Amanda Labrado, 36th GSA-USGS Congressional Science Fellow.
GSA and the U.S. Geological Survey are pleased to announce that Amanda Labrado will serve as the 2021-2022 GSA-USGS Congressional Science Fellow.
Dr. Amanda Labrado is a biogeochemist with a broad background in earth and environmental sciences. She recently received her Ph.D. from The University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP), where she studied how microbes facilitate the formation of minerals on the top of salt domes, large geological features located below Earth’s surface. Her graduate research was supported by a NASA Earth and Space Science Fellowship for Planetary studies since her project, although centered around Earth-based observations and experiments, has implications for the search for life elsewhere. Through the course of her studies, Amanda broadened both her scientific and cultural horizons by conducting geophysical surveys of the subsurface in South Africa, geomicrobiology in Spain, and cave research in Sicily and Cambodia, along with participating in international conferences. Amanda benefited from financial support from both academia and industry, receiving numerous scholarships from various organizations, including Geological Society of America (GSA), Society of Independent Professionals Earth Scientists (SIPES) Foundation, and the American Institute of Professional Geologists (AIPG), as well as from a petroleum research consortium. She completed an internship with Chevron and was also awarded the Bruce Davidson Memorial Award in Geosciences, which commends both scholastic excellence and community involvement within the geosciences department.
Amanda was born and raised by her single mother in El Paso, Texas, which is a predominately Hispanic border community situated in the semi-arid landscape between the Franklin Mountain and Rio Grande. As this border region is greatly affected by air pollution and drought, Amanda learned how inseparable socioeconomics, policy, and science are and the challenge of successfully and effectively communicating science with various audiences. Because of this, Amanda served as the president for the local chapter of the Association for Women Geoscientists, which promotes women and other underrepresented groups in the geosciences, and president of the El Paso Geological Society, which aids in exposing the community of El Paso to local geological attractions. These organizations helped her engage with local teachers and students and non-scientists alike, helping her gain a unique perspective on the intersection between environmental, social, and political issues.
In her free time, Amanda is a 500-hour yoga teacher as well as a practitioner, an outdoor enthusiast, and loves to travel. She tutors at-risk K-12 students online with School on Wheels and enjoys volunteering with initiatives to get people outdoors. When she is not exploring, she can be found eating lots of delicious vegan Mexican food with her family and friends.