Spotlight: Wendy Bohon


Geologist and Science Communications Specialist at IRIS,

2008 MS Graduate


Where has your degree taken you?

My geology degree has taken me all over the world! I’ve installed GPS stations in Bolivia, done fault mapping in Argentina, performed paleoseismic trenching in India and have worked on tectonics related problems in Mexico, India, China, Argentina, Chile, Bolivia and the US.

How did you get where you are today?

My route to geology was kind of circuitous. I started out my academic career in Theatre but after taking a Geology class in college I fell in love with tectonics and got a dual degree in Theatre and Geology from James Madison University. From there I to moved to LA to pursue a career in acting which was, again, derailed by geology – this time in the form of the Hector Mine earthquake. After that life shaking event I went to work as the Education and Outreach Coordinator for the USGS Earthquake Hazards Program in Pasadena. Finally succumbing to the siren song of science, I went back to school and earned an M.Sc. in Geology from THE Ohio State University and a Ph.D. in Geology/Tectonics from Arizona State University.

What advice would you offer to future students?

1. Be open to any and all experiences – you never know what will prove useful in the future.
2. Go to colloquium. Talk to the speaker. Ask questions even if you think they’re dumb.
3. TEACH. This will teach you what you don’t know. 
4. Take every opportunity you can to improve your science communication skills. Write. Give talks. Teach. These skills are critical regards of what career you pursue, and as a scientist they are more important right now than ever.
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