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Scholars Day Lecturers


Lawrence Culver

Lawrence Culver

Born in Birmingham, Associate Professor Lawrence Culver earned a B.A. in History and English at the University of Montevallo, Alabama's state liberal arts university. He completed his M.A. is in History at Utah State University, and his Ph.D. in History at UCLA in 2004. He received the 2005 Rachel Carson Prize for the best dissertation in Environmental History, a prize awarded annually by the American Society for Environmental History. His areas of research interest include the U.S. Southwest Borderlands, the American West, cultural, environmental, and urban history, and the histories of tourism, recreation, architecture, and urban planning. His dissertation, now a book, The Frontier of Leisure: Southern California and the Shaping of Modern America , was published in 2010 by Oxford University Press.

He has published reviews and essays in journals including the Journal of American History, Western Historical Quarterly, Environmental History, and the Southern California Quarterly, and essays in anthologies including A Companion to Los Angeles (2010), Land of Necessity: Consumption in the United States-Mexico Borderlands (2009) and Imagining the Big Open: The Culture of the New West (2003). In 2007 Culver was named a "Top Young Historian" by the History News Network, and that year he also received the "Excellence in Instruction for First-Year Students Award" from USU. He has gained additional experience in the field of public history as an employee of the McCracken Research Library at the Buffalo Bill Historical Center in Cody, Wyoming, the Institute for the Study of the American West, the Museum of the American West, and the Southwest Museum of the American Indian, all of the Autry National Center in Los Angeles, and as an historical researcher for the Natural Resources Defense Council.


Tammy Rittenour

Tammy Rittenour

Dr. Tammy Rittenour is an Assistant Professor in the Geology Department at USU. She received her B.A. in Geology and Biology from the University of Minnesota-Morris, her M.S. in Geosciences from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, and her Ph.D. in Geosciences from the University of Nebraska. She uses tools such as geomorphology, sedimentology and dendrochronology to understand landscape response to past climate change. Her current research projects include reconstructing droughts in northern Utah using tree-ring records, investigating the timing and style of past glacial advances in the Olympic Mountains in Washington and Southern Alps in New Zealand, studying river response to climate and sea level change in Corsica, France, and reconstructing sand dune records of aridity and drought in Idaho and Utah. Additionally, Rittenour recently received a NSF CAREER Award to reconstruct and study the mechanisms that drive rapid entrenchment events (arroyo cutting events) in semi-arid river systems in southern Utah. A significant part of her research involves the application and development a relatively new sediment dating technique called optically stimulated luminescence (OSL) dating and she is the Director of the USU Luminescence Laboratory, one of only a few luminescence labs in the US.