Department News

Dawn Sumner photo portrait

Dawn Sumner | Feminist Research Institute

From FRI: "The Feminist Research Institute is pleased to introduce Professor Dawn Sumner and Professor Colleen Clancy as interim co-directors of FRI. 'We are proud and excited that Dawn and Colleen have agreed to further support FRI by serving as interim co-directors during the 2021-2022 academic year,” said Associate Director Sarah McCullough. 'Their commitment to values-based research and teaching have inspired us and others, and we feel confident that they will contribute to our research, research development and training initiatives.'"

Isabel Montañez photo portrait

Isabel Montañez | The Climate Archive of Caves

From UC Davis Unfold Podcast: ‘Nature Tells Its Story, Part 2’. "California boasts hundreds of caves, many of them hidden in the Sierra Nevada foothills. These caves hold much more than beautiful icicle-like stalactites and stalagmites. Trapped inside the stalagmites are tiny droplets of fossilized precipitation from climates long ago. In “Nature Tells Its Story, Part 2” of Unfold, UC Davis researchers discuss how these water droplets provide a “climate archive” that may help us predict future shifts in rain, snow and drought." In this episode: Isabel Montañez, distinguished professor, UC Davis Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences and Barbara Wortham, doctoral student, UC Davis Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences

Isabel Montañez photo portrait

Isabel Montañez | National Academy of Sciences, 2021 Member

Isabel Montañez has been elected to the National Academy of Sciences. Her work has informed a better understanding of Earth’s ocean, land and atmospheric records of the past half billion years and suggests what the ancient carbon dioxide record may mean for future climate change. The National Academy of Sciences was established under a congressional charter signed by President Abraham Lincoln in 1863. It recognizes achievement in science by election to membership, and—with the National Academy of Engineering and the National Academy of Medicine—provides science, engineering, and health policy advice to the federal government and other organizations.

Estella Atekwana | Reginald Fessenden Award

Letters and Science Dean Estella Atekwana has been awarded the Reginald Fessenden Award by The Society of Exploration Geophysicists. This honor is awarded to those who have made a specific technical contribution to exploration geophysics, such as an invention or a theoretical or conceptual advancement that merits special recognition. Estella is the pioneer in bio-geophysics, essentially having defined the field. This exciting new field addresses changes in acoustic, magnetic, and electrical properties due to microbial growth and biofilm formation in porous media.

Nicholas Pinter photo portrait

Nicholas Pinter | The Long U.S. History of Relocating Communities Because of Flooding

From Slate: As communities across the United States and around the world are increasingly threatened by climate-driven flooding and sea-level rise, academic researchers and disaster managers alike agree that managed retreat—the abandonment of occupied land and the removal or relocation of population and infrastructure—will eventually be unavoidable.

Tessa Hill portrait

Tessa Hill | Hard Times for Hard Shells

From AAS: "Having a conversation about wildfires may be an unusual way to help educate people about climate change in our oceans. But for Northern California-based marine scientist and AAAS Fellow Tessa Hill, Ph.D., both topics are urgent and closely related. Deadly, fast-moving wildfires have touched nearly everyone in the region. And the fires’ link to climate change provides a non-threatening way for her to engage with her community about heat waves, both on land and in the oceans."

Magali Billen photo portrait

Magali Billen | Graduate Studies Announces the First Faculty Academy of Graduate Student Well-Being

Magali BIllen has been selected to participate in the Faculty Academy of Graduate Student Well-Being. The inaugural cohort of the academy was selected from a competitive pool of individuals and represents a variety of departments across campus. As part of the academy’s program, the selected participants will learn relevant scholarship on mental health and develop facilitation skills to lead conversations and seminars on well-being. These faculty members will go on to facilitate a graduate-level seminar within their departments to help graduate students enhance their well-being and professional success.

David Gold photo portrait

David Gold | NSF CAREER Award

David Gold has been granted a prestigious 5-year NSF "Early Career" award to continue his research on the interpretation of chemical biomarkers in the rock record: "An Evolutionary Framework for the Molecular Fossil Record". This grant supports David's continued use of genetics to identify what groups of living organisms have the ability to make various biomarkers that are used to trace the history of evolution, source rocks for petroleum, and pollution sources. David will also use the genetic data, calibrated to the rock record, to help pin when in the past each group gained the ability to make specific biomarkers. Early Career grants include a strong outreach component, and David will be developing courses to train early career geologists to use genetic tools for their own research. He will also be developing a mentoring program for promising Native American scholars, a group that has been historically harmed by geoscientists through land and resource theft.

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