About the Society Awards Past Award Winners 2014 Albert E Wood Award

Katharine Criswell


My interests in fossils date back to my childhood, where I spent the summers exploring local Paleozoic rock outcrops in central Pennsylvania. Those interests expanded as I grew, and I cultivated them as a geosciences major at Shippensburg University. I decided that I wanted to pursue paleontology as a career after I spent a summer in college interning at the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia, studying a mass mortality of juvenile placoderms and doing fieldwork at Devonian sites throughout the state. I then completed a Masters degree at the University of Texas at Austin, where I studied the skeletal morphology and phylogenetic relationships of extant lungfish, and I am now pursuing a PhD at the University of Chicago. My dissertation work combines paleontology with comparative anatomy and developmental biology to explore the evolution and development of the gnathostome axial column. I am so thankful to have received the Albert E. Wood Award from SVP, which will allow me to examine early gnathostome fossils in collections at the Natural History Museum in London and the Museum National d'Histoire Naturelle in Paris.