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EAR Announces Staff Changes, Summer 2018

EAR Staff Changes

Ileana Cortes Santiago, Sonia Esperanca, Margaret Fraiser, and Steven Whitmeyer


July 24, 2018

The Division of Earth Sciences (EAR) welcomes a Hispanic Association of Colleges & Universities (HACU) intern, acting section head and two new program directors.

Ileana Cortes Santiago, HACU intern and experienced educator, has been recognized as a community leader for engagement initiatives with Latinos/as and immigrant families. Cortes Santiago served as interim program director of Purdue University’s Butler Center for Leadership Excellence and language coordinator for STEM@LAD at Sacred Heart University in Puerto Rico. She specializes in literacy teacher education from a justice-oriented framework, community engagement and advocacy, the intersection of education and immigration and English-language learning across disciplines. She holds a Ph.D. in Literacy and Language Education with a specialization in K-12 Teaching English Language Learners from Purdue University.

Sonia Esperanca, acting Integrative Activities section head, was born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. She previously held academic appointments at Northwestern, Old Dominion, Monash and Deakin Universities (Australia) and University of Maryland-College Park. She came to NSF in 1996, first as a rotator and later as a program director for Petrology and Geochemistry. In 2014, Esperanca served as EAR’s acting division director. Esperanca received a B.A. in Geology from Rice University, M.Sc. in Earth Sciences from Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Ph.D. in Geology from Arizona State University.

Margaret Fraiser, program director for Sedimentary Geology and Paleobiology, joins the division from the Department of Geosciences at University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Fraiser serves as an adjunct curator in the Department of Geology at the Milwaukee Public Museum. Her research focuses on the ecological response to environmental changes in Earth’s past, and her team conducts global field work to understand how marine invertebrates responded to the late Paleozoic Ice Age and Permo-Triassic mass extinction. She received a Ph.D. and M.S. in Geological Sciences from University of Southern California and B.S. in Geology from University of Georgia.

Steven Whitmeyer, program director for Tectonics, joins the Division of Earth Sciences from the Department of Geology and Environmental Science at James Madison University in Harrisonburg, VA. As Professor of Structural Geology and Tectonics, he studies and teaches structural geology, tectonics, digital mapping techniques and geoscience education. Whitmeyer's field course in western Ireland breaks down barriers to participation in field-based learning through the development of inclusive communities of learning and the strategic use of cellular technologies. He received a Ph.D. in Earth Sciences from Boston University and B.S. in Geology with honors from University of New Hampshire. 


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