Public Release: 

Geological Society of America announces fellows for science policy and communication

Geological Society of America

Boulder, CO, USA: The Geological Society of America has announced three 2017-2018 Fellows who will assist with efforts to increase efficacy in serving society through science.

The 32nd GSA-USGS Congressional Science Fellow (CSF), Melanie R. Thornton, will spend a year, beginning this fall, working as a staff member for a Member of Congress or congressional committee. Thornton is enthusiastic about collaborations between science, policy and public outreach, and developing strategies that use science to empower humanity for the betterment of communities. In her fellowship year she is looking forward to deepening her understanding of how Congress and federal agencies work together to draft public policies and prioritize funding.

Thornton earned a B.S. cum laude from Texas A&M University with an environmental geoscience major and geography minor, writing her undergraduate thesis on the Southern Ocean and Antarctica's contribution to changing climatic conditions. Thornton received her M.S. (2012) and Ph.D. (2017) in Environmental and Natural Resource Sciences from Washington State University (WSU). Her doctoral research addressed water resource sustainability in the Spokane River Basin, where she used collaborative modeling and worked with stakeholders and scientists to solve regional watershed challenges. This experience developed her skills in collaboration, leadership, and communicating scientific information with both scientific and non-scientific audiences.

GSA Science Policy Fellow Lindsay Davis will serve as the "in-house" fellow, working with GSA's Director for Geoscience Policy to bring science and scientists into the policy process. This position acts as a science policy liaison, keeping GSA members informed, involved, and represented in national policy, including research funding, energy and natural resource assessments, climate change policy, and natural hazard mitigation and response. The fellow also works closely with GSA's Geology and Public Policy Committee on geoscience initiatives, including developing society-wide position statements on national issues.

Most recently, Davis worked as a Peace Corps Response Volunteer in Disaster Risk Reduction and Management in the Philippines, where she collaborated with the Local Disaster Risk Reduction Management Officer at a municipal hall to inspire and educate communities, politicians, and municipal government employees to prepare for disasters and climate change. She previously served as an Emergency Management Intern with California State University and a Peace Corps Volunteer in El Salvador. Davis completed a Peace Corps Master's International degree in geology and has a Bachelor of Science in environmental health, honors, and geology minor from Colorado State University.

Inaugural GSA Science Communications Fellow Beth C. Geiger is passionate about communicating the value of geoscience to society and has extensive experience conveying scientific and technical information to mass audiences. She will use her skills to create engaging stories around GSA member research for lay audiences and help GSA to more broadly disseminate new earth science research.

Geiger earned a B.A. in geology from Hampshire College in Amherst, Massachusetts, and holds an M.S. in structural geology from the University of Montana. She worked as a NSF-sponsored participant of the Juneau Icefield Research Program in Alaska, and as a consulting geologist for 12 years throughout the United States and Canada.

Geiger received a certificate in literary journalism from the University of Washington and launched her career as a science writer in the late 1990s. She has since published over 200 non-fiction pieces in national and regional publications including The Wall Street Journal, Earth Magazine, New Scientist, Science News, Nature Conservancy, and many others. Beth has a particular expertise in writing for young audiences, with a focus on middle and upper elementary school content. She has published in National Geographic Explorer, KidsDiscover, Science News For Students, Ranger Rick, and Boys' Life, among others. She received the 2006 Children's Science Journalism award from the American Association for the Advancement of Science for her efforts in this arena.

Geiger lives in the Seattle area and will be onsite at the 2017 GSA Annual Meeting there.


The Geological Society of America, founded in 1888, is a scientific society with more than 25,000 members from academia, government, and industry in more than 100 countries. Through its meetings, publications, and programs, GSA enhances the professional growth of its members and promotes the geosciences in the service of humankind. Headquartered in Boulder, Colorado, USA, GSA encourages cooperative research among earth, life, planetary, and social scientists, fosters public dialogue on geoscience issues, and supports all levels of earth science education.

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