Press Release

2020 Pierazzo International Student Travel Award Winners Announced

By SpaceRef Editor
December 17, 2019
Filed under ,

The winners of the 2020 Pierazzo International Student Travel Award established by the Planetary Science Institute have been selected. 


The Pierazzo International Student Travel Award was established by PSI in memory of Senior Scientist Betty Pierazzo to support and encourage graduate students to build international collaborations and relationships in planetary science.


Malena Rice of Yale University will receive the award for a U.S.-based graduate student traveling to a planetary meeting outside the U.S. Her research is titled “Probing the Solar System with the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS)”, and she will be attending the Expanding the Science of TESS workshop in Sydney, Australia, Feb. 10-14, 2020. Rice will be discussing techniques she has developed to search for extreme trans-Neptunian objects and to determine whether or not a large planet capable of influencing the orbits of these objects exists in the outer solar system. She is also working to unveil underlying relationships between exoplanetary systems and the properties of their host stars.


Lucy Kissick of Oxford University will receive the award for a non-U.S.-based graduate traveling to a planetary meeting within the U.S. Her research title is “The Sedimentary Archive of Atmospheric CO2 on Mars” and she will be attending the 51st Lunar and Planetary Science Conference in The Woodlands, Texas, March 16-20, 2020. Kissick’s work provides new insights into the relationship between the CO2 atmosphere of Mars and carbonates or the lack thereof on the early Martian surface. She is also recognized for her work developing a mission concept with ESA for a sample return mission to Ceres, which will also be presented at the conference and titled “Sample Return from a Relic Ocean World: the Calathus Mission to Occator Crater, Ceres.”


A PSI representative will present each awardee with a certificate and check for $2,000 at their respective conferences. 


Betty Pierazzo was an expert in the area of impact modeling throughout the solar system, as well as an expert on the astrobiological and environmental effects of impacts on Earth and Mars. In addition to her research, she was passionate about education, teaching and public outreach, developing planetary-related classroom materials, professional development workshops for teachers, and teaching college-level classes herself. Betty believed in the strength of broad collaborations in all of her research and education activities. This award memorializes the scope of how she lived her life and the good she sought to bring to our profession and communities. 


To contribute to the Betty Pierazzo Memorial fund, please go to:


To learn more about Betty Pierazzo please go to:


SpaceRef staff editor.