Geoscience Careers Beyond Academia

There are many career options for academic geoscientists, beyond the standard professorial route. Graduate students (and advisors) are often less familiar with these options, because they exist outside of mainstream academia. You can learn more about opportunities in geoscience careers beyond that of professor by reading the career profiles and articles below.

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Geoscience Career Profiles

Note: if you have a job outside of academia and would like your profile to be included below, please fill out this career profile form.

  • Marc Airhart, Science Writer, Jackson School of Geosciences, University of Texas at Austin
  • David Applegate Senior Science Advisor for Earthquake and Geologic Hazards, US Geological Survey
  • Pranoti Asher, Manager of Education and Public Outreach programs, American Geophysical Union
  • Lori Bettison-Varga President, Scripps College, CA
  • Josh Chamot, Media Officer for Engineering/SBIR/STTR, NSF (and occasionally, freelance science writer)
  • Robyn Wright Dunbar, Senior Associate Director for Science and Engineering, Center for Teaching and Learning, Stanford University. You can also read her Stanford CTL biography.
  • Leila Gonzales, Geoscience Workforce Analyst, American Geological Institute
  • Laurel Goodell, Undergraduate Lab Manager, Princeton University, Department of Geosciences
  • Chris Keane Director of Communications and Technology and Editor of Earth Magazine, AGI
  • Cathy Manduca, Director, Science Education Resource Center, Carleton College
  • Cindy Martinez, Careers and Outreach Program Coordinator for the American Geological Institute, Alexandria, VA.
  • George Matsumoto, Senior Education and Research Specialist, Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute
  • Carol Ormand, Geoscience Education Content Developer, Science Education Resource Center, Carleton College
  • Raj Pandya, Director, SOARS (Significant Opportunities in Atmospheric Research), UCAR (University Corporation for Atmospheric Research)
  • Cheryl Peach, Science Academic Coordinator, Birch Aquarium at Scripps Insitution of Oceanography
  • Tom Repine, Education Specialist, West Virginia Geological and Economic Survey, Morgantown, WV
  • Robert Ross, Director of Education and Exhibits, Paleontological Research Institution
  • Judy Scotchmoor, Interim Assistant Director (Education and Public Programs), Paleontology Museum, University of California at Berkeley
  • Stephanie Stockman, Education and Public Outreach for MESSENGER, EOS Aura, and Landsat 7, NASA
  • John Taber, Education and Outreach Program Manager, IRIS Consortium (Incorporated Research Institutions for Seismology)
  • Mike Thonis Managing Director and Chief Operating Officer, Charlesbank Capital Partners

Career Profile Collections Compiled by Other Organizations

In the geosciences, broadly speaking:

  • Earth Science World, the Sloan Career Cornerstone Center, and Geotimes all have profiles of geoscientists.
  • The Association of Women Geoscientists has a selection of career profiles of women geoscientists, both in and outside of academia.
  • Uniserve Science has profiles of scientists, including geoscientists.
  • Natalie Mahowald, at Cornell, has posted an extensive downloadable document of interesting jobs in the geosciences that are available to people with Masters or PhDs. It's on her website.

In the ocean sciences:

Other Resources

  • So What Are You Going to Do With That?: A Guide for M.A.'s and Ph.D's Seeking Careers Outside the Academy, by Susan Basalla and Maggie Debelius, is a guide to finding a career outside the academy and marketing your skills to begin that career.
  • The Path Less Travelled, a commentary in Nature (v. 464, p. 945, 7 April 2010) by Andrea Schweitzer, describes the rewards of her career as a self-employed scientist.
  • The American Geological Institute runs a series of webinars, including many about careers in geoscience, such as Geoscientists in the Media and Geoscience careers at NOAA. You can watch and listen to recordings of these webinars on the AGI websites linked above.
  • The website offers forums to support its mission: to help humanities and social science PhDs and graduate students identify and prepare for possible non-academic careers. While designed for humanities and social science PhDs, the topics pertain to a wide range of disciplines. You must be a member to view and post to the forum (membership is free).