Girls in Science & Technology: Geologist

Martha Garcia is a geologist with the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). She began her career with the USGS as a geologic field assistant while in college.

How Martha Became Interested in Geology
Martha has always been curious about nature and the hows and whys. Her parents encouraged her curiosity with their time and patience, and with books and travel opportunities. A budding artist, Martha considered a career in commercial art. However, an aptitude test she took in high school indicated a strong inclination toward science and engineering, and she was encouraged to take more science and math courses.

Education
After two years of high school geology from a memorable teacher, she was hooked. A scholarship from the American Institute of Mining Engineers (AIME) helped her earn a BS degree in geology and mathematics from Texas A&I University in 1980.

Work Experience
After graduation, Martha worked as a geologist in Corpus Christi, Texas, for the Office of Marine Geology (OMG) of the USGS. She participated in research cruises that sampled deep basins in the Gulf of Mexico and the northern Atlantic coast. The samples were used to determine the strength of the sediments, information that helped to safely place telephone cables and drilling rigs offshore. She transferred to Denver, Colorado, in 1981 to pursue graduate studies and to work in the nuclear weapons testing program (NWTP) of the USGS. Her present position requires that she evaluate the areas surrounding subsurface nuclear tests conducted at the Nevada Test Site (NTS), the proving ground for nuclear testing, to assure that radioactivity is not released into the atmosphere. Her studies are evaluated by a scientific panel that determines whether or not a test will be detonated.

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