Degree: Master of Science in Geosciences
College/School: School of Environment, Arts and Society, College of Arts, Sciences & Education
The ground shaking is often the first sign of an earthquake, offering little time to act. Seconds can stand between life and death. Lajhon Campbell believes science can give people more time to get out of harm’s way.
Growing up in Jamaica, Lajhon loved math and physics. He dreamed of becoming a scientist, maybe the next Neil deGrasse Tyson, the famous astrophysicist. When he shared this dream with one of his high school teachers, she claimed it wouldn’t be possible for him. This would’ve crushed most people, but discouragement just made Lajhon more determined.
In 2015, Lajhon’s mother became severely ill. He moved to Miami to be closer to her and started attending FIU. This was a difficult time, but once again, Lajhon was motivated to succeed and make his family proud.
Under the guidance of geophysicist Shimon Wdowinski, Lajhon used GPS to measure the earth’s movements. He looks for patterns to predict where and when future earthquakes might happen. His research has lifesaving implications. It can inform early alerts and provide recommendations on the safest locations to live in earthquake-prone areas.
A McNair scholar, Lajhon has presented his research at national and international conferences. At 21, he’s also earned both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in three years.
He will soon break more barriers. Less than one percent of geoscientists in the U.S. with doctoral degrees are black. This fall, Lajhon will pursue a Ph.D. in geophysics at Stony Brook University, hoping once again to challenge notions of what’s possible.
By Angela Nicoletti
College of Arts, Sciences & Education