Mary Leech, a resident of Woodside and an assistant professor of geosciences at San Francisco State University, has received a $507,264 grant from the National Science Foundation to support her research on the Himalaya mountain range.
"This funding will contribute to a greater understanding of the large scale hypotheses regarding mountain formation," Ms. Leech said in a statement.
Her research has demonstrated that Asia and India collided seven million years earlier than scientists had previously believed, through an analysis of rocks from the area where the two bodies collided.
In addition to funding field research in the Himalayas for San Francisco State students, the grant will support the development of a new geology curriculum for students in grades 3-6 in the San Francisco Unified School District.
The award -- known as the Faculty Early Career Development Grant -- "confers the National Science Foundation's most prestigious award for faculty at the beginning of their careers," according to a press release by San Francisco State University. "It recognizes those who exemplify the role of teacher-scholar through outstanding research, excellent education and the integration of education and research."
Ms. Leech has received several national honors for excellence in science, including a National Science Foundation research fellowship, the university said.
Ms. Leech received a doctorate in geological and environmental sciences from Stanford in 1999.