Stanford University
students in the field

Stanford Earth Fund 2018-19 Annual Summary

Students standing on an outcrop of the Miocene Monterey Formation along the California coast north of Santa Barbara. Photo by Will Thompson-Butler, PhD ’19.

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I want to thank all Stanford Earth Fund donors for investing in our students. Your generosity empowers them to strive for academic excellence in an environment that fully supports their personal and professional growth.

Thanks to you ...

In classrooms, laboratories, and fieldwork that spans every continent and ocean, students are thriving in the rich, dynamic learning environment supported by the Stanford Earth Fund. Your generosity has made a difference in the lives of more than 500 graduate and undergraduate students by providing life-changing opportunities to create impact around the world.

Please read on to learn more about student opportunities you helped to support in 2018-19.

Living on the Edge

The school’s most popular introductory field trip and “gateway” course to the Earth Sciences now reaches twice as many students. Two sections of Living on the Edge  were added in 2018-19, allowing more Stanford undergraduates to explore what it means to live along the San Andreas Fault and North American plate boundary. Over the course of a weekend, students examine the impacts of active faults, landslides, and human engineering along the peninsula and coast while diving deep (100 million years) into geologic time. Photo by Audrey Yau.

Students in the inaugural Introduction to Environmental Justice course.
Students and instructors in the course Introduction to Environmental Justice.

Introduction to Environmental Justice

A new course created in response to student interest and advocacy allows undergraduates to engage with complex social justice issues from an environmental perspective. EARTHSYS 194 uses case studies to encourage critical and collaborative thinking and research about the ways race, class, and gender have shaped environmental battles from Standing Rock to Flint, Michigan.

Professional Development

students with faculty in workshop

To help students transition more easily from school to career, Stanford Earth has introduced a new three-quarter professional development course sequence.

In the fall, EARTH 200A: Your Professional Development, provides a foundation for exploring long-term career goals through self-assessments, resume-building, and workshops on such topics as negotiation and managing up.

Winter quarter’s Professional Development Practicum (EARTH 200P) gives students an opportunity to focus on enhancing one component of their portfolio, including through engagement with professional societies and external partners.

In the spring, EARTH 200B: Your Personal Development helps build emotional, financial, and social intelligence with skills-building around decision making, managing pressure and conflict, ethics and integrity, and financial literacy.

Pro Seminars

Students smiling

Launched in 2018-19, this lunchtime seminar series brings students face-to-face with experienced faculty on the first Friday of each month for candid discussions about common challenges. The first sessions were: 

Proposals from Start to Finish
Professor Greg Beroza 

Preparing for an Academic Career
Professor Jon Payne

How to Grow an Idea
Associate Professor Kate Maher

How to Make the Most out of a Postdoc
Professor Rod Ewing

Navigating the Mentor-Mentee Relationship
Professor Rosemary Knight

Initiating Scientific Collaborations
Associate Professor Kate Maher

Developing Teaching Skills for Industry or Academia
Associate Dean for Educational Affairs Robyn Dunbar

The Future of Diversity in the Geosciences
Lupe Carrillo, program manager, Office of Multicultural Affairs

California as Classroom

With support from the Stanford Earth Field Education team, Professor Hal Mooney’s legendary course Ecosystems of California was revived in 2019 by Professor Chris Field and Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve staff scientist Nona Chiariello. Through lectures, projects, and five weekend field trips including to the desert, coast, and Sierra Nevada, students learned firsthand the varied natural history, taxonomy, and ecology of ecosystems of the golden state. Photo by Ryan Petterson.

Diversity & Inclusion in the Geosciences

In EARTH 203, a collaboration among faculty and senior graduate students, students use insights from recent literature and perspectives from guest speakers to evaluate practices that hold promise for broadening participation and inclusion in the geosciences. Offered for the first time in winter quarter 2019, the course concluded with a poster symposium. Photo by Elenita Makani Nicholas.

Janell Edman

Why I give ...

"I give back to the Stanford Earth Fund to honor all the support and encouragement I was provided as a student. From my very first geophysics course, I was encouraged to do original research and think creatively. I am proud to give and help provide cutting-edge opportunities for today’s students."


—Janell Edman, ’75, MS ’75 Geophysics

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Skills Building

A new series of workshops and skillshares allows students to explore practical career, pedagogical, and personal development topics such as Teaching Earth Literacy and Networking with Alumni. Photo: an undergraduate peer advisor helps to lead an immersive virtual reality film experience with a marine science educator from Stanford's Hasso Plattner Institute of Design (

Student-Alumni Career Mixer

The school’s first annual career networking event brought 20 Stanford Earth alumni together with 60 students eager to gain insight on a variety of industries and career paths. The event will return in conjunction with the school's alumni reception at the American Geophysical Union annual meeting in San Francisco December 9, 2019.  Photo by Steve Castillo.

Meet the Class of 2019

Click to see full spotlights

For more information:


Nicholas Heinzen

Associate Director of Annual Giving and Alumni Relations


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