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EAR Announces Staff Update, Autumn 2022

October 12, 2022

October 06, 2022

New EAR Staff

Dr. Wendy Panero joins NSF as a federal employee from the School of Earth Sciences at Ohio State University where she has been a member of the faculty since 2005. Her research focuses on the physical properties of materials under deep-planetary conditions, combining results from ab-initio calculations with laboratory-based experiments at high pressures and temperatures. She has expertise in synchrotron-based diamond anvil cell work, working across multiple US-based synchrotron facilities. Her focus is on the formation, state, and evolution of planetary interiors, from the Earth to exoplanets. Wendy Panero is a Fellow of the Mineralogical Society of America and was an NSF CAREER awardee.

Dr. Alberto Perez-Huerta joins the SGP program as a rotator. He is a Professor of Geobiomineralogy at the University of Alabama (UA) since 2009. His main research is the field of biomineralization using fossils and modern organisms, including the study of human bone and teeth, for applications in paleoclimatology, (paleo-)ecology, evolutionary studies, materials science, and medicine. Dr. Perez-Huerta also has research experience in the fields of mineralogy, geochemistry, and in the development of techniques for mineral characterization including pioneering work in the use of atom probe tomography (APT) for geological applications and electron backscatter diffraction (EBSD) for biomineral characterization. 

Jessica McKay joins EAR as a Science Assistant from Texas A&M University where she is a Ph.D. Candidate in Geology/Geoscience Education studying transformative field experiences and bringing her experience in diversity, equity and inclusion to broader areas of scientific inquiry. Before joining NSF Jessica worked as an Immersive Digital Scientist for an environmental consulting firm where she built 3D geological models and developed immersive learning simulations for the private sector. Jessica earned her M.S. and B.S. in Geology from Northern Illinois University (NIU). At NIU Jessica worked on an international collaborative research project studying hydrogeochemistry in the Yucatan Peninsula to better understand groundwater flow paths. Additionally, Jessica served as the graduate assistant and a near peer mentor for an REU program for multiple years. Jessica is an active member in NABG and SACNAS and highly values being able to serve as a mentor for students in the geosciences community.


The U.S. National Science Foundation propels the nation forward by advancing fundamental research in all fields of science and engineering. NSF supports research and people by providing facilities, instruments and funding to support their ingenuity and sustain the U.S. as a global leader in research and innovation. With a fiscal year 2023 budget of $9.5 billion, NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to nearly 2,000 colleges, universities and institutions. Each year, NSF receives more than 40,000 competitive proposals and makes about 11,000 new awards. Those awards include support for cooperative research with industry, Arctic and Antarctic research and operations, and U.S. participation in international scientific efforts.

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