FIELD Project


The “FIELD” (Fieldwork Inspiring Expanded Leadership for Diversity) project will make field activity in the geosciences more accessible and inclusive by equipping field leaders with perspectives and skills to recognize and reduce common barriers in field settings. The project team will convene an immersive leadership development institute for field scientists to engage in practical skills training (e.g., bystander intervention, managing cross-cultural relationships) and collaboratively develop new approaches that can be implemented in their own field experiences. We hope in the long term to reduce the exclusionary nature of field culture.

The FIELD Project is a three-year NSF funded project including PIs from nine institutions. The goal of the project is to understand the nature of field culture, understand how field activity can be exclusionary, and to explore potential solutions.



Project Staff

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Gillian Bowser

co-PI of the FIELD Project

Colorado State University

Gillian Bowser is a research Scientist at the Natural Resource Ecology Laboratory. Her experience includes AAAS Fellow (2011-2012) in science and diplomacy (Department of State) Office of Marine Conservation; Fulbright specialist La Molina University, Lima Peru. Prior to joining Colorado State University, Dr. Bowser was an ecologist and wildlife biologist or the National Park Service working at seven different national parks including Yellowstone, Tetons, Joshua Tree and Wrangel St. Elias National Parks.

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Peggy Fong

co-PI of the FIELD Project


Peggy Fong is a marine ecologist who’s research lies at the intersection of community and ecosystem ecology with an overarching goal to use basic knowledge gained from innovative research to inform conservation and restoration of habitats and communities in a changing world. She wass a first generation college graduate that came from an economically challenged background. She has taught UCLA’s Marine Biology Quarter (MBQ), a quarter long field experience for undergraduate students, since 1996. During that time, she transformed the experience from a largely academic program to an intensive research experience that often results in publications with students as first authors. Since 2013, she has been a co-PI on The Diversity Project, a summer field research experience modeled on the MBQ but focused on students from partnering HBCU’s. Among other teaching awards, she has received the University-wide Distinguished Teaching award for mentoring undergraduate research and the Division of Life Sciences Award for her work in DEI at UCLA.

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Mary Hubbard

co-PI of the FIELD Project

Montana State University

Mary Hubbard is a structural geologist with interests in the tectonics of mountain belts. Her field sites include the Himalaya, the Alps, the Southern Alps, the Mauritanides, the Congo/Kalahari craton areas of Namibia, the Appalachians, and the Rocky Mountains. She has served as Department Head at both Kansas State University and Montana State University. She is a former Dean of the College of Science and Vice Provost of Global Engagement at Utah State University. Her current field research is centered on the faults, hazards in eastern Nepal. She has led or co-led student field experiences at multiple institutions and in overseas settings. In 2017 she served as a Fulbright Specialist at Tribhuvan University in Kathmandu.

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Anne-Marie Nunez

co-PI of the FIELD Project

The Ohio State University

Anne-Marie Nuñez, an associate professor in Higher Education and Student Affairs at The Ohio State University, employs sociological approaches to explore how diverse higher education institutional types, linkages between K-12 and postsecondary education systems, and scientific disciplinary cultures structure equitable postsecondary educational opportunities for historically underserved groups in education.

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Darrin Pagnac

co-PI of the FIELD Project

South Dakota School of Mines and Technology

Darrin Pagnac is a vertebrate paleontologist, specializing in the development of Miocene terrestrial ecosystems, horse evolution, and the use of field settings and paleontology in STEM endeavors. He has worked at the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology since 2006. Every summer Darrin spends a significant amount of time in field settings around the western United States conducting field research or education. Darrin has oculocutaneous albinism, is legally blind, and has no pigment in his eyes or skin, making field work challenging. Despite these limitations, he adores the field and the outdoors.

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Julie Posselt

co-PI of the FIELD Project

University of Southern California

Julie Posselt is Assistant Professor of Education at the University of Southern California and a National Academy of Education/ Spencer Foundation postdoctoral fellow. Her research examines organizational behavior and institutionalized inequalities in graduate education, STEM fields, and the professoriate. Posselt is the author of Inside Graduate Admissions: Merit, Diversity, and Faculty Gatekeeping (Harvard University Press, 2015), an ethnographic comparative study of faculty decision making in doctoral admissions. Her research is also published in the American Educational Research Journal, Journal of Higher Education, Research in Higher Education, and Chronicle of Higher Education, among others. Her work has been funded by the US Department of Education, Spencer Foundation, Mellon Foundation, and National Science Foundation. Posselt was the 2017 recipient of Early Career Award from the Association for the Study of Higher Education.

Jule has the privilege of conducting ethnographic fieldwork to describe the culture of learning and research in geoscience field experiences, and how cultural norms and everyday interactions in the field create conditions that may inspire engagement and/or marginalize underrepresented groups. The first phase of this research, undertaken in 2017, involved observing a graduate-level geoscience field course over five weeks, and the results will guide the design of the 2018 FIELD Institute. In 2019, Julie will observe a field course led by one of the FIELD Institute participants.

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Wendy F. Smythe

co-PI of the FIELD Project


Wendy F. Smythe, Ph.D. is a first year AAAS Science & Technology Policy Fellow in the Directorate for Education & Human Resources (EHR) in the Division of Human Research on Learning (DRL). She comes to NSF after completing a two-year postdoctoral fellowship at NSF funded STC BEACON Center for the Study of Evolution in Action located at Michigan State University where she started the Native America-Alaska Native Institute. She is a geoscientist/oceanographer that studies microbial communities and their influence on the environment from metalliferous extreme groundwater ecosystems. Wendy is Alaska Native Haida, from Hydaburg, Alaska and works with Indigenous communities to couple STEM with Traditional Ecological Knowledge in K-12 education to increase the number of indigenous people represented in STEM disciplines, increase diversity and innovation, and to teach the next generation of Native leaders. Dr. Smythe is also on the board of directors for Xaada Kil Kuyaas Foundation a 501(c)3 the strives to promote, preserve, and perpetuate the Haida language.

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Lisa D. White

co-PI of the FIELD Project

University of California Museum of Paleontology

Lisa White is Director of Education at the Museum of Paleontology at the University of California, Berkeley. She previously held positions of Professor of Geosciences and Associate Dean of the College of Science and Engineering at San Francisco State University. A micropaleontologist by training, she holds a PhD in Earth Sciences from University of California at Santa Cruz and a BA in Geology from San Francisco State University. Active in efforts to diversity the geosciences, Lisa trains and guides underrepresented students in wide-ranging field-based geoscience learning experiences. As the education director at the UC Museum of Paleontology, Lisa develops and disseminates learning materials on evolution and the fossil record, global climate change, and the nature and process of science.

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Carolyn Brinkworth

Collaborator on the FIELD Project


Carolyn Brinkworth is the Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer for the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR), based in Boulder, CO. Carolyn holds a PhD in Astrophysics and a MA in Education, is on three of the GOLD project teams, and is PI on a funded NSF INCLUDES program bringing together indigenous communities and Western scientists to conduct research projects that address issues of mutual concern around climate change and severe weather events. Carolyn serves on the AGU Task Force for Diversity and Inclusion, on the AMS Board of Women and Minorities, and on the AURA Workforce and Diversity Committee.


This page last updated 21 Aug 2019 - 9:08am