Coates Award

About the Coates Award

The Donald Coates Award Fund was established in 2020 to support graduate student research on Quaternary Geology and Geomorphology. This award is given annually to at least one outstanding MS or PhD student, on the basis of a research proposal submitted to the GSA Student Research Grant Program

Following a B.A. in geology from The College of Wooster and a Ph.D. from Columbia University, Donald R. Coates made his career at Binghamton University. With his Binghamton geomorphology colleague Dr. Marie Morisawa, Don co-founded the annual Binghamton Geomorphology Symposium (BGS) in 1970, a conference that continues to this day as it moves about many different academic institutions. Besides the several volumes from the early BGS conferences that Don edited with Marie, he also edited several other geomorphology volumes for a wide variety of publishers. On the side, Don managed a hydrogeology consulting practice that helped support dozens of Binghamton geology graduate students.

Former QG&G Division Chair, Grant Meyer, launched the initiative to designate this award for research support to graduate students in geomorphology who are from a demographic community that is currently underrepresented within QG&G Division membership, which includes student members from the Black, Indigenous, Latinx/Hispanic, Asian or other Communities of Color, members who identify as LGBTQI+, members with disabilities, or older student-members who have taken atypical pathways into graduate school. 

Eligible candidates are drawn from the pool of students who volunteer their demographic information during the GSA Student Research Grant Program application process. Evaluation of the proposals is done by the Quaternary Geology and Geomorphology management board and an ad-hoc review committee of Division members. These merit-based division awards are entirely separate from grants from the GSA Committee on Research Grants to support student research.

How to apply for the Coates Award

Application is done via the usual Student Research Grant Program by GSA. Any research grant application that has "Quaternary Geology and Geomorphology" selected as the General Field of Research Project and that has selected any of the optional demographic information tick-boxes will be automatically eligible for consideration for our awards. PLEASE NOTE that a single application can be simultaneously considered for multiple awards.


2023 Abigail Axness, Colorado State University. Uncovering the drivers of mountain relief in the granodiorite and volcaniclastic bedrock of Puerto Rico.

2022 Cameron Reed, University of New Mexico. Bedrock incision history of the Rio Grande and Pecos River systems of northern New Mexico.

2021 Mackenzie Young, Univ. Alaska, Fairbanks. A Dendro-geomorphological analysis of the Slate Creek Landslide, Alaska.