Lamont Alumni Association

Greetings from the Alumni Board President

Hello Lamont Alumni and Friends!

Welcome to the webpage of the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory Alumni Association. New to the page is a feature called alumni “spotlights.” The goal of the spotlights is to highlight and celebrate the various careers Lamont alumni have pursued. It will also be a place where current Lamont graduate students can explore the many possible career paths open to them. The Alumni Board is collaborating with the NSF-funded Lamont INSPIRE program to significantly increase the number of alumni contributions to this section. Please consider providing us with a spotlight by filling out this form.

Along with our work on the spotlights, the Alumni Board continues to facilitate the Alumni Distinguished Lecture Series. We returned to an in-person Distinguished Lecture visit in fall 2022, with Dr. Mike Coffin (PhD ‘85), one of our own Board members, engaging Lamonters with his Friday colloquium talk on “Subduction Initiation Along the Macquarie Ridge Complex, Southwest Pacific Ocean.” Mike also met with students during lunch on the Lamont campus and met with many staff members. If you missed Mike’s lecture, you can view it here.

In December, we also returned to an in-person Lamont reception in Chicago as part of the fall American Geophysical Union meeting. At this well-attended event, Lamont Director Maureen Raymo toasted the many former Lamont students and staff who were receiving AGU’s highest honors, including Ana Christina RaveloSue TrumboreDennis KentRoger Bilham, and me.

We have had two Board retirements this past year. We would like to thank Mike Perfit and Mike Rawson for their years of service to Lamont by engaging in Board activities.

Please contact me, or any other Board member, if you have any ideas for ways in which the Board could enhance the engagement of Lamont alums.


Ellen S. Kappel (PhD 1985)

Alumni Association Board of Directors

Alumni Spotlights

Would you like to be featured in an Alumni Spotlight? Complete the Alumni Spotlight survey form!

Tianxia Jia

I finished my PhD at Lamont in 2011 in geophysics under the supervision of Art Lerner-Lam. After completing five years of research in seismology, including deploying seismometers in Manhattan and Charleston, and studying earthquakes in Italy, I wanted to see how industry uses geophysics. I moved to Houston, Texas, and joined BP. During my eight years at BP, I had the opportunity to work on some of the industry's largest deepwater oil fields and see the whole lifecycle of the upstream business, from exploration to appraisal to production, to conducting seismic data acquisition, to processing and interpretation. I then led the data science and analytics team, providing digital transformation solutions to the North America upstream business. In 2020, I joined Amazon Web Services. As a senior data scientist, I am helping global enterprises in the energy, retail, and entertainment industries through their digital journey by building artificial intelligence and machine learning solutions on the cloud. In my spare time, I love to travel around the world and I am also a huge basketball and soccer fan. I am married with two sons. I am looking forward to connecting with all Lamonters!

Miriam Marlier,

I have always been interested in exploring the different ways that people can impact their environment and the implications for human health. My PhD research at Lamont examined connections between land use change, fire activity, and air pollution exposure in tropical regions, under the guidance of Dr. Ruth DeFries. After finishing in 2014, I continued with a postdoctoral position in the Ecology, Evolution, and Environmental Biology (E3B) department at Columbia as well as the Geography department at UCLA. Each of these positions allowed me to broaden my expertise with using remote sensing data to explore the drivers and consequences of environmental change. Following my postdoctoral research, I worked at the non-profit RAND Corporation in Santa Monica as an Associate Physical Scientist. During my time at RAND, I delved more deeply into policy issues regarding climate change and natural hazards, among many other topics. I started as an Assistant Professor in the Environmental Health Sciences department at UCLA in 2020, where I continue to conduct research at the intersection of climate change and public health. I currently live in Santa Monica with my husband, son, and dog. As a West Coast native, I am happy to be back to the year-round sunshine! I enjoy connecting with Lamont students and alumni and can be reached at [email protected]

Chad Holmes

My career thus far has been a delicate balance among a handful of passions. The first, geology, is rooted in a fascination with rocks and minerals as a child, pursued later with my bachelor’s degree. The second, computer science, was a happy discovery in college and an attempted career pathway in the early 2000s. Geophysics married the two, and my experience at Lamont thrust me into the fascinating world of exploration with my PhD thesis on mid-ocean ridge crustal structure, completed in 2009 under the guidance of my incredible advisors, Drs. Spahr Webb and Maya Tolstoy. Post-graduation, I accepted a job with Chevron due to its potential for a varied career path in an environment supporting diversity and inclusion. Since that time, I’ve been a developer of interpretation tools, a business unit new field development geologist, a researcher on seismic interpretation technologies, and a seismic stratigrapher for global exploration. Chevron recently supported me in a one-year master’s degree program at MIT in Engineering and Management with a thesis focus on geothermal exploration. Upon completion, I assumed the role of digital solutions earth scientist in the Chevron Technical Center Subsurface Innovation Lab, developing technologies focused on the systems engineering, subsurface interpretation, and new energies spaces. I currently live in Houston with my husband and three dogs, but I continue to watch the latest news out of Lamont with keen interest in the research and career progress of old friends and future potential collaborators! Happy to hear from fellow Lamonters: [email protected].

Career Panels

January 11, 2022

April 8, 2021

Alumni Distinguished Lecture Series

2022, November 11: Millard "Mike" Coffin, PhD '85
Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies

Colloquium talk: Subduction Initiation along the Macquarie Ridge Complex, Southwest Pacific Ocean

2021, March 19: Susan E. Trumbore, PhD '89
Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry 

Colloquium talk: Radiocarbon Constraints on the Land Carbon Cycle

2019, November 8: Lisa Tauxe, PhD '83
University of California, San Diego 

Colloquium talk title: "A re-assessment of the timing of the late Miocene C3-C4 vegetation transition across the Indian subcontinent and the globe”

2018, September 28: Brenda Ekwurzel, PhD '98
Senior Climate Scientist and Director of Climate Science at the Union of Concerned Scientists 

Colloquium talk: Global surface temperature and sea level rise from emissions traced to major industrial carbon producers

2017, March 30: Jeff Severinghaus, PhD '95
Professor, Geosciences Research Division at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California, San Diego.

Colloquium talk title: "What have we learned about our future from ice core studies of the past?"

2016, March 31-April 1: Christina Ravelo, PhD '91
Professor of physical and biological sciences, University of California at Santa Cruz, Institute of Marine Sciences

Research Interests: Stable isotope geochemistry, paleoceanography, paleoclimatology

Colloquium talk: The Pliocene: Major features of a globally warm period

2014, April 4: Peter Molnar, PhD '70
Professor of geological sciences at the University of Colorado Boulder

Research interests: examines the processes in the Earth’s crust and mantle, and their influence on climate.

Colloquium talk title: “Mantle dynamics, isostasy, and surface topography: What’s in a name? That which we call ‘dynamic topography’ by any other name (like isostasy) would stand as tall"