Meet Dr. Martha

Hi! I’m Dr. Martha. I’m excited to make your acquaintance and help you keep the science alive wherever you are in your journey with kids! You might have some questions about me. Here are some answers.

Are you really a doctor? I am! I have a Doctorate of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Geology. I’m not a medical doctor, I’m a rock doctor! 

Why are you qualified to talk about all science if your speciality is Geology? Geology is incredible! The word “geology” means study of the earth and comes from the Greek “geo” meaning earth and “logos” treaty or knowledge. Geologists study processes in and on the earth and throughout the solar system. If you think about it…that’s a really broad field of study…every process that affects Earth or the solar system falls into the science of geology. These processes may be chemical, biological, or physical and they all depend on math, too. Therefore, Chemistry, biology, physics, and math are all components of geology; they all work in concert to make Earth “work.” If you love all areas of science, maybe you should think about becoming a geologist!

What are your degrees in, Dr. Martha? I have a Bachelor of Arts in Geology, Cum Laude, from Lawrence University, a Masters of Science in Structural Geology from University of Connecticut, and a Ph.D. in Metamorphic Petrology from Indiana University.

Structural geologists study how rocks bend (called folding), break (called faulting), and smoosh (highly technical term!) due to forces within the earth. This field of study relies heavily on math and physics. Metamorphic petrologists study the chemical reactions that occur as rocks change in response to changing temperature and pressure within the earth. This field of study relies heavily on chemistry and physics and incorporates biology and math, too. Yes, I took Physical Chemistry and actually enjoyed it. Yes, I’m a total nerd! (pssst….being a nerd is actually really fun).

Are you qualified to teach? Yup! I was a tenure-track Assistant Professor of Geology at the State University of New York at Oneonta before my twins were born. I taught classes at all levels and advised undergraduate and graduate students in independent research projects. Before that I was a Visiting Assistant Professor of Geology at Indiana University. Whether being a professor makes me qualified to teach, eh…I dunno. But my students learned what I taught and were able to apply it. I think that matters the most.

Why do you focus on teaching young kids science? Young kids are natural scientists, just listen to them asking hundreds of questions each day! (I know, I have two of them…). They make great observations with all their senses and they don’t have a lot of world experience yet so they don’t jump to interpretations before making observations. Sometime during the growing up years, kids shed these natural scientist tendencies and then need to be re-taught how to be scientists! What if we could help kids hold on to the natural ability to make observations, unclouded by jumping to conclusions? What if we could encourage them to continue to ask questions and teach them how to look for the answers in a scientifically robust way? What if we want more science infused in our daily lives? Well, we can achieve that and I’m here to show you how and to make it easier!

Where is Dr. Martha’s Science Lab? It’s on YouTube! Come on over and watch! In Dr. Martha’s Science Lab, I use hands-on experiments to answer science questions. Have a science question? Ask me now and your question can be featured in a demonstration on YouTube!

Periodically, I’ll do free, in-person science demos. If you’re in the Reno-Tahoe area, text LOCAL to (775) 312-6651 to get text alerts when I do events!

Do you have a question I haven’t answered? Just ask!

Let’s get our science on!


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