Geology & Diplomacy

For Fathers Day, Kelsey Suemnicht invited her Dad, Gene Suemnicht, to co-host an episode combining their passions of Geology and Diplomacy!


“We’re not going to meet [global] challenges effectively, if we’re ignoring 50% of the population.”

— Dad


Check out our amazing panel of women working at the forefront of Geology and Diplomacy:

LORI BETTISON-VARGA, PhD, served six years as President and W.M. Keck Foundation Presidential Chair at Scripps College in Claremont, California. There, she enhanced the visibility of the college, implemented policies to foster greater transparency and community engagement, initiated strategic planning for diversity and sustainability, and inaugurated a comprehensive capital campaign. She is now President and Director of the Los Angeles County Natural History Family of Museums in October 2015. She oversees NHMLA in Exposition Park, the La Brea Tar Pits and Museum in Hancock Park, and the William S. Hart Museum in Newhall. Her immediate goals include advancing the outreach and education around urban nature and citizen science, as well as the re-imagining of the La Brea Tar Pits and Museum, where visitors can make connections between Ice Age Los Angeles 50,000 years ago, and climate change today.


MELODY BROWN BURKINS, PhD, is the Associate Director for Programs and Research in the John Sloan Dickey Center for International Understanding and Adjunct Professor in the Environmental Studies Program at Dartmouth College. She earned a B.S. in geology at Yale University and both her M.S. and Ph.D. at Dartmouth College, focusing her doctoral studies in earth and ecosystem studies of the Antarctic Dry Valleys. With over twenty years of experience in both academia and government, Dr. Burkins is an advocate for policy-engaged scholarship across disciplines, international education and partnerships, creating new opportunities for academics and professionals in science policy and diplomacy, and the support of global initiatives investing in gender equity, earth systems sustainability, and civic leadership. She serves as Chair of the US National Committee to the International Union of Geological Sciences, and is a member of the Board on International Scientific Organizations of the National Academies.


BRIDGET AYLING, PhD, works at the University of Nevada, Reno, where she is the Director of the Great Basin Center for Geothermal Energy and an Associate Professor with the Nevada Bureau of Mines and Geology. She is originally from New Zealand, and pursued paleoclimatic studies in her home country and in Australia during her undergraduate and PhD degrees. After completing her PhD in 2006, new government funding for geothermal projects in Australia sparked her interest. At a career crossroads between continuing with paleoclimatic studies or pursuing geothermal, she chose geothermal and hasn’t looked back! Bridget spent 10 years working for Geoscience Australia, largely on geothermal and then unconventional oil and gas projects after Australia’s geothermal sector collapsed.


GENE SUEMNICHT has been the Chief Geologist at EGS Consulting Inc. since January 2009 and also serves as its Chief Executive Officer. Gene has previously worked with Unocal, Ormat Technologies, IT Corporation and MacTec Engineering & Consulting. He has more than 40 years of professional experience in geothermal exploration and development throughout the western United States, Canada, Central and South America, Europe, the Middle East and Asia and has been the technical lead or project manager for multiphase projects ranging from geothermal resource assessments and investigations to environmental remediation. He has served on the Board of Directors for the Geothermal Resources Council since January 2014.  He is a registered Geologist and a Registered Environmental Assessor and holds a Certification, Site Assessment and Remediation, from the University of California, Davis. Mr. Suemnicht earned an M.S. in Geology from the University of Arizona and a B.S. in Education (Geology, Chemistry) from Southern Oregon University. Gene Suemnicht was selected as the 2015 recipient of the Aidlin Award for outstanding contributions to the development of geothermal resources.

Featured Photo: Kelsey with her father, Gene, near the San Andreas Fault, at Point Reyes National Seashore