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From the desk of Dean Kate Miller
June 12, 2012 

Dear Colleagues:


I expect you are as pleased as I am that summer session 

has gotten offDean Miller to a much cooler start than last year. Let's hope we will only have a "normal" hot summer. In the first week of June I enjoyed leading the GeoX students through a module related to earthquakes and seismology. There's more about this group of high school students below-all I can say is watch out, they are really bright-and if we do as well as we did last year in recruiting them to Texas A&M, they will be challenging us in the classroom before you know it.


We have a few upcoming personnel changes in the College leadership. I am pleased to announce that I have recommended to Provost Watson that Dr. Ping Yang, be appointed as Department Head in Atmospheric Sciences. He will succeed Dr. Ken Bowman, who has served ably for the past five years. I am very much looking forward to working with Dr. Yang. In addition, Diane Barron, our director of development, is transferring to the College of Engineering to serve the Department of Mechanical Engineering. We will be conducting an open search for her replacement over the summer, in conjunction with the Texas A&M Development Foundation. Meanwhile, Diane will continue to work with us on a few ongoing projects into the fall.   


Kudos, to the entire Geography Department which received a strongly positive review from an external panel that assessed the program in late April. Among other praises, the department was cited for its strong record of faculty research in highly topical areas of Geography, its synergies within the College of Geosciences, strong collegiality, and its recent decision to reinvest in GIScience.   


The NSF has recently released a Dear Colleague letter, announcing the recompetition of the Science Services for the Integrated Ocean Drilling program. We will of course be working hard to submit a winning response by year's end.  


I know that many of you are curious about the processes surrounding raises for September 1, 2013. As you know, the raise is a merit raise, and will come in two parts: an average of 1.5% that will be added to recurring salaries, and an average of 1.5% that will be a one-time payment.  Our leadership and business teams are working with our upper administration to implement the raise. Because of the added complexity of the one-time funds, the whole process is going to take longer than usual. So, I ask for your patience in waiting to learn the results. As plans become more concrete we will be feeding information to your unit heads, so please see them with any questions you have.




Kate Miller

Dean, College of Geosciences




 Texas A&M Announcements


Coffee Conversations

Dr. Jeffrey Seemann, Vice President for Research, will lead a Coffee Conversation, 8:30-10 a.m., Friday, June 15. "Local Discoveries, Global Impacts: The Ripple Effect of Research at Texas A&M" will cover research on campus, its importance for students' experiences at Texas A&M and its help in raising Texas A&M's national prestige. 

 College Announcements


GeoX 2012

Texas A&M welcomed the second class of GeoX, the weeklong summer program introducing high school students to the geosciences. Twenty-one students from around the state were here June 1-8. Dr. Chris Houser (GEOG) led the academic program, working with more than 20 faculty, graduate student and staff volunteers. Students lived on campus and went on field trips to learn about studying and working in the geosciences as well as what it takes to become an Aggie. Individual and corporate donations provided funding for the program.  


Geox 2012
GeoX Summer Class of 2012


Facilities update
The marble walls of the O&M Building's lobby were professionally cleaned for the first time in 39 years.


Construction in O&M 511, 512 and 409 is nearly complete. Within the month, construction will begin on renovations in 518 and 521 (Dan Thornton's lab). There will be moderate noise with that job, but it should be of short duration.


Plans are proceeding to install a concrete pad for bicycle racks in the space between Halbouty and Reed-McDonald this summer. The rack at the east end of the Ross Street front will be removed. The college will share the costs with Transportation Services and Landscape Services.


For people walking between Halbouty and O&M, be aware that the final phase of the Liberal Arts Building project is now under way - relandscaping the green between O&M and Langford - and the approach to O&M from the west may change without notice. Signs will direct pedestrians. In August, activity will shift to the north side of the lawn, and foot traffic around Langford will be rerouted. See the lobby televisions in O&M and Halbouty to view the artist's conception of the finished project. 


Later this summer, the north-south path on the west side of the Williams Building may be closed for short periods when interior renovations begin in that building.


Facebook around the College
Show your support for the College and for individual labs by liking and linking to their Facebook pages. Recent additions and updates to social media are the following: 

Dr. Matthew Schmidt (OCNG) encourages everybody to "like" the new Paleoceanography and Paleoclimatology Lab Facebook page and follow the adventures of graduate student Jennifer Hertzberg in the equatorial Pacific on the Marcus G. Lansgeth.


Dr. Oliver Frauenfeld (GEOG) has created the Department of Geography Climate Science Lab Facebook page. He posts updates about his group's work as well as news stories about climate science. 


Texas Sea Grant's Facebook encourages everyone to "gull," which is defined as: "Spontaneously channeling one's inner seagull in random places because you know the importance of a healthy world ocean to life on Earth and support Sea Grant's efforts to keep it that way." Send Jim Hiney your own attempts at gulling, especially if you are on the Texas Coast this summer, as you should be.


And don't forget the College of Geosciences' own Facebook page. Send news items and updates to Karen Riedel. It's a great way to stay in touch with former students. 



Researcher IDs can now be added to profiles. ResearcherID is a global, multi-disciplinary scholarly research community. With a unique identifier assigned to each author in ResearcherID, users can eliminate author misidentification and view an author's citation metrics instantly. Researchers can use the registry to find collaborators, review publication lists and explore how research is used around the world.


If you have established a ResearcherID profile, but it is not on your Geosciences profile, the following will allow you to add it.

  • Open your profile. The first section is Profile Info. Edit this section. Scroll down to the bottom of the section. Choose "Show ResearcherID Button: YES"  
  • In the area called "Link to ResearcherID Profile," paste your ResearcherID URL at the top of the ResearcherID page. It will look like this:

For help, send your ResearcherID to Jennifer Rumford, and she will add it for you.


Costa Rica REU

Dr. Chris Houser (GEOG) is again co-PI this summer for the REU in Costa Rica. After spending two weeks on campus, students are now at the Soltis Center where they will be for four weeks before returning to Texas A&M. Other professors participating in the program are Drs. Sarah Brooks, Lee Panetta, and Courtney Schumacher (ATMO) and Drs. Steven Quiring, Brendan Roark and Oliver Frauenfeld (GEOG). 


Follow the group's progress on the Costa Rica REU website, and read the daily blog.   

Houser REU
The Costa Rica 2012 REU group


 Professional Activities




Dr. Shari Yvon-Lewis (OCNG) and graduate students Lei Hu and Yina Liu presented three papers describing their recent results at the May 15-17 Global Monitoring Annual Conference in Boulder.




Recents grants awarded through April 2012 are posted on the GeoResearch website. 


Dr. Piers Chapman (OCNG) attended a meeting of the BP Gulf of Mexico research groups on May 9 to discuss outreach to the New Orleans community. The research groups will be working with Texas Sea Grant in their outreach activities. Cruises related to the research award will start at the end of June.




Gov. Rick Perry has appointed Dr. Christopher C. Mathewson(G&G) of College Station to the Texas Board of Professional Geoscientists. The board licenses and regulates the public practice of geoscience.


Mathewson is a Regents professor emeritus and a senior professor of geology at Texas A&M University. He is a licensed professional engineer in Texas and Arizona, and a licensed professional geologist in Texas and Oregon. He joins a nine-member board, and his term is until Feb. 1, 2017.



Dr. Robert Duce (ATMO) chaired the Committee of Visitors for the research programs of the Division of Ocean Sciences at the National Science Foundation June 4 and 5.


Dr. Lisa Campbell (OCNG) was re-elected to the ASLO (Association for the Sciences of Limnology and Oceanography) Board of Directors as secretary for a three-year term (July 2012-June 2015). 




Oceanography doctoral student Yang Feng and Drs. Steven DiMarco and George Jackson (OCNG) have a paper in press in Geophysical Research Letters, "Relative role of wind forcing and riverine nutrient input."  




Dr. Norman Guinasso (OCNG) discussed his work studying oil and gas seeps near BP's Macando Well in the Gulf of Mexico in an article published in The Louisiana Weekly on May 14. It was also posted on The Huffington Post.


Dr. Steve Quiring (GEOG) and graduate students Chris Labosier and Laiyin Zhu published an op-ed piece in The Houston Chronicle arguing that budget cuts are threatening vital research on Texas hurricanes.


Dr. Will Sager (OCNG) lent his astronomy expertise to The Eagle to discuss the eclipse of the Sun by Venus on June 5. He discusses his interest in astronomy and the best way to view the eclipse as it happens.


Dr. John Kessler (OCNG) was cited in the British edition of Wired magazine for his work on the aftermath of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.


Dr. Andrew Dessler (ATMO) was quoted in The New York Times on the question of clouds and their potential affect on global warming, the last bastion against accepting climate change for skeptics in the scientific community. He was also cited for his work on the positive feedback cycle in climate change caused by water vapor in a ScienceDaily article marking the tenth anniversary of the launching of NASA's Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS) satellite. Dr. Dessler is also participating in the climate communications initiative, a project that seeks the most effective way to communicate climate science news.


Dr. Mark Lemmon (ATMO) discussed with several news outlets the August landing on Mars of the rover Curiosity which will study climate change on the red planet as well as whether Mars ever had conditions favorable to life.


Dr. Robert Korty (ATMO) discussed the potential shift in wildfires from Texas to the Western United States with Reuters in an article on He also discussed the potential of volcanoes to diminish hurricanes for a Nashville news outlet




Master's degree student Victor Garcia of the Water Degree Program will intern in Washington, D.C. this summer for the Green Strategy Committee of the Peace Corps as part of Texas A&M's Public Policy Internship Program.


Harold E. Johnson III (G&G) and Stephanie Grotte (GEOG) each received a George Bush Presidential Library Foundation Grant. Johnson will use his grant to collect samples in the Ouachita orogen in Arkansas.  


Grotte is now in Belize as part of her travel grant, studying the abundance, micro-habitat and diet of lionfish around the Turneffe Atoll. 


The award supports students' travel to conferences, research projects or internships, either in the United States or abroad. The College of Geosciences makes the selection based on academic record to help young scholars advance their research.  


Calendar items are posted on the College of Geosciences' Facebook page.


Wednesday, July 4

University holiday


The next issue is in early July. Please submit items of general interest to the College to Karen Riedel.   
 Featured Articles
Message from the dean 
GeoX 2012
Costa Rica REU 
Grants update 


 and Programs