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EAR Announces Staff Updates, Summer 2023

August 9, 2023

New Staff


Dr. Kevin Mandernack has joined the Geobiology and Low-temperature Geochemistry Program as a rotator in the Division of Earth Sciences. Dr. Mandernack comes from the Department of Science and Mathematics at the California State University, Maritime.  His research focuses on biogeochemical cycling of elements in modern and ancient environments; characterization of microbial communities through cell membrane lipid and molecular analyses; measurement of reaction rates and microbial activities; and biomineralization processes. Dr. Mandernack’s research uses stable isotopic analyses of C, N, Fe, S and O for assessing biological influence of biogeochemical reactions, and determination of bacterial metabolic pathways. His research includes field studies of aquatic, soil, and deep subsurface terrestrial and marine environments. He is particularly excited about improving access and exposure of the Earth sciences and training to students from underrepresented communities. 

Dr. Rachel Teasdale has joined the Petrology and Geochemistry program team as a rotator in the Division of Earth Sciences. Dr. Teasdale comes from the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences at California State University, Chico where her research includes lava flow emplacement processes, and petrologic investigations of southern Cascades volcanoes in the Lassen region and geoscience education research. Recent research explores the use of groundmass crystallinities in lava flows of the Auckland Volcanic Field to address lava flow emplacement rates and potential future hazards of a mafic eruption in an urban environment. Rachel has collaborated with numerous undergraduate researchers in physical volcanology, petrology, geochemistry and science outreach. She is excited about sharing research with the general public through informal science education at science museums and is working with students to create a hiking app that guides users in the exploration of the growth and erosion of Mt. Yana, an eroded volcano near Chico, CA. 

Ms. Samantha Page has joined EAR as a Program Specialist.   She will be primarily providing logistical support for the Geomorphology and Land-use Dynamics, Tectonics, and Critical Zone programs. Ms. Page previously worked for the Department of Homeland Security/ Secret Service as an Administrative Operations Specialist and the Department of Justice and NRT Property Management as an Administrative Assistant.    

Dr. Paul Cutler has joined the Division of Earth Sciences and will be overseeing our Midscale Infrastructure portfolio. Dr. Paul Cutler comes to EAR from NSF’s Office of Polar Programs where he has been a Program Director in Antarctic Sciences since 2015.  His responsibilities included the Antarctic Glaciology program, the COLDEX Science and Technology Center, the Ice Drilling Program, and the International Thwaites Glacier Collaboration. Prior to joining OPP, Paul was Program Director for the Geomorphology and Land-use Dynamics program in EAR, as well as acting Section Head and acting Division Director.  His background is in Earth surface processes, with research in cold and mountainous environments in the Arctic, Antarctic, Canadian Rockies, Alps, and Karakoram.  After NSF-supported postdoctoral work at the University of Wisconsin, he joined the National Academy of Sciences staff in their Board on Earth Sciences and Polar Research Board.  Prior to joining NSF in 2010, Paul spent three years at the International Council for Science in Paris working on the International Polar Year and international cooperation on global change research. 




After a 47-year career in the federal government, Patty Brooking has decided to retire. Her journey began in June 1975 when she joined the National Science Foundation (NSF). Although she briefly left for six months, Patty returned to NSF, which led to her start date being recalculated to January 1976. She initially served in the Biochemistry program within the Division of Physiology, Cellular and Molecular Biology until 1984 when she transferred to the Division of Earth Sciences, where she has remained ever since. Patty's career progression is a testament to her dedication and hard work. Starting as a clerk typist, she advanced to become a Program Specialist. Patty's tenure spanned the administrations of nine Presidents and twelve NSF Directors, reflecting her enduring commitment to public service. In addition to her day-to-day responsibilities, Patty actively contributed to improving the reviewer system at NSF. More recently, for the past eight years, she has been a part of the current system called MyNSF. Her expertise was also sought by NSF trainers Barbara Coleman and Carol Chambers, who recognized the value of the materials she created to improve the panel process. This material laid the groundwork for the tip sheet now sent to panelists. Patty's contributions extended beyond her direct responsibilities. She was appointed as the very first Travel Champion at NSF, possessing an impressive knowledge of travel procedures that rivaled even the travel center.  For over two decades, Patty diligently managed EAR's booth at the Geological Society of America Annual Meeting. This entailed handling a multitude of tasks, from organizing numerous program solicitations and display materials to setting up and staffing the booth for three and a half days. Her dedication allowed the team to showcase NSF's work effectively. Over the years, she attended the meeting in Denver eight times and also had the opportunity to travel to Toronto and Vancouver. Recognizing her outstanding contributions, Patty was honored with two Director's awards. One was in recognition of Support Excellence, and the other was a group award for spearheading the creation of the first GEO Newsletter. Patty Brooking's remarkable career at the federal government and her significant contributions to the NSF community will undoubtedly leave a lasting legacy. Her dedication to excellence and her tireless efforts have made a positive impact on the organization and its mission. As she embarks on her well-deserved retirement, she leaves behind a trail of accomplishments that will inspire future generations of public servants. Patty will be missed by her EAR colleagues. We wish her the best in her well-earned retirement.  

After a 30-year career in the federal government, Russell (Russ) C. Kelz decided to retire. Russ walked into the halls of the National Science Foundation (NSF) at 1800 G. St NW Washington D.C. on 21 September 1992. Russ' tenure began under NSF Director Dr. Walter Massey and spanned the administrations of twelve NSF Directors/Acting Directors, lastly under the leadership of Dr.  Sethuraman Panchanathan. He started in the Division of Ocean Sciences and joined the Division of Earth Sciences (EAR) in 1995 where he worked until his retirement as a Program Director for the Instrumentation and Facilities Program (EAR/IF). Russ made numerous contributions to NSF during his career. He convened and managed over 60 review panels and the list of laboratory and field analytical instrumentation that has, is, or will continue to operate in support of Geoscience research and education resultant of Russ is long. Additionally, he managed many multi-user EAR Facilities, including the: National Center for Airborne Laser Swath Mapping (NCALM); University of Texas High-Resolution X-ray Computed Tomography Facility; Institute for Rock Magnetism at the University of Minnesota, Purdue Rare Isotope Measurement Laboratory; Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometry Labs at Arizona State University; WHOI Northeast National Ion Microprobe Facility (NENIMF); Center for Transformative Environmental Monitoring Programs; and the University NAVSTAR Consortium (UNAVCO), later the Geodetic Facility for the Advancement of Geoscience (GAGE). Over his career Russ traveled extensively domestically and internationally in service to NSF/EAR to Greenland, Mexico, Australia, Costa Rica, Canada and to many parts of the U.S., participating in conferences, workshops, and field excursions. He received his B.S. in Mineral Economics from Pennsylvania State University (PSU) and his M.S. in Geological Oceanography from University of Rhode Island under Major Professor Dr. Michael Arthur. Among his favorite memories of those times are spear fishing in Narragansett Bay and offshore fishing for tuna with fellow students and lifelong friends.  His career had many interesting twists of fate.  The fishing continues. Russ will be much missed by his EAR and NSF colleagues. We wish him the best in his well-earned retirement.   

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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