like to do is make the collections more accessible to researchers. In doing this I have accomplished things in science that I never set out to do. And now my hobby is creating reference books on fossils.

Magda & George Roth
Magda & George Roth

We are a team for almost 50 years: Magda and George Roth. Born in Romania in 1949, respective 1948. We went to- and graduated from the same university, with degrees in Chemical Engineering /Chemistry and formed a family. We have 2 wonderful sons, and by now three grandchildren. In 1982 we emigrated to USA (we were lucky!) and were able to find work in our chosen professional fields.  In 2014/2015 we both retired, and here come the golden years! (kind of..). We volunteered at the Field Museum, working in the geochemistry lab on the third floor. Then when they did not have more work for us , we were “transferred” to Paleobotany. Kind of out of our comfort zone, but we found a wonderful, funny, smart, pleasant boss, and amazing colleagues. So, here we are ready to pick up where we left as soon as possible. In the meantime George is doing geo-referencing (geolocation) of Botany collections specimens. So far finished Romania, Hungary and about ¾ of Wisconsin. Some samples were like “Wisconsin, next to Cemetery Road” – no other info for locating it…

Derek den Ouden
Derek den Ouden

My name is Derek den Ouden, and I’m currently an undergraduate student at Iowa State  University majoring in biology and geology. During the summer of 2019 I interned in the  paleobotany collection at the Field Museum and have continued to work with our collection  since. In the collection, my main focus has been identifying, cataloging, and studying our  Neogene (23-2.6 Ma) floras. These fossils can be used to reconstruct past climate, which allows  us to observe how ecosystems have changed through time due to global warming and cooling  events. This kind of information helps to better understand what might happen in the future as  our modern climate is altered by anthropogenic carbon emissions. The capacity to learn things  like this is one of the reasons I’m so passionate about paleontology: its ability to make  predictions and add context to the modern world is truly amazing! 

Dennis Reppen
Dennis Reppen

Hello, my name is Dennis Reppen, and I am a first year studying biology and geophysical sciences at the University of Chicago. In my spare time, I like to collect rocks, fossils, and coins. Over the summer, I worked with reorganizing fossil plants from the Paleocene, specifically from the Sentinel Butte formation of North Dakota. In addition, I have been working on a research paper involving fossil conifers from the same formation. Science, specifically paleontology, has excited me for the longest time because I am fascinated by the wide and diverse array of life that has called Earth home over its long history.

Jackie Cooney
Jackie Cooney

[Bio coming soon!] A former Women in Science intern, Jackie is now pursuing an MS in geographic information systems. When she’s not mapping the contemporary world, she’s helping us navigate the past, by cataloguing Carboniferous floras and pitching in with all the heavy lifting.

Alumni

Grace Crim
Grace Crim

I am a current freshman in Electrical Engineering and Geology at Purdue University WL. My career goal is to become a vertebrate paleontologist, developing technology to understand prehistoric species. I have been passionate about science ever since I was a child, primarily inspired by visiting Evolving Planet at the Field Museum. I knew I wanted to work in paleontology and I had the opportunity to intern and volunteer in the paleobotany department at the Field, coding a website for palynology morphology as well as taking care of the Aureal T. Cross Coal collections, cataloging the Mazon Creek fossils, and digitizing the permineralized peat specimens. Working in this collection has introduced me to a lot of strong women and LGBTQ+ people in STEM, all of whom have been very influential as I continue in my own STEM career. In my free time, I enjoy a good cup of coffee while reading sci-fi novels.

Anna Holm
Anna Holm

Currently, I am a senior at the University of Kansas. I will be graduating with a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Microbiology, and a minor in Healthcare Information Management. When I worked at the Field Museum, I helped Az with her research by making thin section slides and cellulose acetate peels of specimens. After my time at the Field Museum, I worked in the Paleobotanical Collections department at KU! Due to the pandemic, many of my classes have focused on researching the SARS-CoV-2 virus. I am fascinated by the advancements that have been made in the microbiology world to create the vaccine for this virus. In my free time, I enjoy creating art through embroidery.

Molly Jones
Molly Jones

My name is Molly Jones, and I am currently studying at Northwestern University in Evanston. I started working at the Field Museum in my sophomore year of high school. I am interested in science because, no matter what field you pursue, there is always something new to discover. During my time in the paleobotany collection, I helped take photographs of the fossils, reorganize the collection, and start up the collection’s first social media account! I loved working with the team and learning more about the collections. In my free time, I like to hike, travel, and visit museums!

Neah Patkunas
Neah Patkunas

Hello! My name is Neah Patkunas and I’m currently a senior in college. I worked in the paleobotany collections over the summer of 2019, where Grace and I worked with fossilized pollen specimens and cellulose acetate peels. Over the past summer I worked on the Terrestrial Ecology Unit Inventory with the Forest Service and The University of Alabama! My excitement about science is fueled by my curiosity in just about everything around me, but also by my love for the collaborative environment it can create. Besides school, I play bass guitar and piano. I don’t know where I’m going to end up after college, but I’m excited for it!

Ben Martinez
Ben Martinez

[Bio coming soon!] Ben joined us as a high school student, and over the summer he organized, identified, and catalogued an entire Carboniferous flora from the Allegheny Group of southeastern Ohio.

Olivia Stern
Olivia Stern

[Bio coming soon!] Olivia spent her summer with us classifying Eocene leaf fossils with reference to the Field Museum’s outstanding vascular plant herbarium. She’s knee-deep in Fall finals right now — Good luck, Olivia!

Carina Sandoval
Carina Sandoval

[Bio coming soon!] Carina joined us last summer to help digitize archival data and do some photography. She and Molly also helped organize charcoalified peats from Mongolia.

Daisy Salchli
Daisy Salchli

[Bio coming soon!] Daisy jumped in toward the end of summer and helped out with dozens of ongoing projects. As her studies allow, we hope she’ll be keen to manage our social media next summer, and start an independent project.

Diana Arteaga
Diana Arteaga

[Bio coming soon!] Diana joined us as a volunteer before the COVID-19 shutdown in March; despite only being with us a short time, Diana helped us get the ball rolling on a collections-wide decolonization initiative and participated in conservation work with our permineralized peats.

Maeve Daley
Maeve Daley

[Bio coming soon!] Maeve joined us as a volunteer before the COVID-19 shutdown in March; despite only being with us a short time, Maeve helped us get the ball rolling on a collections-wide decolonization initiative and participated in conservation work with our permineralized peats.

Kameron Thayer
Kameron Thayer

[Bio coming soon!] Kam pitched in to help us with dozens of ongoing projects throughout the summer, and is continuing his undergrad studies.

Fur Friends

Maily
Maily

I’m Maily! I live with Dr. Klymiuk and it’s my job to wake them up every morning at least half an hour before the sun creeps over the horizon. I am also very good at chasing deer, growling at bears and moose, and protecting Dr. Az from rogue flowerpots that get blown over in the wind. My favourite thing is when we go hiking down by the river, but if we did that every day, I guess Dr. Az would not get any work done? I’m not sure why “work” is important, but I suppose at least this way I get some quality naps…

Muffin
Muffin

I am Cathy’s dog and have lived with her since 2007 and have now achieved peak form as a grumpy old man. I spend most of my time sleeping or watching the animals in my backyard. I love going for walks, getting bellyrubs, and hanging out on the human beds.

Smith
Smith

I’m Smith and I was adopted as a puppy by Andrew’s partner Zach back in 2011. I’m 9 years old now, but still have energy like a puppy to keep up with Boone. But I’m quieter and more laid back than Boone.

Boone and I both love treats, walks, belly rubs, and licking the bed and sofa when we’re not supposed to.

Boone
Boone

I’m Boone and I was adopted by Andrew and Zach in September 2020. I’m 3 years old and I’m a crazy little guy. I hop on my hind legs when I’m ready to go for a walk or want a treat. I get excited and bark at my brother Smith when I hear him come in the room, but also bark when my people come home.

Smith and I both love treats, walks, belly rubs, and licking the bed and sofa when we’re not supposed to.

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