Geological Society honors teacher with fellowship

By Lauren Seo

The Geological Society of America elected geology teacher Wendy Van Norden into its fellowship on May 3.

Van Norden, who has been a member of the organization for 20 years, was one of the 59 members to be elected.

“It’s simply an honor,” said Van Norden. “Every geologist who is somebody is a part of that fellowship.”

Van Norden was nominated by two professors from the Univeristy of California and one professor from the University of California, Davis. All are distinguished professors of geology at their respective universities.

Among geologists, Van Norden is known for her active support of more rigorous Earth Sciences classes in American high schools. Over the last 15 years, she has given at least 20 teacher workshops and professional talks on initiating college level Earth Sciences courses or developing preexisting ones at other schools.

Three years ago, Van Norden used a grant she received from the National Science Foundation and heavily collaborated with the Earth and Space Sciences department at UCLA to create the school’s Honors Geology course. As a result, Honors Geology is embedded with a quarter course offered at UCLA, and is one of the very few Earth Science courses that the UC system recognizes as a lab science.

“It was very cool to work with these esteemed geologists,” Van Norden said. “Not only do they write respected papers, they get written about.”

The newly elected fellows, along with their primary nominator, will be announced in the July issue of “GSA Today.”

Van Norden will be formally honored at the Presidential Address and Awards Ceremony at the GSA Annual Meeting in Portland on Oct. 17.