Girls in Science & Technology: Oceanagrapher

Constance Sancetta became fascinated by trilobites at the age of four. She collected seashells, rocks and minerals, and read books about paleontology as a child. In high school she attended a summer camp that taught classes in natural sciences, and considered herpetology, cytology and invertebrate biology as possible fields of study. In her freshman year at Brown University she created a major combining geology and biology, titled Paleontology and Evolution Theory, and in her senior year she did two independent research projects on microfossils of marine plankton.

Work Experiences
After graduation, she worked at Brown for a year as a technician for her advisor; by the end of the year she had decided to become a research scientist. She was awarded an MS degree for work on marine microfossils done as a technician, and then went to Oregon State University for a PhD in Oceanography. She is now a full-time researcher at the Lamont-Doherty Geological Observatory of Columbia University in New York, where her job title is senior research scientist.

Special Interests
Connie is an oceanographer who is especially interested in microfossils and marine sediments. She uses marine microfossils to study changes in the ocean and their relationship to major climatic events such as the Ice Ages. Once every few years she goes on research cruises with many other scientists to collect samples of marine sediment on the sea floor. She has traveled to Japan, Ecuador, the southwest Pacific atolls and all over Europe. When she's in New York she reads others' publications, prepares samples for study, collects data by examining sediments and fossils using the microscope, uses a computer to analyze the data and plot the results, and writes scientific papers describing the results of her work.

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