Career Prep Seminar Bios & Abstracts

Kyle House

Bio

Kyle House is a geologic mapper, geomorphologist, and cartographer. He has undergraduate degrees in Geography (BA) and Geology (BS) from Western Washington University, Bellingham (1989). He has an MS and PhD degrees in Geosciences from the University of Arizona (1991, 1996). Kyle's early career focused on using geologic data to unravel flood histories of desert rivers and alluvial fans. He now focuses on mapping and understanding the late Cenozoic geology and landscape evolution of parts of deserts in the intermountain west. Kyle has worked for the Arizona Geological Survey in Tucson, Arizona (1990-1996), the Desert Research Institute in Reno, Nevada (1996-1998), and the Nevada Bureau of Mines and Geology in Reno, Nevada (1998-2010). He has been a Research Geologist at the U.S. Geological Survey in Flagstaff, Arizona, since 2010. He is currently co-leading a project to create multi-scaled geologic maps of the lower Colorado River corridor and the Owyhee River corridor.

Kyle received the W.R. Boggess Award for Most Outstanding Paper in 2005 from the American Water Resources Association for work using geologic mapping to understand flood hazards on alluvial fans. In 2013 he received the Kirk Bryan Award for Research Excellence from the Geological Society of America for his paper co-authored with Phil Pearthree and Mike Perkins that documented evidence for the lake-spillover origin of the course of lower Colorado River downstream from Grand Canyon. He is a Fellow of the Geological Society of America and recently received an Exceptional Reviewer Recognition from same.

Abstract

Enid: The path to my career in geologic mapping was not carefully planned. It only looks a bit that way in hindsight. The initial step did, however, start with a plan—to leave Oklahoma for college in the Pacific Northwest. Bellingham: This abrupt transition to the wild scenery of western Washington ignited my interest in geology. On breaks, I consulted atlases to plan road trips across the West, often to and from Oklahoma. I yearned to know how the scenery of the west happened. I started my quest for that knowledge with physical geography, but a new plan materialized with a summer class spent touring the geology of Washington. I was amazed to discover that one can understand origin stories of fantastic landscapes and portray them on colorful maps. I left western Washington for grad school with degree in geography, a degree in geology, and a minor in cartography. Tucson: Here, I found myself suddenly working on a project to study desert floods. Another abrupt change in scenery and lots of new things to think about. I had an epiphany while working with a team from the Arizona Geological Survey. We were making a geologic map of alluvial fans north of town to aid in flood hazard assessment. One of the fans had recently been heavily flooded, and we mapped its paths using the geologic effects left in its wake. The combination of mapping a landscape while mapping the effects of one of 1000s of events that built it turned into an amazing learning experience. It also earned me an opportunity for more challenging mapping projects with AZGS. Reno: I moved on and eventually landed a job with the Nevada Bureau of Mines and Geology as a professional geologic mapper. I was presented the opportunity to study and map the evolution of desert landscapes. My graduate school experience at U of A was critical to my confidence and success in these adventures. I developed maps of interesting places where rivers, lakes, alluvial fans, and volcanoes co-evolved to build fantastic landscapes. I fell in ‘scientific love’ with two rivers that touch small parts of Nevada—the Owyhee and the lower Colorado. And they began to consume me. Flagstaff: I ran out of Colorado River to map in Nevada, so I took a job with the USGS to try to finish. State boundaries were no longer barriers. I took a pay cut and abandoned a tenured position. Love, as we know, makes you do strange things. Make sure you know what you’re in for. I still feel lucky. The Field: I get paid to explore far corners of the desert, drive on rough roads, hike where there are no trails, float some rivers, and explain what I find with words and art. I am lucky. The goal is to contribute to better understanding of our planet. But I do it to follow my passion for being outdoors, learning the science behind the scenery and turning the story into a picture. Geologic maps are a fusion of science, art, and the passion you put into the effort. Of course, the fieldwork is the real draw. New puzzles, discoveries, and interesting situations spring-up throughout a good day in the field. There you are, out in the desert in a beautiful place—maybe with some friends—trying to understand the sequence of steps in a long-term experiment run by mother nature, and all you have to go by is how it ended. Then you make art to help tell the story. Pretty sweet gig.


Stacie Gibbins

Bio

Stacie received her BS in Geology in 1997 from Oregon State University. She received her MS in Geosciences and PhD in Geosciences from the University of Arizona in 2002 and 2006, respectively. Her graduate research concentrated on the Cu-Au Porphyry and Skarn deposits in the Ertsberg Mining District in Indonesia. She has been working at ExxonMobil since completing her PhD in March 2006 as an Exploration Geologist.

Abstract

This presentation will aim to take you through my experiences in undergraduate and graduate school and how they enabled me to transfer my academic skills into success in industry.  My graduate emphasis of economic geology, and the strong fundamental geologic skills I gained during my undergraduate / graduate course work allowed me to enter into the oil and gas industry and tackle interesting geologic problems. 


Julio Betancourt

Bio

Julio is a Scientist Emeritus with the U.S. Geological Survey and an Adjunct Professor at the University of Arizona, where he received his M.S. (1984) and Ph.D. (1990) degrees in Geosciences with a minor in Ecology & Evolutionary Biology. He spent 37 years in Tucson, most of those based at the Desert Laboratory on Tumamoc Hill (https://tumamoc.arizona.edu/) as a Project Chief in the National Research Program of the Water Resources Division in the U.S. Geological Survey. In 2013, he moved to USGS National Headquarters in Reston, VA, and then retired in 2018 after 35 years in federal service. In retirement, he volunteers a good deal of his time to both USGS and the American Geophysical Union (AGU). He continues his lifelong research regarding climate variability and impacts at interannual to decadal timescales in North America, and environmental change at interannual to millennial timescales in North and South America. He has published two books and nearly 200 technical articles, 18 of them in Science, Nature and Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.  

(https://scholar.google.com/citations?user=uuxdSHMAAAAJ&hl=en; https://www.usgs.gov/staff-profiles/julio-betancourt?qt-staff_profile_sc...).

He has also coordinated persistent and successful regional to national science initiatives. In 2006, he co-founded the USA National Phenology Network (www.usanpn.org) and helped forge an interdisciplinary community of practice focused on seasonal timing in environmental systems. In 2008, Julio co-founded a non-profit in Tucson and led a still ongoing, cross-jurisdictional effort to identify, communicate, and address the ecological and socioeconomic risks posed by buffelgrass invasion in the Sonoran Desert (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nQtIVzSrqZY; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zBi354Q4RuE; http://swfireconsortium.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/Buffelgrass_artic...). In 2016, he co-founded the Council of Senior Science Advisors (COSSA), an advisory group of ~50 executive-level scientists that counsels the USGS Director on science vision and strategy. In 2017, COSSA conceived of EarthMAP (Earth Monitoring, Analysis, and Projection), a now Bureau-wide initiative to integrate USGS science across disciplines that requires new investments in data integration, high-performance computing, artificial intelligence, modeling, analytics, laboratory facilities, visualization, and decision-support tools (https://pubs.er.usgs.gov/publication/ofr20171076).

Julio has been privileged to receive Superior, Meritorious Service, and Distinguished Service Awards (2018) from the Department of Interior and to be honored by the White House with the Presidential Rank Service Award for Meritorious Executive. He is an elected Fellow of AGU and have received individual honors from the Ecological Society of America, the American Water Resources Association, the Geological Society of America, and the American Quaternary Association.

Abstract

In October 1960, Julio's family and I fled Cuba, turned upside down by Fidel Castro’s revolution, and settled in Dallas, Texas. I was nine years old, a semester into 4th grade at the public school across the street, and I had to sink or swim. In a matter of months, I was speaking English without an accent and doing well in school. Like many immigrant children, I learned to overcome adversity, make positive adjustments, and show resilience at an early age. In retrospect, the immigrant experience taught me to recognize and navigate opportunity, which often occurs as happenstance, something that carried over to my career as a geoscientist reacting to events and trends in a rapidly changing world. My presentation will track chronologically how specific events stirred my curiosity and shaped my research career, which 1) has focused on how climate variability and change drive regional drought, flood, and fire frequencies at interannual to decadal timescales in North America, and (2) helps define processes and baselines of environmental change at interannual to millennial timescales in North and South America.


Gary Huckleberry

Bio

Gary Huckleberry received his doctorate from the Department of Geosciences at the University of Arizona and has conducted over 30 years of consulting and research in North and South America. He was a professor in the Department of Anthropology at Washington State University from 1995–2004, and served as co-editor of Geoarchaeology from 2007–2017. His specialties include geoarchaeology, geomorphology, soils, and stratigraphy. He works as a geoarchaeological consultant and is currently involved in several archaeological projects in Arizona and Sonora.

Abstract

Geoarchaeology is the application of earth science methods and perspectives to understanding past human events and behavior. It is a relatively small but growing profession within the earth sciences. As a geoarchaeological consultant, most of my work is driven by cultural resource protection laws that require archaeological site mitigation prior to destruction by development. I apply skills that I have learned as an earth scientist to help answer archaeological questions and assist in documenting, managing, and interpreting cultural resources. In my presentation, I will describe my academic training and the type of work that I typically do as a consultant. I will also review some of the key skills that I employ in my work and provide advice for those interested in learning more about geoarchaeology as a profession.