NAGT > Professional Development > Speakers and Topics > Distinguished Speakers Series > 2007 - 2008 Distinguished Speakers

2007 - 2008 Distinguished Speakers

Go to the online application and funding request form to submit your Distinguished Speaker request.

You can also download a flyer (Acrobat (PDF) 1.6MB Oct9 07) about the program and the speakers.


Tanya Atwater

Tanya Atwater

Dept. of Geological Sciences, U.C. Santa Barbara
Tanya Atwater was educated at M.I.T., U.C. Berkeley, and Scripps Inst. of Oceanography. After earning her PhD in 1972, she was a professor at M.I.T., then joined the U.C.S.B. faculty in 1980. Atwater researches many aspects of plate tectonics, especially the evolution of western North America and the San Andreas fault system. She teaches at all levels, including many public education projects. Her honors include; NSF Director's Award for Distinguished Teaching Scholars; the GSA Structure and Tectonics Best Paper Award; and election to the National Academy of Sciences. Atwater also runs the UCSB Educational Multimedia Visualization Center which produces educational geoanimations and visualization tools. To download animations, visit http://emvc.geol.ucsb.edu/.
  • How the West was made: using the last half billion years of geologic history in western North America to illuminate continental plate tectonic processes.
  • Cenozoic Plate Tectonics in the Western United States, from subduction to the San Andreas—a great illustration of the power of quantitative plate tectonics where oceanic and continental realms entangle.
  • Plate tectonics, ice ages, sea level shifts, marine terraces, volcanoes, earthquakes, tsunamis, etc: bringing Earth processes alive with computer animations.


Robert Butler

Department of Physics, University of Portland, OR
Robert Butler was at the University of Arizona from 1974 through 2004 and was involved in field projects on six continents. In 2004, he moved to the University of Portland where he teaches Earth System Science; Natural Hazards of the Pacific Northwest; and Introduction to Marine Science. His scholarly work includes directing the Teachers on the Leading Edge collaborative, a K-12 Earth Science teacher professional development program, and education and outreach activities connected with the National Science Foundation's EarthScope Project.
  • Engaging Secondary School Students and Nonscience Undergraduate Majors in EarthScope Science


LuAnn Dahlman

Center for Earth and Space Science Education, TERC
LuAnn Dahlman is a K-12 curriculum developer and workshop leader for inservice educators. She has served as co-PI and Project Director on several NSF projects that encourage the use of technology and data for learning. She earned a Bachelor's Degree in Geology at Arizona State University, and has been a practicing educator for more than 20 years. Recently, Ms. Dahlman worked as a member of the ANDRILL projectANtarctic geology DRILLingrecovering sedimentary rock records from beneath McMurdo Ice Shelf in Antarctica.
  • Adventures of an ANDRILLian: Geoscience research in Antarctica
  • Promoting a Revolution in Earth and Space Science Education: Strategies for increasing the rigor and perception of Earth science courses in high schools


Picture of Tracey Gregg

Tracy Gregg

Department of Geology, University of Buffalo, NY
Tracy K.P. Gregg is an Associate Professor of Geology at the University at Buffalo (SUNY), and principal investigator on a number of NASA and NSF grants. She teaches a range of upper-level geology courses containing a mix of graduate and undergraduate students. She has developed innovative, hands-on laboratory and classroom exercises for introductory and advanced geoscience courses, and has co-led national workshops on enhancing undergraduate geoscience education.
  • Incorporating research in undergraduate and graduate classrooms
  • Improving the undergraduate laboratory experience
  • Including planetary data in core geoscience courses


Picture of Eric Grosfils

Eric Grosfils

Geology Department, Pomona College, CA
Eric Grosfils is an Associate Professor at Pomona College. Recipient of the 2001 Biggs Award from GSA, he has taught courses in planetary geology, environmental remote sensing/GIS, geomathematics, geophysics and research methods. Dedicated to the notion that students enjoy doing science more than hearing about it, he mixes research experiences into his teaching within and beyond the classroom. He also enjoys exploring how quantitative analysis and visualization can help move students beyond a basic understanding of geology and enhance their ability to explore interesting problems. His own planetary geology research explores how comparative study of Earth, Venus and Mars can be used to improve our understanding of fundamental volcanic and tectonic processes.
  • Computational Science: An Emerging Tool for Undergraduate Exploration of Complex Geoscience Problems
  • Why One Planet Simply Isn't Enough: Engaging and Teaching Students in an Introductory Geology Course
  • Tips and Techniques for Integrating Student Research throughout an Undergraduate Geology Curriculum


Bruce Herbert

Bruce Herbert

Geology & Geophysics, Texas A&M University
Bruce Herbert is Associate Professor of biogeochemistry and Associate Director of Geosciences with the Information Technology in Science (ITS) Center for Learning and Teaching at Texas A&M University. He is also currently principal investigator of an NSF-sponsored professional development program for intern STEM teachers seeking alternative certification. Dr. Herbert is addressing a number of educational issues and research topics, including the design and implementation of authentic inquiry in the classroom, restructuring curriculum to focus on model-based learning, the use of multiple representations (i.e. physical models, visualizations, and simulations) to support student understanding of complex earth and environmental systems, and programmatic design that builds synergy between scientific research and education.
  • Developing Student Understanding of Complex Earth Systems.
  • Seeking Synergy: Designing Programs that Integrate Research and Education.
  • Understanding Student Learning: Views from the Learning and Cognitive Sciences.


Jackie Huntoon

Jackie Huntoon

Department of Geology, Michigan Technological University
Jackie Huntoon is Dean of the Graduate School and Professor of Geology at Michigan Technological University. From 2003-2005, she served as Program Director for Diversity and Education in the Directorate for Geosciences at NSF. Jackie is active in geoscience education and professional development programs for teachers. She has developed innovative field courses, participated in development of assessment instruments for education projects, and taken a leading role in her university's effort to broaden participation in science and engineering.
  • Broadening Participation in the Geosciences: Why It's Important and How to go about it.
  • Using Field-Based Experiences to Improve Earth Science Teacher Training.
  • The Role of Assessment in Geoscience Education.


Picture of Trish Kelly

Patricia (Tricia) Kelley

University of North Carolina - Wilmington
Patricia Kelley was educated at the College of Wooster and Harvard and has held positions at University of Mississippi, NSF, University of North Dakota, and University of North Carolina Wilmington. She is a Fellow of GSA and AAAS and a past president of the Paleontological Society and the Paleontological Research Institution's Board of Trustees. She received the 2003 Outstanding Educator Award from AWG. As a specialist in mollusc evolution and wife of a Presbyterian minister, Tricia is keenly interested in teaching evolution and the evolution/creation controversy.
  • Evolution and Creation: Conflicting or Compatible? (public lecture)
  • Teaching Evolution with Integrity and Sensitivity (workshop)
  • The Arms Race from a Snail's Perspective: Evolution of the Naticid Gastropod Predator-Prey System (research talk)


Julie Libarkin

Julie Libarkin

Dept. of Geological Sciences, Michigan State University
Julie Libarkin is co-developer of the Geoscience Concept Inventory, a valid and reliable instrument for assessment of entry-level geoscience. She is currently an Assistant Professor of Geological Sciences, and an Associate Editor of the Journal of Geoscience Education. Her research is devoted to assessing teaching effectiveness and is actively engaged in studying student conceptions, cognition, and conceptual change in higher education.
  • Tale of Three Theories: Development and Use of the Geoscience Concept Inventory.
  • When Wrong Answers Ask the Right Questions about Student Learning: Conceptual Change and Assessment in College Science Classrooms.
  • Pictures Say a Thousand Words: Assessment of Alternative Conceptions through Analysis of Student-Generated and Student-Augmented Drawings.


David Steer and David McConnell

David Steer and David McConnell

Department of Geology, University of Akron
David McConnell and David Steer are Professor and Associate Professor, respectively, in the Department of Geology at the University of Akron. Their research focuses on the development of resources to improve learning in large general education geoscience classes. The Davids have made more than fifty presentations of their research at professional meetings, workshops, and seminars, and together have received over $1.2 million in funding for educational research projects from national and state agencies.
  • The Tourist the Gunslinger and the Gardener: Rethinking Metaphors of Teaching and Learning to Enhance Student Reasoning.
  • Technology in Support of Effective Pedagogy: Peer Instruction, Electronic Response Systems, and Good Practice in Undergraduate Education.
  • Teaching for Understanding: Less Talk and More Action in Introductory Science Courses.


Ellen Metzger

Ellen Metzger

Department of Geology, San José State University
Ellen Metzger is a professor of Geology and Science Education at San José State University. She co-directs the Bay Area Earth Science Institute (BAESI), a professional development program for teachers that was founded in 1990, and teaches Earth Systems and the Environment, an introductory earth science course for educators. Ellen has served on the Board of Directors of the California Science Teachers Association and as past Chair of the Geoscience Education Division of the Geological Society of America.
  • Trends in Earth Science Education: Challenges and Solutions.
  • How Earth Scientists Can Reach Out To Teachers: A Model from the Bay Area Earth Science Institute.
  • Designing an Introductory Earth Science Course for Prospective Teachers.


Stephen Pompea

National Optical Astronomy Observatory, Tucson, AZ
Stephen Pompea is enthusiastic about using creative instructional materials and innovative programs to reach new audiences in earth science and astronomy education. As Manager of Science Education and Scientist at NOAO in Tucson he is currently a PI or Co-PI on four major NSF-funded science education projects. He brings a unique perspective that reflects his work as an earth science classroom teacher and informal science educator, in industry and academia as an infrared instrument designer, and as a creator of instructional materials at all levels. He was educated at Rice University, Colorado State University, and the University of Arizona, where he received his Ph.D. in astronomy and serves as an Adjunct Associate Professor. He manages over fifteen diverse programs in science education, has received a number of teaching and invention awards, and is the co-author of three books in the UC Berkeley Lawrence Hall of Science GEMS series including Invisible Universe and The Real Reasons for the Seasons.
  • GLOBE at Night: Starting and Maintaining a Worldwide Citizen Science Project
  • Starting an Effective Science Outreach Program: Is There an Easy Way?
  • Sonification: How Scientific Data Can Become Music, and Teach!


Christina Ravelo

Christina Ravelo

University of California, Santa Cruz
Christina Ravelo is a professor of Ocean Sciences at the University of California, Santa Cruz. Her research and teaching interests are focused on paleoceanography and global climate change. She is the current director of the Center on the Dynamics and Evolution of the Land-Sea Interface, a UCSC organization that fosters interdisciplinary research on coastal processes. She has been involved in the Ocean Drilling Program for many years, as a shipboard scientist and as a member of its advisory committees.
  • Global Climate Change: Lessons from Ocean Drilling and the Discovery of Earth's Geologic Past.


Marta Torres

Marta Torres

Oregon State University
Marta Torres is an associate professor of oceanography at Oregon State University. She is interested in using chemistry to unravel processes that occur within sediments at tectonic plate boundaries, where water with a chemical composition different from bottom seawater is expelled at the seafloor, in what oceanographers call "cold seeps". Marta has studied cold seeps along the entire Pacific Rim. She conducts her research using conventional research vessels, a deep-sea drilling platform, remotely operated and manned submersibles. Marta is also interested in taking advantage of the fascinating and interdisciplinary nature of ocean sciences to enhance science and numeracy skills for Americans of all ages.
  • Life-long Learning Opportunities in Oceanography: A Project Integrating Ocean Sciences into Adult Basic Education Programs.
  • Methane-ice in Marine Sediments: Where, How and Why we Study these Deposits?
  • Submarine Springs: The Hot and the Cold.



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This year's speakers are cosponsored by Deep Earth Academy and the Consortium for Ocean Leadership.