Brandywine professor honored with national STEM award

Professor of Earth Science Laura Guertin

Professor of Earth Science Laura Guertin teaches young women about hydrographic surveying at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C.

Credit: Penn State

Penn State Brandywine Professor of Earth Science Laura Guertin has been selected to receive the INSIGHT Into Diversity 2015 Inspiring Women in STEM Award. Guertin is one of only 100 women who will be honored in the September issue of INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine for inspiring young women to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

“I was completely shocked. I had to reread it a couple of times,” Guertin said about the moment she was notified that she had won. “There are so many women out there that are doing incredible things relating to STEM. To be selected as one of only 100 is really amazing.”

A member of the campus since 2001, Guertin continuously looks for fresh and fun ways to teach students about Earth science by incorporating new technology into the classroom. As a mentor, Guertin’s influence is extensive. She works closely with undergraduates on independent research projects, often sparking students’ passion for science.

“It’s important that young women be introduced to STEM careers as a possibility,” she said. “There are a lot of opportunities out there. Geology was something that was never introduced to me in grades K through 12. I never took Earth science in high school so I never considered geology as a career. It wasn’t until I had my first course in college.” 

A major advocate of community outreach and “citizen science,” Guertin shares her thoughts and news related to science on several social media platforms. Along with sharing content on her personal blog and Twitter account, Guertin is the author of GeoEd Trek on the American Geophysical Union Blogosphere.

United States Senator Patrick Toomey recently recognized Guertin for fieldwork she conducted with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). She voyaged to sections of the Atlantic Ocean to conduct a research mission as part of NOAA’s Teacher at Sea Program. Guertin shared her experience with students and community members on NOAA’s blog

“There’s a stereotype that exists for who and what a scientist is,” she said. “It’s important that young women can identify with other women in STEM fields. Hopefully awards like this will teach young women not to doubt themselves. They can do this and be successful.”