Dana Thomas

The University of Texas at Austin

I am a geoscience educator who is passionate about developing and facilitating impactful, inclusive programs that provide students from all backgrounds the learning, opportunities and support they need to pursue their goals. As a Senior Academic Program Coordinator in Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at the Jackson School of Geosciences at the University of Texas at Austin, I partner with colleagues to broaden participation in Earth, planetary and environmental science, primarily at the undergraduate level, and extending into pre-college and post-baccalaureate transition phases. Current and former projects include the JSG summer undergraduate Research Traineeship Experience (RTX), the Math and Science Institute for incoming college freshmen, a computational earthquake science summer school and an NSF-funded workshop series for faculty and researchers to become more inclusive mentors. I also lead the assessment and evaluation that drives iterative improvement of these programs.

I have always cherished teaching, and I am a Lecturer with the Energy and Earth Resources Graduate Program https://www.jsg.utexas.edu/eer/ at the Jackson School. I focus on and incorporate societally-relevant issues into geology courses, including within a course for interdisciplinary students that emphasizes the geologic controls on the distribution and reliance on Earth resources. With researchers at the Bureau of Economic Geology, I also co-teach a project-based course on CO2 sequestration in geologic formations. My teaching benefits from NAGT resources and colleagues.

My fondness for Earth science and education have always existed side by side. After spending a few semesters jumping from major to major, I pursued and received my Bachelor’s degree in Geology & Geophysics from Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, where I am from. I earned my PhD in Geological & Environmental Sciences from Stanford University, where I investigated the fluid-rock interactions between CO2-rich fluids and basaltic rocks to make better predictions about storing carbon dioxide emissions in volcanic rocks underground. During graduate school I nurtured my interests in the scholarship of teaching and learning and DEI issues in geoscience. With my peers, I developed a departmental TA training program for graduate students, participated in workshops on evidence-based pedagogy, and I also served as a Program Assistant for an undergraduate research program for two summers. NAGT served as a valuable resource in my professional development and I am proud to be a Councilor-at-Large currently.


You can please reach me at dthomas@jsg.utexas.edu. 

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Conference Presentations (4)

Enhancing computational geoscience participation and training with the MTMOD project part of Earth Educators Rendezvous:Rendezvous 2024:Program:Poster Sessions:Monday Poster Session
The Megathrust Modeling Framework (MTMOD) project is an NSF-supported Frontier Research in Earth Sciences (FRES) project connecting domain scientists, education leads, and research support staff, and a number of ...

Other Contributions (2)

Wednesday Panel/Forum: Disruption in Earth Education part of Earth Educators Rendezvous:Rendezvous 2024:Program
Come welcome new participants and share your Rendezvous experiences with colleagues at the Wednesday Forum. This year's Wednesday Forum theme is "Disruption in Earth Education." Disruptions can have ...

Facilitating Effective Group Projects in Geoscience Courses part of Earth Educators Rendezvous:Rendezvous 2024:Program:Afternoon Mini-Workshops
This workshop will explore effective ways to facilitate group projects to promote the development of workforce skills for students. We will provide an overview of the benefits of group projects for geoscience ...


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