2023 GSA Public Service Award

Presented to Nick Zentner

Nick Zentner

Nick Zentner
Central Washington University


Citation by Scott Burns

Nick Zentner loves teaching about geology. His career started in the early 1990's as a young geology professor at Central Washington University teaching introductory geology. This morphed into developing a popular lecture series and field trips for locals outside of the university. In 2010 he teamed up with an incredible videographer and together they produced a two minute geology series on geological topics. In 2016 his fame took off as those videos morphed into "Nick on the Rocks" - three minute geology segments that was picked up by public broadcasting, shown not only regionally but nationally. In the past couple of years he has added a very popular podcast and is hosting shows on "You Tube Livestreams from Home". He has developed a huge following, not only in the Pacific Northwest, but around the world. He is a dynamic speaker and is in demand all over the Pacific Northwest. He still teaches his classes and organizes his wonderful field trips and local lectures, but using You Tube and PBS, he outreach is great. His excitement for geology and his ability to transmit it is why he is receiving this award. Congratulations, Nick Zentner!


Response by Nick Zentner

Thank you. This is a big award. I sincerely appreciate the recognition. The YouTube livestreams, the interviews with geologists, the public lectures and field videos….it’s all done with a simple vision: Have the right tone, don’t take yourself too seriously, make sure to have solid geology content, and be productive. Do it often. The audience seems to like it, and they keep coming back for more. There are a lot of sharp people out there, from all walks of life, and from countries around the world.

Thank you to Scott Burns, Portland State, for nominating me for this award. And thanks to Steve Lundblad for the same. Thanks much to my co-workers at Central Washington University for allowing me to spend a lot of my time on public outreach. That wasn’t the original plan when I was hired more than 30 years ago, but it has become tremendously satisfying. Thank you.