8 September - 18 September 2019
San Diego, CA
San Diego, CA
Lisa White, Richard Norris
Sharon Cooper
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Show Me the Evidence: School of Rock 2019

Show me the evidence: Gulf of california geology and the scientific ocean drilling program

What: The 2019 School of Rock will be a land-based professional development workshop at Scripps Institution of Oceanography. It is timed to coincide with the San Diego port call of the JOIDES Resolution, which is the first time the ship has returned to the mainland U.S. in 10 years. The 2019 program will focus on lines of EVIDENCE in science, the nature and process of science, and exploring geologic evidence gleaned from the study of field sites in and around the San Diego area and from legacy ocean sediment cores. Participating faculty include experienced scientists and science educators from a variety of backgrounds with deep experience with the International Ocean Discovery Program (IODP). This is a residential workshop; all participants will stay in a hotel near to the worksite and the group will travel together to field sites and activities. Participants will have the rare opportunity to go onboard and tour the JOIDES Resolution when it comes into port and interact with scientists and students going on the Guaymas Basis expedition.

Who else: This year’s School of Rock is a collaboration with a new project, Ambassadors for STEM Training to Enhance Participation (A-STEP). We have participants who are able, willing and eager to take what they learn and become ambassadors in their communities and nationwide for the cutting-edge science they will learn during and after the workshop. Our participants were chosen for their creativity, have excellent communication skills, interest and talents in video and/or other multimedia storytelling techniques, and love science!

Who’s participating?


Lisa White is the Director of Education and Outreach at the University of California Museum of Paleontology (UCMP) and Adjunct Professor of Geology at San Francisco State University.  Past positions held at San Francisco State include Professor of Geology (instructing undergraduates in historical geology, paleontology, history of life, and oceanography), Chair of Geosciences, and Associate Dean of the College of Science and Engineering.  Lisa has extensive experience directing science outreach programs for urban youth and she is active in efforts to increase diversity in the geosciences. A micropaleontologist by training specializing in fossil diatoms and the stratigraphy of the Monterey Formation and related siliceous units around the Pacific Rim, she is a Fellow of the California Academy of Sciences and the Geological Society of America and a veteran of two IODP cruises and three IODP School of Rock expeditions. Lisa was the inaugural recipient of the GSA Bromery Award for Minorities, an honor bestowed upon a geoscientist who has been instrumental in opening the geoscience field to other minorities. As the PI on the A-STEP program (Ambassadors for STEM Training to Enhance Participation), Lisa leads diverse groups of students in sea-going experiences as a means of developing their science communication skills. As the education director at the UCMP, Lisa develops and disseminates learning materials on evolution and the fossil record, global climate change, and the nature and process of science. Lisa earned degrees from San Francisco State University (B.A. in Geology) and the University of California at Santa Cruz (Ph.D. in Earth Sciences).

Richard Norris is a professor of paleobiology at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California, San Diego. His research focuses on the evolution of life in the oceans, with particular emphasis on the mechanisms of extinction and speciation of plankton and the processes of assembly of marine ecosystems. He uses ecological, genetic, and biogeographic studies of living plankton and pelagic fish as well as the extensive fossil record of marine plankton and fish preserved in deep sea sediments. Other tools include the use of sediment geochemistry to reconstruct the history of ocean productivity and climate. Part of his research has focused on climate history and evolutionary dynamics during past intervals of extremely warm periods in the Cretaceous, Paleogene and Neogene as analogs for modern global change. He also works on the recent fossil record of reefs and coastal environments to evaluate the impact of human activities on marine and terrestrial ecosystems.

Sharon Cooper is the Education/Outreach leader for the International Ocean Discovery Program at Lamont Doherty Earth Observatory/Columbia University. She is active in a whole range of geoscience education-related projects and has been involved with School of Rock since 2005, when she sailed on the very first one and got bitten by the JR bug! She is the mother of 3 boys and in her spare time writes children’s books and loves to cook, dance, travel and explore the world.


Dawn Adams is embarking on her seventeenth year teaching biology in Vermont.  She received her B.A. in Marine Biology from the University of California at Santa Cruz in 1995.   In 2001, she received her M.A. in Education from Castleton University.  She has been teaching Biology, Anatomy and Physiology, and Marine Science at Rutland High School for the past eleven years.  Dawn is the Head Varsity Alpine coach at Rutland High School.  She finds inspiration in the connections she makes with her students and athletes.  Dawn enjoys sharing ideas with students and encouraging young adults to try their best.  Dawn appreciates the beauty of nature through hiking, camping, and skiing with her husband and daughters.  She is constantly seeking experiences to understand the natural world.   Dawn is a passionate educator that encourages young adults follow their hearts.

Kristen Brown holds a BS in Geology with a minor in Biology from CSUN, as well as an MA in Education with an emphasis in Math and Science from CSULA. Prior to teaching, I worked for the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles and The La Brea Tar Pits. I was a 7th grade science teacher with LAUSD for 4 years and I am now currently at The Wesley School as the 6th and 7th grade science teacher.

Andrea Diamond aka- Queen STEAM aka- The Martian Nextdoor is an accredited NASA educator and Executive VP of Education for STEAM ENRICHMENT Inc. which has garnered recognition as The Best Art Studio in Thousand Oaks, California and was voted Best Enrichment Program in Conejo Valley. Her unique brand of curriculum and delivery of mission-based content has won numerous awards from the State Assembly & Legislature, the Department of Interior and the Department of Energy. Andrea stresses the process shared by Artists, Designers & Engineers with her “Hands-On Brains- On approach. The emphasis always on the fact that Failure is Key to Deeper Learning. She has presented her novel methodology with positive feedback at peer conferences for educators, school administrators and women in business. She currently serves as an elected member of the Endeavour Institute’s Board ofDirectors since December 2011. Andrea currently spends her Summers at UCRiverside Astrophysics dept. in their Nanoscience making Graphene and has a Certification in Nanotechnology Education at UCLA. As an accredited NASA educator Andrea is a Mars Subject Matter Expert and holds multiple certifications on Meteorite Lunar Regolith. Andrea is a recent graduate of NASTAR Teachers Institute, Texas A & M Geoscience GCamp & The Space Foundation Teacher Institute.

Katie Dion is a Camp Program Specialist at Texas State Aquarium. Katie has a B.S. in Marine Biology from Hawaii Pacific University and a Post-baccalaureate Certificate in Zoology from Western Illinois University. This November, she is projected to graduate with a Master’s in Environmental Science, emphasis on informal education, from Texas A&M University – Corpus Christi. While working towards her master’s degree, she has volunteered with ETEAMS, a NSF grant funded organization that aimed at improving the science and math literacy of preservice teaching majors at TAMUCC. In 2016, Katie began teaching at the Texas State Aquarium, where she currently serves as Camp Specialist.  In this role, she coordinates and develops curriculum for summer camps, holiday intercession and homeschool programs for ages 4-18. Before working in informal environmental education, Katie volunteered for two marine science research centers in Hawaii and spent 4 years in animal care and water quality at the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago. She loves learning about new STEM fields and is very excited to learn more about geosciences at the School of Rock! She is looking forward to developing programs that incorporate the skills and knowledge she will gain into engaging, hands-on activities for her students and campers.

Melanie Kudra comes to School of Rock from the Texas State Aquarium in Corpus Christi, TX. After graduating with a degree in Marine Science from Boston University, she taught environmental education across the country in the Florida Keys, coastal North Carolina, California’s central coast, and the Chicago suburbs.  In her current position as Education Engagement Specialist for the Texas State Aquarium, Melanie enjoys coordinating everything from overnights to public conservation events to behind-the-scenes distance learning programs. She’s excited to visit the Joides Resolution and bring back activities to engage students in South Texas.

My name is Carlos Montufar and I am a proud gay Latino man from Newark, New Jersey devoted to earth and social sciences. The experiences I have had in my short 22 years of existence have molded me into a scientist, researcher, activist, and leader representing marginalized groups and has inspired me to enhance the state of those less fortunate or deterred individuals who share an interest in STEAM but aren’t confident enough to pursue a career or life in it. As an individual I am open to discussion and can understand all experiences even if they aren’t my own, which has only been valuable in my navigation of life. I am committed to furthering and progressing the STEAM comprehension field with the help and guidance, of you of course, and listening to everyones stances on certain topics. As a male I understand that my privilege in a society is heightened but that realization only helps in my progression of my existence. Aside from my social life, I am a curious being in all things earth science and social science, that are deeply intertwined.

Vicki Randolph: I have been a geo-nut since I was younger than I can remember; one of my earliest memories was in the fluorescing minerals room at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History. I still have that first rocks & minerals kit from the museum gift shop!  And, I wanted to be a park ranger since I was about eight-years-old.  Those combined loves for earth science and natural resources fit together perfectly in my career with the National Park Service as an education ranger.  My passion for science is only exceeded by my drive for interpreting that knowledge to the public, especially kids, and especially in underserved areas.

Thanks to the nomadic lifestyle of the NPS, I’ve been fortunate to live in some of the most beautiful and geologically rich places in the country—among glaciers at Glacier Bay National Park in Alaska, at the lowest & driest part of the Western Hemisphere in Death Valley National Park in Cali., red rock canyon country of Capitol Reef NP in Utah, Rocky Mountains in Colorado, high desert of New Mexico, marble caverns in the Siskiyou mountains of Oregon, Everglades NP in Florida, Great Smoky Mountains NP in Tenn., Black Canyon of the Gunnison in Colorado, Blue Ridge Mountains in NC, along the Appalachian Trail in the Virginia Highlands, in an Alaskan rainforest at Sitka National Historical Park, and probably a few other places I’m leaving out!  Of course, that nomadic lifestyle of traveling to and fro afforded many opportunities to visit every ecosystem and landform our great nation has to offer along the way; we really do tend to seize the day…especially on days off!

The arrival of our daughter Aurora put the brakes on all the moving around, and we have been living in the mountains of North Carolina for the last fifteen years (but we still love to visit amazing places).  My husband is still a park ranger, but I have been doing things a bit differently as a homeschool mom, park volunteer, Girl Scout leader and regional STEM events coordinator, journalist, adventure club leader, science teacher, and kayak river guide on the ancient New River. My education background and degree are in environmental & geo sciences, and I particularly love studying geomorphology, geology, soils and coastal morphology.

A great highlight of my career in STEM education has been working with the epic In Search of Earth’s Secrets pop-up science exhibit, bringing the research of the JOIDES Resolution to the rural public in NC in 2019.  I am so excited to be a part of the School of Rock—and to be able to meet the JR in person is going to…well…rock!

Liselle Persaud was born in Trinidad and Tobago and has been a Rock Lover and GeoNerd since birth. Before going on to university, she was awarded a Natural Science Scholarship from the Government of Trinidad and Tobago. She then went on to complete her Bachelor of Science in Petroleum Geoscience at the University of the West Indies. During the final year of her undergraduate degree, she was employed as a Geoscience Intern in her hometown’s state owned petroleum company, PETROTRIN. She has also served as a Research and Teaching Assistant in the Petroleum Engineering Department at the University of Trinidad and Tobago after receiving her bachelors. She is currently pursuing her Master of Science in Geology at California State University, Northridge, while working as a Graduate Research Assistant in the Geological Science Department. Her passions include Geology and Mineralogy but also includes most Earth Science disciplines such as Geochemistry, Petrology, Sedimentology and Paleontology. She loves hiking, camping, reading, going to the beach, and learning new things. This is why she decided to participate in the 2019 School of Rock. Cheers Geos!!

Maria Viteri is a 3rd year Ecology and Evolution PhD student in Liz Hadly’s lab at Stanford University. I consider myself to be a conservation paleobiologist, and I am broadly interested in using the fossil record and recent bones to understand how humans (and climate change) have impacted faunal communities in hopes of future mitigation. Right now my study systems are mainly the small mammal communities of the San Francisco Bay Area and Yellowstone National Park. I therefore spend much of my time dissecting owl pellets and sorting through archaeological material looking for tiny rodent teeth!

Perrin Teal Sullivan is an artist, STEAM educator, and hardcore lover of the lithosphere. She is constantly in pursuit of new ways to help people of all ages explore and understand the complex systems that make up the world around us, and to use that knowledge to envision and create innovative tools, ideas, and practices. She works with both classroom teachers and informal learning institutions throughout the United States to develop integrated art and STEM education programs specific to the context and mission of each partner. The rest of the time she works in a marine biology lab with cephalopods, and bows down in praise of the masterful artistry of appearance and action by which they abide.

Heather McCandless in her last year of my undergraduate studies as an Integrative Biology major at UC Berkeley.  I have a background in research focused on ecology and evolution and recently joined a lab focused on paleoecology and how microfossils can be used as indicators of past environmental conditions.  I am currently applying to graduate schools to continue studying paleoecology and how it relates to our modern ecosystems in an effort to understand and combat the effects of climate change.

Up until this year, Erica Wallstrom taught primarily Earth Science at Rutland High School, which is located on the western slope of the Green Mountains in Vermont. She recently transitioned into the role of STEM Integration Coordinator for the Rutland City school district. In addition to this work, she partners with Dartmouth College as their lead educator for JSEP and JASE which are two NSF funded programs that provide high school students with polar science field experiences in both Greenland and Antarctica. Wallstrom’s education philosophy reflects her belief that all people are capable of learning, want to succeed, and need to belong. Her goal as an educator is to foster experiences that inspire all learners while providing opportunities for incremental, personalized growth in an inclusive, welcoming, safe environment.

Sarah Beck is a community college professor who is passionate about sharing as much knowledge and enthusiasm for Earth Science as possible, with as many students as possible!  I teach oceanography and geology lecture and lab classes in Northern San Diego County at Palomar College and MiraCosta College. My educational background is in the geosciences, with a BS in Geology and a MS in Paleontology/Geological Sciences, which led me to conduct a lot of paleontological field work throughout the Great Basin in the western United States.  My Masters work concentrated on fascinating Ordovician-aged invertebrate marine fossils, and as much as I enjoyed my research and field work, I was bit by the teaching bug while serving as a geology laboratory teaching assistant during my first year of graduate school.  Nearly 10 years later, I’m still loving my career teaching geology and oceanography college classes and I really can’t imagine doing anything else!  I am very much looking forward to the “School of Rock” experience and can’t wait to bring what I learn back into my classroom.

My name is Leah Miller. I was born and raised in Texas but moved to Seattle in 2016. I am about to start my Senior year at the University of Washington and am majoring in interdisciplinary arts and sciences. I have spent the last 4 years with the International Association for Geoscience Diversity working on making the geosciences more accessible to those with disabilities. With my passions for science and accessibility I want to either go into teaching or work in education in some manner. I am currently working on a children’s book called Help! I Need a Geologist! and I am in the process of doing all the art.

Jayne DeGuzman is a Language Arts teacher from Guam. Being a bibliophile and naturally curious, I have a background in language and literature, and of searching for connections between seemingly unrelated things. School of Rock is a great opportunity to learn more about our world and to connect with others. With all our different perspectives, we’re sure to come up with wonderful ideas!


Sharon Katz-Cooper
Sharon Cooper is the manager of education and outreach programs for IODP in the U.S. She has been with the program since 2007 and sailed on the very first School of Rock.
More articles by: Sharon Katz-Cooper
JOIDES Resolution