Geological Society of America Announces 2022–2023 Fellows for Science Policy and Communication

Boulder, CO, USA: GSA is pleased to introduce three outstanding new Fellows who will join our efforts during the next year to increase the efficacy in serving society through science.

The 37th GSA–U.S. Geological Survey Congressional Science Fellow is Hannah Palmer. Palmer is a climate and environmental scientist dedicated to conducting science in service of the public and leveraging science to inform decision making. Her scientific research focuses on investigating the biogeochemistry of a changing world, impacts of environmental change on ecosystems, and human dimensions of global change. She earned a BS from the University of California Los Angeles in marine biology and a Ph.D. in earth and planetary sciences from the University of California Davis. In her doctoral research, she utilized the paleorecord to understand biogeochemical and ecosystem change across systems and timescales. Specifically, she focused on investigating marine sediment records to understand oceanographic change and ecosystem responses to change through the last 12,000 years. As a graduate student, she served as the University of California Center Sacramento Presidential Graduate Opportunities for Leadership Development Fellow in which she worked with the California Council on Science and Technology to communicate up-to-date science on wildfire to state policymakers. Palmer also served as the co-director of the Santa Rosa Junior College–Bodega Marine Laboratory Internship Program in 2019–2020. Following her Ph.D., she was awarded the University of California Chancellor’s Postdoctoral Fellowship at the University of California Merced. In this role, Palmer investigated how wildfire severity impacts the biogeochemistry of landscapes following wildfire to both understand effects of modern fire as well as to improve how we understand wildfire in the past. She also recently served as an American Geophysical Union Thriving Earth Exchange Community Science Fellow in which she worked to connect scientists and community leaders to solve local challenges. Palmer enjoys taking on new challenges as she has continually worked to build new collaborations, investigate diverse study systems, interact across organizations, and to link science and policy. When she is not working, she enjoys trail running, baking and eating delicious goods, jumping in the ocean, and spending time with friends, old and new.

Christine Ray will serve as GSA’s 2022–2023 Science Policy Fellow. Ray grew up in New Jersey, where her high school science classes, along with a plethora of hiking and camping trips to various New Jersey state parks, first inspired her love for science and the natural world. She completed a double major in animal sciences and astrophysics at the School of Environmental and Biological Sciences at Rutgers University, where she first got a taste of the interface between people and the environment and developed a fondness for science teaching and communication. She moved on to pursue a Ph.D. in the joint program between the University of Texas at San Antonio and the Southwest Research Institute, where she combined her interests in space and life sciences studying the habitability of moons in the outer solar system for her doctoral dissertation. Ray completed her Ph.D. at the end of 2021 and then served as a postdoc at Southwest Research Institute (SwRI). During her time in San Antonio, Ray worked on multiple NASA planetary science missions where she came to appreciate the role that policy plays in the science world, including the Cassini mission to Saturn and the Europa Clipper mission that will launch in 2024 to explore Jupiter’s moon, Europa. She was also active in both science communication and science policy. She helped run science outreach events at SwRI such as Astronomy on Tap, was involved in several projects through the National Science Policy Network, volunteered with local political groups, participated in several congressional visit days, and served on the American Astronomical Society Division for Planetary Sciences (AAS DPS) Federal Relations Subcommittee, working to advocate for planetary sciences in the federal government. In her free time, Ray enjoys hiking and backpacking through Texas’ two national parks, rock climbing, scuba diving, and taking photos of all of her adventures.

Laura Fattaruso has been named GSA’s 2022–2023 Science Communication Fellow. In this role, Fattaruso will help translate technical research from GSA journals and meeting presentations into relatable stories for non-technical audiences. Fattaruso lives in Holyoke, Massachusetts. They earned a bachelor’s degree in environmental science and geology with a minor in physics at SUNY Albany in New York State and their master’s degree in geoscience at UMass Amherst, where they are now working on a Ph.D., to be completed in fall 2022. Their Ph.D. research focuses on the energy budget of rock fracture processes to improve our understanding of earthquakes, along with side projects in paleomagnetism and geologic mapping of Venus. Their master’s work examined how the shape of the San Andreas fault impacts crustal deformation and how changes to the fault system over time influenced the tectonic evolution of southern California. They have also worked as a teacher, housekeeper, landscaper, sandwich maker, and dog walker. From 2017–2020, they produced and hosted the podcast “Lab Talk with Laura,” which features conversations about research between scientists and comedians. Fattaruso was a 2019 Mass Media Fellow with the American Association for the Advancement of Science, doing science reporting for King 5 News in Seattle, and they currently write about emerging earthquake research for Temblor Earthquake News.

The Geological Society of America (GSA) ( unites a diverse community of geoscientists in a common purpose to study the mysteries of our planet (and beyond) and share scientific findings. Members and friends around the world, from academia, government, and industry, participate in GSA meetings, publications, and programs at all career levels, to foster professional excellence. GSA values and supports inclusion through cooperative research, public dialogue on earth issues, science education, and the application of geoscience in the service of humankind.

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For Immediate Release
19 July 2022
GSA Release No. 22-41

Kea Giles

Hannah Palmer
Hannah Palmer

Christine Ray

Laura Fattaruso
Laura Fattaruso