Broadly, I am interested in studying the behavior and distribution of elements in the Solar System, the chemical evolution of terrestrial planets, and instrumentation and analytical method development. I use isotope geochemistry, major and trace element systematics, petrologic modeling, and any other tools that can help provide insight into the formation and differentiation of planetary bodies. Check out my projects page for specific research topics.


I'm also very interested in creating a positive geoscience culture through mental health awareness, diversity and inclusivity, and science outreach. I have a blog called Rocks and Roxanne where I touch on all of these topics as well as life as a geologist, PhD student, and dog mom to my rescue, Roxy. Currently, I work in the MCLASS (Measurement of Composition via Laser Ablation Sampling and Spectrometry) lab, a joint University of Maryland and NASA Goddard Space Flight Center facility. Check out the MCLASS lab site for more about what we do! I also serve as a student representative for the Geological Society of America Planetary Geology Division, so ask me about student opportunities and/or resources!

A novel approach to identifying mantle‐equilibrated zircon by using trace element chemistry
01 October 2020
This paper is led by my lab mate and good friend, Grace Ni! Check it out!!!
A prospective microwave plasma source for in situ spaceflight applications
07 October 2020
This paper is led by my lab mate and friend, Ben! Check out my our lab's work!

Science news and recent articles that I find

interesting and important!

Ancient helium and tungsten isotopic signatures preserved in mantle domains least modified by crustal recycling
23 November 2020
Led by my master's advisor, this paper is an exciting new piece to the puzzle of ancient isotopic signatures.


Willhite, L. N., Jackson, M. G., Blichert‐Toft, J., Bindeman, I., Kurz, M. D., Halldórsson, S. A., et al. ( 2019). Hot and heterogenous high‐3He/4He components: New constraints from proto‐Iceland plume lavas from Baffin Island. Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems, 20.

M.G. Jackson, J. Blichert-Toft, S.A. Halldórsson, A. Mundl-Petermeier, M. Bizimis, M.D. Kurz, A.A. Price , S. Harðardóttir, L.N. Willhite, K. Breddam, T.W. Becker, R.A. Fischer (2020). Ancient helium and tungsten isotopes preserved in mantle domains least modified by crustal recycling. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 117 (49), 30993-31001.

Willhite, L. N., Ni, Z., Arevalo Jr., R. D., Southard, A., Bardyn, A., Danell, R., Grubisic, A., Gundersen, C., Minasola, N., Fahey, M., Yu, A., Briois, C., Thirkell, L., Colin, F., Hernandez, E., Ersahin, A., and Makarov, A. (2021). CORALS: A Laser Desorption/Ablation Orbitrap Mass Spectrometer for In Situ Exploration of Europa. 2021 IEEE Aerospace Conference. (in press)

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