Meet the Instructors
Tim Bralower, Professor of Geosciences, College of Earth and Mineral Sciences, Penn State University.
Tim Bralower was born in Armonk, NY but moved to London at the age of four. London in the 1960s often had thick smog due to the use of coal for heating, and Tim remembers his father walking along the side of the car on a foggy night to help his mother steer it through the streets. Tim attended Oxford University and received a BA in Earth Science. Weather was a big factor in his choice of graduate school, so Tim followed his undergraduate degree with a PhD in Earth Science at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California San Diego. Although a classically trained marine geologist, Tim’s specialty is calcareous nannoplankton, a group of marine plankton that leave an exquisite fossil record. The nannoplankton allows us to tell time or date ancient sediments back to 225 million years ago, and, in addition, inform us about environments in the past. Recently, Tim has focused his research on ancient time periods when the climate warmed rapidly. In particular, he is interested in what happens to life during these episodes. The motivation for this research is to predict what will happen in the future as the ocean continues to heat up. He is also interested in mass extinction, in particular, the same event 65 million years ago that led to the demise of the dinosaurs, which almost eradicated the nannoplankton. The extinction and subsequent recovery of life in the ocean give us a worst-case scenario for how modern plankton may respond to drastic environmental change.
Tim started his academic career as an Assistant Professor at Florida International University in Miami before moving to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where he rose through the academic ranks to become Chair of the Department of Geological Sciences. Tim moved to Penn State in 2003 and was Head of the Department of Geosciences for a total of 9.5 years. Tim’s research has taken him for fieldwork in Italy, much of the Western US, the Andes, and five ocean drilling expeditions. He recently served as a micropaleontologist on a rig that was set up to drill the Chicxulub crater off the coast of Mexico.
SPRING AND SUMMER SEMESTERS
Dinah Maygarden, M.A., Research Associate, Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of New Orleans
Dinah Maygarden, Research Associate and Director of Coastal Education Program in the Pontchartrain Institute for Environmental Sciences at the University of New Orleans, received a B.Sc. from the University of Wales and an M.A., in Science Teaching from the University of New Orleans. Dinah has worked in these and other capacities for more than 20 years at UNO. Her work focuses on developing educational programs and materials to increase understanding of Louisiana’s coastal zone. By working closely with research faculty and utilizing the assets of UNO’s Coastal Education and Research Facility (CERF), Dinah brings real-world, relevant problem-based learning to K-12 and college students, teachers, and community members through field-based workshops. She has worked with fellow authors on the development of the Earth 107 materials and teaches the online course at Penn State and UNO.