About Jess Kapp


Jess Kapp is a geologist and educator at the University of Arizona, where she is an Associate Professor of Practice and the Director of Undergraduate Studies in the department of geosciences.  Her first love is teaching.  Prior to her UA gig, Jess taught high school math and science at a charter school in Tucson, AZ.

Jess discovered a love for literature and poetry early in life, and began to experiment with writing.  She attended Syracuse University with plans to be a writer/journalist, but instead fell in love with her freshman earth science class. She threw herself into the pursuit of science, earning her BS in geology in 1996, an MS in geology from Vanderbilt University in 1998, and a PhD in geology from the University of California, Los Angeles in 2004.

While studying at UCLA, Jess was given the opportunity to study geology in the remote wilderness of the Tibetan Plateau.  She has spent over seven months in total in the interior of Tibet, studying the geology and learning life lessons along the way.  It is this life-changing experience that was the inspiration for her memoir, which she hopes to publish soon.

Her message is simple: Go for it, take a risk, and push beyond your comfort zone. She hopes that her story will motivate women to try something new and take a chance on themselves.  She is an advocate for increasing the number of women in STEM fields, and is passionate about bringing science, and everything that is so fascinating about it, to her students and to the public in interesting and engaging ways.

Jess’s has contributed writing to two anthologies (Baby Shoes: A Flash Fiction Anthology, and Martinis and Motherhood: Tales of Wonder, Woe, and WTF), the Huffington Post, Traveling Geologist, Blunt Moms, and her own blog.  In addition to teaching and writing, she is a runner, an avid reader, a mother to two young sons, and is married to the mountain man and fellow geologist she met and fell for as a graduate student at UCLA.  They have adventured to many places together, including kayaking along the rugged NaPali coast of Kauai, and trekking into the impenetrable forest of Uganda to track mountain gorillas.  As often as possible, they escape the Tucson heat by spending time at their family cabin in Prescott, AZ, or on the north shore of Kauai.