Georgina Lukoczki Plans to Expand KGS Carbonate Research Program
Oftentimes experiences in our formative years influence the paths we have taken, including our career paths. Dr. Georgina “Gina” Lukoczki was influenced by her high school geography teacher’s love of nature—especially of hiking and caving. Her teacher invited students to hike in the local area, providing Lukoczki with opportunities to learn about rocks and landforms in her native Hungary. During her freshman year at the University of Szeged, her aunt showed her a pebble she had found while on vacation and asked Lukoczki to identify it. Lukoczki was unable to identify the pebble herself, so she asked a geology professor to identify it. Instead of giving her an answer, the professor encouraged Lukoczki to make a thin section and suggested she audit an optical mineralogy course. Lukoczki was fascinated by what she learned and decided to pursue geology. Later, she was able to inform her aunt that she had identified the pebble and that it was a quartzite.
Lukoczki pursued a master of science in geology and geography at the University of Szeged in Hungary. While working on her degree, Lukoczki interned with the MOL Hungarian Oil and Gas Company where she learned several techniques to characterize organic matter including vitrinite reflectance measurement and Rock-Eval analysis. During the final year of her studies at the University of Szeged, Lukoczki was invited to participate in a program held during the International Petroleum Technology Conference in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. As part of this program, Lukoczki was part of a team working on a project on coalbed methane development.
After graduation, Lukoczki participated in a field workshop in the Dolomite Mountains of Italy, where she learned about carbonate platforms. Following the workshop, her research focus shifted to the diagenetic evolution of Triassic carbonates in the Mecsek Mountains, which she studied at the University of Pécs, in Hungary. During this time, she had a part-time job with Wildhorse Energy Ltd. and was involved with the Mecsek Hills Underground Coal Gasification Project.
Later, she continued her interest in carbonates, and especially in dolomites, as a research fellow with the Hungarian Academy of Sciences at Eötvös University in Budapest. While there she studied and conducted research on the genesis of Late Triassic peritidal dolomites in the Transdanubian Range, Hungary. In 2014, with support from the Campus Hungary Scholarship Program, Lukoczki continued her research on the dolomitization of Middle Triassic shallow marine carbonates of the Mecsek Mountains as a visiting researcher at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada.
Afterward, Lukoczki enrolled in the PhD program at Oklahoma State University in Stillwater, where, as part of her doctoral research, she conducted research on Triassic dolomites in the Mecsek Mountains and expanded it to include a crystallographic approach to dolomite recrystallization using advanced diffraction techniques.
She received numerous research and travel grants, including the Exxon Mobil Student Geoscience Grant from the Geological Society of America (2018), the Richard C. Hasson and Frederick A. Sutton Memorial Grants from the American Association of Petroleum Geologists (2018 and 2017).
During her time as a student at Oklahoma State University, Lukoczki served as the graduate student representative and student liaison for the department at the Boone Pickens School of Geology and the vice-president for the Geology Graduate Student Association. Lukoczki has experience teaching geology courses and received teaching certificates in instructional design and online instruction from Oklahoma State University in Stillwater, Oklahoma.
To further expand her knowledge and pursue her interest in the ocean drilling program, Lukoczki participated in a two-week program in Bremen, Germany, about offshore drilling with a specific focus on gas hydrates. Her participation was supported by a travel grant from the U.S. Science Support Program for the International Ocean Discovery Program. After attending lectures in the morning, the participants worked together in the laboratory to perform tasks typical of researchers on ocean discovery expeditions.
After completing her doctoral degree at Oklahoma State in July 2019, Lukoczki moved to Kentucky to begin her new role as applied carbonate geologist at KGS on October 3. Lukoczki’s goal is to develop a robust research program integrating basic and applied sciences to better understand the genesis and alteration of carbonate rocks. She looks forward to developing projects in which she can combine her expertise in carbonate rocks with her experience in the energy industry. She is “very excited about my new role at KGS and I am looking forward to developing collaborative research projects at KGS, across campus, and with professionals in industry. Kentucky is an ideal place for me to live and work; it is a dream place for a carbonate researcher and caver. I can’t wait to explore Kentucky’s caves and limestone and dolomite outcrops.”
She also plans to identify potential research opportunities involving Kentucky’s crushed stone industry. In addition to research, she will maintain and expand KGS’s limestone database. As part of her initial work at KGS, she has been involved with identifying and characterizing critical mineral resources in the commonwealth as part of the USGS Earth MRI project.
Lukoczki will continue her involvement with geologic organizations including the Geological Society of America, American Association of Petroleum Geologists, Society for Sedimentary Geology, and the Association for Women Geoscientists. She serves as a peer reviewer for the Arabian Journal of Geosciences, Geological Journal, International Journal of Earth Sciences, and Marine and Petroleum Geology.