Stanford University
snorkel in Hawaii

Stanford Earth Fund 2019-20 Annual Summary

Andrea Contreras, ’19, MS ’21, during an expedition in Hawai’i as part of the Wrigley Field Program. Photo by Hanna Payne, '19, MA '20.

You helped make it happen

Your support for the Stanford Earth Fund has been instrumental in helping our students through this year's unprecedented and unpredictable challenges. Every student has been touched by your generosity and, for that, we thank you. Here are three ways your gift made a difference this year:

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Academics Amid COVID-19

The Whole Student

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I am so grateful to you, our Stanford Earth Fund donors, for your generosity this year. Your support has helped us adapt—and in some cases reinvent—curriculum and culture to ensure every student receives the robust educational experience they deserve.

You made this happen, together

Mattias Lanas

Why I Give ...

"Giving back to Stanford is a chance to pay forward the life-changing opportunities and support I received when I was a student so that others may have similar experiences today. My fieldwork in the Earth Systems Program and my study abroad experience were tremendously impactful on my career and values as a global citizen. I am proud to help support those programs at Stanford, knowing that my contribution is a direct investment in the future stewards of our planet."

— Mattias Lanas, '12, MS '12 Earth Systems Program


Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Your gifts are helping to grow and strengthen programs dedicated to celebrating diversity, ensuring access and equity, and fostering inclusion across the Stanford Earth community.

Expanding Scope

This year, Lupe Carrillo, Stanford Earth's new Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI), relaunched her office with an expanded scope. Now housed within the school's Educational Affairs team, DEI efforts are more easily integrated throughout our educational enterprise. This includes partnering more closely with faculty Associate Chairs for Diversity and Inclusion (ACDI) across the school to ensure that DEI values and perspectives permeate decision making in all departments and programs.

Mentoring Across Difference

Stanford Earth's longtime workshop on How to Be a Great Mentor got an upgrade this year with the addition of a new module, Mentoring Across Difference. "There can be many different backgrounds, perspectives, and world views within one research group," says Lupe Carrillo, Director of Stanford Earth's Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI). "Instructors and advisors need to learn now to mentor in that context."  Read full story

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Stanford Earth Celebrates

A series of school-wide events and published stories and profiles, Stanford Earth Celebrates aims to honor the many communities within the school and create conversations around identity, barriers, and opportunities for building a more inclusive environment. Stories can be found on our School Highlights page.

Academics Amid COVID-19

With Stanford Earth Fund support provided by donors like you, our faculty were able to shape a fully virtual teaching environment when forced confinement measures took effect in March, canceling very few courses in the transition.

Mail Order

"We usually have a practical component using equipment in my laboratory and in the school’s shared facilities," says Professor Wendy Mao of her undergraduate introductory seminar on diamonds. COVID-19 changed that just weeks before the first day of class. Read full story

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COVID Data as Classroom

Professors Jenny Suckale and Gabrielle Wong-Parodi arranged for students in their experiential learning course Shaping the Future of the Bay Area to collaborate remotely with external partners to address challenges created by COVID-19. One student team worked with the City of San Jose to analyze the effectiveness of public health orders. The students’ analyses are now being used directly by the city’s emergency operations committees. Click below to read more about the Stanford Future Bay Initiative.

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Virtual Lab

The virtual rock physics laboratory Tiziana Vanorio developed years ago as a teaching tool became essential this spring for demonstrating processes and procedures online. "An advantage is more of the parts of the equipment are transparent, so you can see how gases or fluids move through rocks and materials," she says. Read more in this interview.

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In the (Virtual) Field

Field learning is foundational to a Stanford Earth education and, though modified, it has not been abandoned in the face of the pandemic. Fortunately, more than 75 students got out into the field as part of academic courses early in the year. Once venturing out became impossible, Stanford Earth Fund resources allowed the field program to pivot in innovative ways, including enhancing accessibility and inclusion in ways that will sustain well into the future.

Remote Wilderness

Within a couple of weeks of instruction moving online, virtual field trips to Mount St. Helens, the Sierra Nevada, and the deserts of eastern California were operational. So was a new online course, EARTH 83: Nature Journaling, which created structure and guidance for students seeking experiential learning through the natural world wherever and however they could safely get outside. 

Professor George Hilley and his teaching assistants spent the summer shooting 360-degree footage for their 4-unit field course, GEOLSCI 42: Moving and Shaking in the Bay Area, exploring active faulting and erosion (video below):

The Whole Student

You supported the expansion of professional development programs available to all Stanford Earth students.

Pro Seminar class room

Pro Seminars and Skillshares

Building on momentum from last year's launch, Pro Seminars and Skillshare workshops provided more than 20 opportunities for students to leverage the school community throughout the year. Moving seamlessly online in the spring, the program widened to include topics such as Professional Skills in AcademiaMaximizing Your Competitiveness and How to be an Efficient, Motivated Academic Writer.

AGU mixer event

Networking mixer at AGU

In December, more than 200 students and alumni gathered in San Francisco for the school's second annual career networking event. A five-alumni panel discussion on career paths was followed by a robust and lively networking hour.

Conversations with alumni flyer

Conversations with alumni

Formalized this summer, the Stanford Earth Conversations with Alumni series provided an opportunity each month for students to hear from an alum on career experiences (planned and unplanned) and how a Stanford Earth education can prepare them to adapt to new circumstances. When the format turned virtual, students appreciated the unexpected opportunity to speak with alumni from as far away as Alaska and France.

Stanford Earth is dedicated to supporting student mental health and wellbeing. With thanks to you, the Stanford Earth Fund helped grow existing wellness programming this year to meet evolving student needs during the global pandemic.

Wellness Liaisons

Leveraging the existing model, this year the Stanford Earth Wellness Liaisons from each department and program led a suite of programming that promoted wellness and worked to reduce stigma and misconceptions surrounding mental health. The group met monthly and trained on campus wellness resources and skills, including how to engage in meaningful dialogue with peers to ensure they get the support they need.

Living Well

This year gave rise to the opportunity for more robust, timely, and relevant mental health and wellness programming. Two new Pro Seminars centered on wellness, Stress, Mental Health and Work-Life Balance in Academia and Living Well Under Pressure, were the highest attended of all Pro Seminars this year. While still maintaining workshop sizes, the pivot to virtual programming increased our ability to pull from a larger variety of speakers without geographical constraints.

Pausing with Paws

Monthly pet therapy sessions allowed students, faculty, and staff to take a break and connect with each other and canine friends provided by the volunteer organization Pet Partners. These regular sessions helped to reduce anxiety and strengthened connections among all members of the Stanford Earth community.

Meet our Students

Click to see full spotlights

For more information:


Nicholas Heinzen

Associate Director of Annual Giving and Alumni Relations


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