Alumni Update - 1980s

Gail Bakker (B.S., 1985)  After graduating from UCSC, I worked for the Santa Clara Valley Water District for a few years, then got a Masters Degree in Water Resources Engineering from Stanford. After that, I got married, moved to Grass Valley, California and worked for several environmental consulting firms doing hydrogeology for over twenty years. I still live in Grass Valley with my husband, Bob Husk, and two cats. I now work for the Forest Service as a hydrologist (the Forest Service doesn't really know what a hydrogeologist is). I evaluate the impacts of proposed Forest Service projects on local hydrology and do the odd CERCLA landfill or mine site on occasion. I love that all of my projects are in the forest and not on active or abandoned industrial sites.

Laurie Green (nee Brown - and yes, I do get the humor of that, M.S., 1980)  So far (30 years and counting), it's been an endlessly interesting career. I have worked in the US and internationally for a major, an independent and several consulting companies on oil exploration and development projects. For the past 6 years I have been with Hess, first as a geoscientist modeling deepwater Gulf of Mexico fields and more recently as a technology and planning manager. Some of the highlights have been technical work on Kuwait's reparation claims after the first Gulf War, expatriate stints in Russia and Malaysia, and lots of time in South America where the geology is fascinating, the people are great and the food and wine are terrific. The lowlight of course was the bust of the mid-80's, when work was scarce and my family was growing. Even that turned out well, though, as it forced me out of a predictable path with a major and led to a varied and fulfilling career. One marriage, two kids and several dogs later, the oil patch is still where I want to be. I knew from age 12 that I would be a geologist, and you and UCSC helped tremendously to make that happen. Thanks from a grateful slug!

Kathy Campbell (B.S., 1989) is a paleontology professor at the University of Auckland, New Zealand. Current research projects include life in extreme (paleo)environments – marine hydrocarbon seeps (Hikurangi, Cascadia and Chilean margins) and terrestrial hot springs (Quaternary Taupo Volcanic Zone and Jurassic of Argentinean Patagonia) – and trace fossils as high resolution paleoenvironmental indicators. Kathy recently received the Hochstetter Lecturer award by the Geosciences Society of New Zealand.

Jeff Cauhape (B.A., 1983)  Well, it's been an interesting 29 years... I'll just summarize it by saying that after discovering my talent was in software, life became more pleasant. I worked for IBM, and am a Staff Software Engineer in the Information Management Division. I work from home doing advanced support for our connectivity tools. Home is a tree shaded acre of land in the Eastern foothills of the Carson Valley, just East of Lake Tahoe. My wife, daughter, and I moved here in January from Truckee, CA, and since then have added chickens, fruit trees, and a raised bed garden to the place. We hope to have a corral in place by the end of September. We have found this area to be amazingly friendly, and feel more connected to the local community already than we have at any other place we have lived.

Lisa Dierauf (B.S., 1987) is working as the Community Outreach Coordinator for the City of Boulder's Open Space and Mountain Parks Department. She has been with the city for 17 years.

Judith Fierstein (B.S., 1980; M.S., 1989)  I'm still a geologist with the USGS Volcano Science Center in Menlo Park (it's been 31 years!). I have been mapping volcanic fields in Alaska, Washington, Oregon, California, and Chile, with the aim of detailing their eruptive histories in a well-constrained time-stratigraphic context. Current projects include Three Sisters volcanoes in Oregon, the Simcoe Mountain volcanic field in Washington, and Mammoth Mountain and vicinity in California. Another focus of mine are explosive eruptions and their tephra deposits, including emplacement and eruption dynamics. Current projects include the 1912 eruption of Novarupta and the Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes, AK; Newberry caldera in Oregon, and post-glacial silicic tephra (deposited in Argentina) from Laguna del Maule volcanic field (located in Chile). Keeps me busy and in the field a lot---I love it!

Richard Gunderson (B.S., 1981; M.S., 1983)  I've been working in the geothermal business since finishing my MS in 1983. I worked for Unocal for 22 years until Chevron bought us out in 2005. I then consulted for a few years, but just recently rejoined Chevron since most of my consulting work was for them anyway. I'm currently living in Jakarta, Indonesia with my wife and son. One of my daughters is at UCLA and the other finished with college a couple of years ago, so they are both living on their own in California still (sorry, no additional slugs in the family so far). Over the years I've worked in the western US, Mexico, Central America, South America, Alaska, the Philippines, Indonesia, New Zealand, Kenya, and Turkey, so there has been a little travel involved! I've worked with fellow geo-slugs Gregg Nordquist, Mitch Stark, and Mark Mosby for many years at Unocal/Chevron, and I have crossed paths with a few others in the geothermal industry (Bob Creede, Will Osborne, Bob Daniel to name a few). Gregg, Mark, Mitch, and I have had a hand in discovering and developing some of the largest geothermal fields in the world...primarily here in Indonesia, but also in the Philippines and California. And we're all still beavering away, at least for a few more years, looking for more. I hope that all is well in the ES department. I came to town for an ES reunion a few years ago...went on a field trip up the coast with Gerry, threw the softball with Alan Allwardt, and visited some with Dan Sampson and others from the late 70'-early 80's. It was a nice reunion, and I hope I can come back again for another one when I'm back in northern California in the spring.

Patrick Hogan (B.S., 1983) I’ve been with NASA for the past twenty years. Came onboard as hydrogeologist (RG) to defend Ames Research Center against implication in the Mountain View, Middlefield-Ellis-Whisman (MEW) Superfund plume (TCE). Though I hung up my guns on that one some years ago and took on management of NASA Learning Technologies (working on ways to get NASA content into the classroom which led to the pleasure of getting to know Ed Landesman, former Math ‘Chair’ at UCSC.). As a result, for the past nine years have been managing the World Wind project, infrastructure for spatial data, software technology that provides fully navigable 3D access to global data (just like Google Earth only open source). You can see it here,, though this site does a better job,

Dave Longstreth, (B.S., 1988)  I took an enjoyable introductory course of yours in 1988 about plate tectonics. I researched and wrote an essay about the planet Mars and how the lack of water makes the planet tectonically dead. Perhaps I was wrong about the water? I graduated that year and went to graduate school at SUNY Stony Brook where I left after a year (no mountains). I worked in Southern California as an engineering geologist for about 11 years before returning to Northern California (Mendocino County) where I work for the State of California as an Engineering Geologist. I work for the California Geological Survey but am contracted out to Cal Fire where I evaluate the potential for post fire debris sliding and other emergencies of geologic nature. My son will be a freshman this fall at Rachel Carson College. Further proof that the apple doesn't fall from the tree. He is excited and so am I, but will miss having him around.

G. Leigh Lyons, (B.A., 1984)  I spent most of my career in the oil and natural gas business, and most of that working and living in South America (where I grew up). I moved back to the U.S. after five years in Bolivia in 2005 and started a consulting business, helping high risk investors start companies, primarily in the energy sector. When things went south with the economy, so did my business. I started writing. Much to my surprise, I finished several books, landed a legendary agent in New York, and sold my first book to the same publisher in London that brought us the Harry Potter series (same editor in fact). I now write full-time - adventure stories for younger readers. "Avery McShane and the Silver Spurs' will hit the bookshelves the first week of January. My website: I (sort of) maintain several blogs about my writing experience, about growing up as a Third Culture Kid, and even one about my Avery McShane character.

Ken Manatt (B.S., 1987) is alive and well. I have traveled a little to Croatia, Madagascar, Kazakstan. I am employed enough to pay the bills.

Cathryn Newton (Ph.D., 1983)  I completed an eight-year term as Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences (Syracuse University), in which we created tremendous new facilities for both the Natural Sciences (including a 230,000 sq ft Life Sciences Complex) and the Humanities (a gorgeous restoration of an Archimedes Russell building that had originally been built to house the papers of eminent historian Leopold von Ranke). On research leave, I began a serious book project that will be complete early in 2012.

Larry O’Hanlon (B.S., 1987) has recently taken on the job of Communications & Public Programs Offficer for the W.M. Keck Observatory on Mauna Kea, in Hawaii. That's after 12 years as a freelance science writer, primarily on contract handling Earth science content for Discovery News.

Chris Obert  (B.A., 1982)  Chris is still into oil, he just has it under his fingernails! Chris's hobby of repairing Fiat automobiles has turned him into a local Santa Cruz businessman. He started a company that ended up being the largest Fiat parts distributor in North America. He now splits his time between working in the mail order business and in his shop restoring Fiats for clients from all over the world. He spends his spare time racing automobiles, doing car & business related stuff, and enjoying his garden. His two kids are now off in college.

Michael Ort, (B.S., 1984)  I am still a professor at Northern Arizona University, and study volcanoes using field work, paleomagnetism, and geochemistry. Current projects are in Ecuador, Bolivia, Mexico, Italy, Arizona, and the eastern Aleutians. In the eastern Aleutians, I am working with another Slug, Jessica Faust Larsen. Still married to Nancy Riggs, another geology prof at NAU. We have one daughter in high school.

Curtis Payton (B.S., 1986)  Working as a technical lead and geologist for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Deploying for a 2 week Dam assessment tour in Afghanistan in September that will involve inventory of six dams for current engineering geology conditions, geologic hazards, earth materials used for construction, potential design flaws with respect to geologic conditions, and potential borrow sources. Just completed a 90-day assignment as Acting Chief of the Geology Section for the Sacramento District. Currently technical lead for hazardous/ toxic, waste issues for the Napa River / Napa Creek levee improvement and flood protection projects. Also team lead for Sacramento District waste soil characterization for hazardous/toxic potential contaminants of concern during levee repair and/or reconstruction. Continue to make an annual trek to Santa Cruz to enjoy the Shakespeare festival.

Victoria Pease (B.S., 1983)  Some 30 years on (eek!) from my UCSC undergrad degree, I am Prof. of Tectonics & Magmatism at the Dept of Geological Sciences, Stockholm University, Sweden. My research today builds on what I learned as an undergrad at UCSC and the skills I developed beginning with my undergrad thesis project. I currently have 2 principal projects on the tectonic evolution of the Red Sea region and Circum-Arctic Lithosphere Evolution.

Mark Reagan (Ph.D., 1987)  I am now the Department Executive Officer (Chair) of the Department of Geoscience at the University of Iowa.

Jim Sample, (Ph.D., 1988)  I’m a full professor at Northern Arizona University. Mary and I have been here about ten years. Recently our department merged with environmental to form the School of Earth Sciences and Environmental Sustainability (quite a mouthful!). We are starting a new PhD program in the school and will be looking for some good students to start next fall, so pass the word. I love teaching geology at NAU. We have a few rocks around, although most of my work is closer to or in the ocean realm.

Jonathan Schmuck, (B.S., 1986)  Johnathon was awarded the first Fulbright Scholarship to attend the Canberra School of Art, in Australia, where he completed his postgraduate studies Glassmaking, and received a Master of Visual Arts (MVA) degree in 2000. Johnathon was fortunate enough to work with Klaus Moje while the Roll Up technique for blowing kiln-formed glass was being perfected in the Glass Workshop at Canberra. Johnathon also had chance to learn coldworking with maestro Stephen Procter, and he has subsequently written The Joy of Coldworking, a book about grinding, smoothing, and polishing blown and fused glass. Johnathon has a studio on the westside of Santa Cruz, and he runs the kiln-forming program at the Bay Area Glass Institute ( in San Jose. He has taught glassmaking at Corning, Espace Verre in Montreal, Oatka Glass School, Escuela del Vidrio in la Granja, Spain, Pittsburgh Glass Center, Wired Designs in San Antonio, Texas, and throughout the United States. His website is

Gerald Weber (Ph.D., 1980)  So far this fall I've been mostly getting body parts replaced...lens in right eye, new right knee. Despite this I'm continuing to work as a consultant, giving occasional lectures to classes at UCSC and working on coastal erosion stuff. Still running raft trips in the late summer on the Green and trying to spend time in Africa. Taking art classes and spend a fair amount of time drawing. If you get to SC give me a call and let’s grab a beer.

George L. Williams (B.S., 1985) From 1985-1998 I provided geo-environmental consulting (groundwater & soil remediation services) for firms in San Jose and Los Angeles, and later provided corporate environmental affairs services at Boeing during that timeframe. I decided to get out of the Hazardous Waste business though and get into the cleaner less hazardous Information Technology workplace in 1999. I have been caught in the unemployment bust for the last few years. I was working as a contract IT Project Manager with Boeing’s Shared Services Group (SSG) in Seattle when I was laid off in January 2009. I have been essentially unemployed since then. I offer my services as a self-employed contractor in Geographic Information Systems (GIS), Database & Business Intelligence Services, and Business Process Improvement (ISO 9000, CQI, and other quality improvement processes -