Congressional Science Fellowship
Susanna Whitman Blair
Susanna Whitman Blair will serve as the 2014-2015 GSA-USGS Congressional Science Fellow. Blair has extensive training in geological sciences, teaching, and science consulting. She received a B.A. in geology at Colgate University in Hamilton, NY in 2003. Her research investigated the eruption histories of Wolf and Darwin Islands in the Galapagos Island chain. In 2006, Blair completed her M.S. from the University of Florida in geology, where she investigated the use Neodymium isotopes extracted from the iron-manganese oxide coatings of ocean sediments as a method to track ancient ocean circulation. After graduation she worked for an international environmental consulting firm in Jacksonville, FL conducting Phase I and II environmental assessments.
Blair earned her Ph.D. in geology from the University of Florida in the spring of 2014. Her research investigated the accumulation of trace metals in northern Florida lake sediments and the effects of drought induced lake level low-stands on the distribution of these metals in sediments. Her research has implications in light of climate change projections and potential human and ecosystem health concerns associated with metal pollution. During her tenure as a student, she held a NSF IGERT (Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship) Fellowship focused on the adaptive management of water, wetlands, and watersheds. She also was awarded a NSF funded SPICE (Science Partnerships in Collaborative Education) under which she co-taught physical science in a public middle school for two years. Additionally, she worked extensively with environmental law students and lawyers as a science consultant on a number of inland and coastal water projects throughout Florida. The Congressional fellowship brings together the interdisciplinary background of her career so far: scientific research, policy issues affecting local communities and the environment, teaching and communicating science to diverse audiences, and engaging with the public science education. She is passionately committed to science literacy and looks forward to continuing this work.
Blair notes she is humbled and honored to serve as the 2014-2015 GSA-USGS Congressional Science Fellow. She is eager to use her science communication skills to engage a range of audiences. Her goal is to contribute a credible and pertinent voice for science and science education policy during the upcoming fellowship year.