News Archive

posted 04/01/05

First Marie Tharp Fellowships at Columbia Awarded For Study of Earth

The ADVANCE Program of The Earth Institute at Columbia University has awarded its first Marie Tharp Fellowships this year to three women scientists whose research includes studies of southern hemisphere atmospheric circulation, thermochronology and tropical resources.

The fellows are: Suzanne L. Baldwin, Associate Professor, Department of Earth Science and Director of Syracuse University Noble Gas Isotope Research Laboratory (SUNGIRL); Lisa M. Curran, Associate Professor of Tropical Resources and Director of the Tropical Resources Institute, Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies; and Marilyn Raphael, Associate Professor, Department of Geography, University of California, Los Angeles.

The fellows will spend 1-3 months working alongside Earth Institute research scientists, faculty and post-doctoral students.

“We have learned that prestigious fellowships are often great stepping-stones to top positions at research universities like Columbia," said Professor Mark Cane, G. Unger Vetlesen Professor of Earth and Climate Sciences and one of the faculty leaders of the ADVANCE Program. "The Marie Tharp fellowships target emerging and established women leaders with the goal of advancing them to senior positions."

The National Science Foundation (NSF) awarded The Earth Institute a five-year $4.2 million ADVANCE Program grant to test methods to help women overcome barriers to advancing their careers in earth sciences and engineering and making it into the ranks of tenured professors and senior research scientists.

A 1997 NSF-sponsored study found that 23% of employed Ph.D.s are women with only 13% in earth sciences. Columbia mirrors this national trend with significantly less tenured women in the earth sciences and engineering than found overall at Columbia. The Earth Institute’s goal is to increase the number of women in its affiliated academic departments and research centers to 25%.

The fellowship is named after Marie Tharp, one of the early women earth scientists who joined other Columbia scientists to define the structure of the Earth’s largest mountain range, the mid-ocean ridge system. Her map of the ocean floor is still the foundation for research and education in the ocean sciences.

The First Marie Tharp Fellows

suzanne baldwin

Suzanne L. Baldwin, Associate Professor, Department of Earth Science, and Director of Syracuse University Noble Gas Isotope Research Laboratory (SUNGIRL)
Suzanne Baldwin's current research focuses on determining the pressure-temperature-time-deformation histories of active metamorphic core complexes in eastern Papua New Guinea (PNG). Her expertise is in thermochronology; in particular, employing different isotopic methods on a variety of minerals to elucidate the geologic and tectonic evolution of plate boundaries. Her most recent work documents the youngest high pressure metamorphic rocks (eclogites) known on Earth, exhumed from depths of ~75 km to the surface in the last 4.3 my. She is also working on projects in Antarctica, Arizona, New Zealand and the Pyrenees. Baldwin received her Ph.D. in geology from the State University of New York at Albany.

suzanne baldwin

Lisa M. Curran, Associate Professor of Tropical Resources and Director of the Tropical Resources Institute, Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies
Lisa Curran has spent over 20 years in the South and Southeast Asian tropics working with foundations, non-governmental organizations, and with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization's Man and Biosphere Programme. She served on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Wildlife and Climate Change Panel, and as an advisor to both the Clinton Administration prior to the Kyoto Climate Change meetings and to President George W. Bush’s State Department’s Initiative on Illegal Logging. Her research interests are in the mechanisms that underlie community structure and dynamics of tropical forests and how ecological interactions are altered by human activities. Curran received her Ph.D. in ecology and evolutionary biology from Princeton University.

suzanne baldwin

Marilyn Raphael, Associate Professor, Department of Geography, University of California, Los Angeles
Marilyn Raphael’s research focuses on Southern Hemisphere atmospheric circulation variability and its relation to surface boundary conditions, such as Antarctic sea ice cover. As part of her fellowship at the Earth Institute, Raphael will bring her expertise in southern hemisphere climatologyand her experience with observational data sets,diagnostic analysis, and climate modeling, to investigate the apparent relationship between concurrent trends in Antarctic sea-ice concentration and several atmospheric circulation variables, such as the Southern Hemisphere Annular Mode, the Semi-annual Oscillation and quasi-stationary zonal waves 1 and 3. Raphael received her Ph.D. in geography from Ohio State University.

The Earth Institute at Columbia University is the world's leading academic center for the integrated study of Earth, its environment and society. The Earth Institute builds upon excellence in the core disciplines — earth sciences, biological sciences, engineering sciences, social sciences and health sciences — and stresses cross-disciplinary approaches to complex problems. Through research, training and global partnerships, it mobilizes science and technology to advance sustainable development, while placing special emphasis on the needs of the world's poor. For more information, visit www.earth.columbia.edu.