Annette Patton, Postdoctoral Researcher

left: Annette at a debris flow site in Rocky Mountain National Park, 2014 & above: extracting soluble Mn from soil samples at Whitman College, 2013.


Annette collecting soil samples from a debris flow site in Rocky Mountain National Park, 2015.

Education & Experience

2017-Present:  Postdoctoral Researcher at University of Oregon

2014-2017:  Graduate student at Colorado State University

2013-2014:   Field Assistant – Geologic Mapping, at the Washington State Department of Natural Resources

2013 & 2014:  Teaching Assistant for the summer Field Geology of Ireland program offered by James Madison University

2013:  B.A. in Geology, minor in Biology from Whitman College in Walla Walla, WA

My interests

As a geologist, I love applying as many scientific techniques as possible to answer my questions about the natural world. At CSU, I am studying site-specific controls on debris flows (fluidized sediment movements on steep hillslopes) that occurred in the Colorado Front Range during the extreme rain event in September 2013. Outside of geology, I love a number of outdoor pursuits, baking, swing dancing, running, and reading good books!

How I became a scientist

I’ve always been curious about the natural world and why it looks and functions the way it does. In high school and during my undergrad program, I took a number of science classes that I loved, and continued to want to take more classes. I was particularly interested in field-based sciences, like ecology, biology, and geology. As a freshman at Whitman, I declared a geology major in because I wanted to take a majors-only course, and never found any reason to turn back! I love the fact that studying science requires me to think creatively about concrete, physical processes.

How my research benefits society

My current research in the Front Range of Colorado is revealing insight into how and why debris flows occur where they do. This is particularly valuable in mitigating debris flow hazards by informing public planners and managing infrastructure to avoid high risk areas. You can learn more about my research here.