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About Jess

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Born and raised in Rochester, NY, I studied geology at Syracuse University after being drawn to the adventure of learning about the earth with boots on the ground. After earning an MS in geology at Vanderbilt University and a Ph.D. in geology at UCLA, I landed in Tucson, AZ. I taught high school math and science for two years and have been a lecturer in the University of Arizona department of geosciences ever since. One geologist husband, two precocious sons, and eleven years of teaching later, I am now the associate department head of UA Geosciences, where I teach introductory geology classes to hundreds of students every year. I am finishing my first book, a memoir about my high altitude field adventures in Tibet. I also write fiction, blog for Huffington Post, and am an avid proponent of journeying beyond our comfort zones–that’s where life begins!

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Science: The Best Thing that Ever Happened to Me


It’s new-semester’s eve—the night before classes begin at the university where I teach. As I stand on the precipice of academic year 2016-2017, looking with hopeful eyes toward an always-uncertain semester, my mind wanders back to the beginning of my foray into the world of science. Tonight, my message is tailor made for the young […]

Roots, Rediscovery, and Remembrance – A Tribute to my Father

Dad doing what he loved, playing a benefit concert in Louisiana ca. 1968.

I took an epic journey over the last week. It covered 4,787 miles, spanned four time zones, and tapped into more than five decades of memories. It took me from the small Pacific island of Kauai to my hometown of Rochester, NY and back again. It took me back to my roots; to the city […]