Biographical Info My path to become an environmental geochemist was far from a direct route. I spent my late teens and early 20’s exploring the United States and working various retail and sales jobs. I eventually decided to “settle down” in the San Francisco Bay Area where I worked as a receptionist at Bayside Record Distributors and took a few classes at College of Marin. I can say with no uncertainty that my Physical Geology teacher changed the trajectory of my life. He invited students to question everything and this teaching style really worked of me – I was hooked! I obtained my Associates Degree and transferred to Humboldt State University. At the time, I decided to pursue a Biology degree, which in retrospect was largely motivated by my desire to do something useful to protect the environment. I found the chemistry classes much more satisfying and ultimately graduated with my BS in Chemistry. I have many fond memories of Northern California with Moonstone Beach being one of my favorite places, glow worms and banana slugs still hold a fond place in my heart, and the 30°F increase in temperature just an hour drive inland is a secret that should not be divulged. My perception of job prospects in Arcata at that time included: teaching, forestry, or going back to retail/sales/customer service. None of these options were appealing so I returned to the Bay Area. Soon after, I got my first environmental job working on the EPA Region 9 Superfund Technical Assessment and Response Team. I’m not a fan of the level of bureaucracy associated with Superfund projects but the training was exceptional, and it was a turning point since the job took me to my first mine site: a mercury mine near Paso Robles. I learned about remediation projects, enjoyed the work, and made decent money but was barely making ends meet due to the first dot com boom. I threw in the towel after realizing that it would be years before I could even afford a ramshackle home in the North Bay. By threw in the towel, I mean I applied for Graduate School and was accepted into the Chemistry and Geochemistry Program at Colorado School of Mines (CSM). Attending CSM turned out to be one of the smartest career and life decisions I’ve made. I lived in some of the most beautiful places in Colorado (Golden Gate Canyon, Baily, Vail, and Highlands Ranch wasn’t bad), got more comfortable in the backcountry, and met the man of my dreams to name some high points. My love for environmental geochemistry and working for the mining industry was ignited at CSM. Since earning my PhD, I’ve been able to help with permitting new mines, restart old one, and reclaim others. Many of these mines are in beautiful locations that make the technical work even better. I took the plunge into independent consulting a few years ago and it’s another decision without any regrets. We now live in Incline Village and have one of the most beautiful lakes in the world, and excellent skiing, just minutes away. I have enormous freedom, work on interesting projects, and make good money doing what I love. Mark and I now have two grandchildren (there’s no such thing as a step-grandma), which adds a whole new dimension to this wonderful life. I’ll admit that I’ve been putting off writing my “faces of GSN” since I’d rather have hot pokers placed in my eyes than write about myself. Turns out, it wasn’t so bad and it reminded me just how fortunate I am. Thank you!
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Company Practical Geochemistry LLC