Bio


I am a fifth-year Ph.D. student working with Dr. Steve Graham. I work with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL), the New Zealand Institute for Geological and Nuclear Sciences (GNS Science), and the SETI Institute and NASA Astrobiology Institute. My research interests span organic and inorganic geochemistry, gas hydrates, sedimentary systems, and terrestrial analogues for the conditions found on Mars.

Outside of research, I'm working to disrupt the stigma surrounding mental illness through The Manic Monologues, a play showcasing diverse true stories of mental illness. The play premiered at Stanford to standing ovations every night, was featured in The Washington Post, on NPR, and on CBS Radio, and has upcoming performances in Des Moines and Los Angeles (UCLA).

I also founded and organize the Stanford Earth Distinguished Alumni Lecture Series, founded Stanford's Energy Policy Community, and founded and run Vines & Strata (the Stanford wine and geology society).

Honors & Awards


  • Invited Speaker, U.S. Department of State (2019)
  • Research Grant, The Clay Minerals Society (CMS) (2019)
  • NSF Travel Award, National Science Foundation (NSF)/The Clay Minerals Society (CMS) (2019)
  • Graduate Student Research Grant, The Geological Society of America (GSA) (2019)
  • Invited Panelist, Stanford University School of Medicine (2019)
  • Travel Award, The Clay Minerals Society (CMS) (2019)
  • SPICE Award, Stanford Office of the Vice Provost for Graduate Education (2018)
  • Winner - LPSC STEAM Your Science Contest, The Lunar and Planetary Science Conference (2018)
  • Lawrence W. Funkhouser Grant, AAPG Grants-in-Aid (2018)
  • Shell Foundation Grant, Stanford University School of Earth, Energy & Environmental Sciences (2018)
  • Mel Lane Grant, Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment (2017)
  • Finalist - Art of Science Competition, Stanford School of Engineering Media Department (2017)
  • Invited Panelist - 2017 Cleantech Week, The Cleantech Open (2017)
  • Winner - Global Energy Forum Video Competition, Stanford Precourt Institute for Energy (2017)
  • Fellowship, U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) (2016)
  • AAPG Student Chapter Book Gift, American Association of Petroleum Geologists (2016)
  • Levorsen Grant, Stanford University School of Earth, Energy & Environmental Sciences (2016)
  • GSA/ExxonMobil Field Camp Scholar Award, Geological Society of America/ExxonMobil (2015)
  • Sumner Increase Kimball Prize, Bowdoin College (2015)
  • NAGT Field Study Scholarship, National Association of Geoscience Teachers (2015)
  • Walter A. Anderson Award, The Geological Society of Maine (2015)
  • ConocoPhillips Scholarship, IUGFS/ConocoPhillips (2015)
  • Book Award, Bowdoin College (2014)
  • NSF Student Faculty Research Grant Fellowship, Bowdoin College (2014)
  • GSA/ExxonMobil Bighorn Basin Field Award, Geological Society of America/ExxonMobil (2014)
  • Surdna Foundation Undergraduate Research Fellowship, Bowdoin College (2014)

Professional Affiliations and Activities


  • Co-Founder, Producer, The Manic Monologues (2019 - Present)
  • Founder, Stanford Earth Distinguished Alumni Lecture Series (2018 - Present)
  • Vice President, Stanford Energy Club (SEC) (2018 - Present)
  • Founder, Stanford Energy Policy Community (2017 - Present)
  • Co-Founder, President, Vines & Strata (Wine & Geology Society) (2018 - Present)
  • Officer, Stanford Energy Club (SEC) (2016 - Present)
  • Co-Founder, Stanford Energy Policy Collaborative (2018 - 2018)
  • Treasurer, American Association of Petroleum Geologists, Stanford University Chapter (2017 - 2018)
  • President, American Association of Petroleum Geologists, Stanford University Chapter (2015 - 2016)
  • Member, American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG) (2014 - Present)
  • Member, Geological Society of America (GSA) (2014 - Present)
  • Member, Society of Exploration Geophysicists (SEG) (2016 - Present)
  • Member, Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE) (2018 - Present)

Education & Certifications


  • Ph.D., Stanford University, Geological and Environmental Sciences (2020)
  • B.A., Bowdoin College, Earth & Oceanographic Science; German (2015)
  • Geologic Field Camp, Indiana University Geologic Field Station (IUGFS), G429: Field Geology in the Rocky Mountains (2015)

Stanford Advisors


Personal Interests


The Manic Monologues. Stanford - May 2019, Des Moines - Nov 2019, UCLA - Feb 2020. https://www.themanicmonologues.org/

Lab Affiliations


All Publications


  • Interpretation of source rock depositional environment and age from seep oil, east coast of New Zealand INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF EARTH SCIENCES Burton, Z. M., Moldowan, J., Magoon, L. B., Sykes, R., Graham, S. A. 2019; 108 (4): 1079–91
  • Unraveling Petroleum Degradation, Maturity, and Mixing and Addressing Impact on Petroleum Prospectivity: Insights from Frontier Exploration Regions in New Zealand ENERGY & FUELS Burton, Z. M., Moldowan, J., Sykes, R., Graham, S. A. 2018; 32 (2): 1287–96