Citation by Jim Head, Brown University
The GSA Bromery Award shall be awarded to 1) any minority who has made significant contributions to research in the geological sciences, or 2) who has been instrumental in opening the geoscience field to other minorities." The importance of this award, and the need for the dedication of the Geological Society of America to diversity in general, was underlined by Dr. Wesley Ward, who, in his acceptance speech for the first GSA Bromery Award in 2011 stated that “Unless diversity becomes more widespread throughout our ranks, it is geology that is disadvantaged, it is geology that will not be able to compete, and it is geology that is going to be left behind.”
Dr. Martha “Marty” Gilmore, the 2020 Bromery Award recipient, has contributed very significantly to both of the Bromery Award qualifications. Few individuals have done more for expanding diversity in the geosciences than Dr. Gilmore. Rather, she leads the way in geosciences by example: passionate interest in fundamental and cutting-edge science, dedication to teaching and service to the profession and community, and tireless mentoring and personal advocacy for young scientists. She is a shining beacon of light for young minorities and women contemplating a career in the geosciences, illuminating a clear inspirational destination of success based on her research and service accomplishments. For young minorities and women in the early stages of their career, the very same beacon of light illuminates a clear roadmap to success in the geosciences.
Dr. Gilmore’s accomplishments illustrate the dozens of research, teaching and leadership paths in which she has provided inspiration and mentoring. She is a Fellow of the Geological Society of America, has served on dozens of NASA and National Academy of Sciences-NRC Committees, has mentored over 20 Master’s degree recipients, many of whom were minorities, has served as Chair of the Wesleyan University Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, and has a publications record of fundamental research contributions in planetary geoscience, particularly on the geological evolution of the Earth, Venus and Mars.
As described by professional colleagues: “Dr. Martha Gilmore has been an unselfish pioneer in contributing to diversity in the geosciences from her personal and professional perspective as a woman of color in our field. She has personally and professionally provided a passionate but unassuming example during her service in teaching, mentoring and influence on many, many National Academy of Sciences, NASA, University and other professional committees and influential positions. Her cutting-edge Venus research and unselfish service to the planetary science community (the Venus Exploration Analysis Group, VEXAG) are further examples of her leadership and inclusiveness as a woman of color.”
“Her theories on the origin and evolution of the complex tessera terrain on Venus are highly respected and referenced. Her continued work on Venus, especially in the area of Venus surface composition and weathering, is extremely significant, and will be essential to interpreting future Venus datasets. She does not choose easy problems to tackle but she always moves the science forward in measurable ways.”
“Where Marty really shines is with respect to opening the field to other minorities. She has contributed to the flow of minority students into planetary science in an important way – by training students. She is a role model for minority scientists every time she steps into a classroom, so she affects hundreds of students at the undergraduate level. In addition, Marty has had a heavy hand in shaping the M.S. program at Wesleyan, which is committed to bringing in students who lack proper background and providing them with the necessary curriculum (generally in the geosciences) to prepare them for doctoral work in our field. This program has been incredibly effective.”
“It is of vital importance to showcase women and minorities in visible and high profile roles. Marty has stepped up over and over again to serve as a representative, for example, serving on numerous National Academy of Science committees. This time consuming and demanding work is seldom fully recognized, and takes time away from core research and teaching responsibilities.”
Dr. Gilmore is a model GSA Bromery Award recipient for her record of illuminating the pathway for the upcoming generations of minorities and women in the geosciences.
Response by Martha Gilmore
It is a great honor to receive the GSA Bromery award. I am in awe of the incredible work done by Chancellor Bromery in the geosciences and to advance education for all who choose to pursue it. I hope that I can accomplish even a bit of what he was brave enough to do. My heart is full to be included and in communication with the fine company of Bromery awardees.
My first poster presentation was as an undergraduate in a NE GSA meeting and I remember being quite nervous, but also being so proud to be a member of The Geological Society of America! It made my career choice seem real and true and I have been happy to be a member and expect to be a member my entire professional life. Being elected a GSA Fellow a few years ago was one of my proudest moments and I am so appreciative of the work that GSA has done to advance the profession and its initiatives to seriously address the constant problem of access to the field by women and people with brown skin.
There is certainly a long way to go and I hope that we are successful in our work to insist that the Geosciences are an open and obvious field for everyone who wants to pursue it. I love being a geologist and I can’t imagine doing anything else and I know that there are many people who look like me that would feel the same way if there were not barriers to entry, and if there was unconditional support from colleagues, a healthy working environment and recognition of their fine work. To any students or younger people of color in the field, know that there is nothing in you that prevents you from being at the top of this field. Not just a member, not a cog, but a leader – the best. The infrastructure that holds us back is not of our own design and has nothing to do with our excellence. But we must bear it and the way to do that is to find your allies and to shut out the noise the best you can. I will be your ally, just give me a call.
And to those of you who happen to be born with the preferred gender and hue know this. You are responsible for making the geosciences as strong a field as it can be. You do this by doing and disseminating good work, and by supporting and encouraging the work and careers of those in your care. You know that good science requires questioning your own assumptions, gathering input from a range of sources, listening, observing and accepting some humility. That is also the methodology of diversity. Pursue the question of why all of your faculty are white with the same inquiry as why your data are plotting over there and not here. You may similarly have to check and accept that your own assumptions are erroneous. But you’ve done this before because you know that is what it takes to do good science and that is also what it takes to do good in this world. So please do it – I’m holding you accountable.
To my citationist, Jim Head. Thank you for nominating me and more importantly, thank you for supporting me and teaching me and being there for me for the last 30 years. Our friendship means a great deal to me.
Thank you again GSA for this great honor, I hope that I would have made Chancellor Bromery proud.