- MS Geology 1999
Gari Mayberry earned a BS in Geology from Wesleyan University in 1997, and an MS in Geology from Michigan Tech in 1999.
Her Master’s research at Michigan Tech focused on using satellite imagery to investigate the evolution of a volcanic ash cloud generated from the December 26, 1997, Boxing Day eruption of Soufriere Hills Volcano in Montserrat. “It was pretty easy to come up with various theories,” she recalls, “but to focus on one and paint a complete picture was challenging.” The experience helped Mayberry to be independent and to solve problems. “Enhancing those skills helped to ready me for the workforce.”
While at Michigan Tech, Mayberry did a fellowship at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland. “I was working on running a wind trajectory model, which was new to me, and my results weren’t making much sense,” she recalls. “About two weeks before my stay was over, I began to get results that made sense. Ultimately, I felt like I really accomplished something during my brief time at NASA.”
Now an employee of the US Geological Survey (USGS), Mayberry is stationed at the US Agency for International Development’s Office of US Foreign Disaster Assistance (USAID/OFDA) headquarters in Washington, DC. She serves as the liaison between USGS and USAID/OFDA, and advises USAID/OFDA on issues related to geohazards. “I help evaluate risks around the world, to make possible more effective planning, engagement with local authorities and communities on risk mitigation measures, and rapid response when necessary.” Mayberry also manages the USAID/OFDA Volcano Disaster Assistance Program and the Earthquake Disaster Assistance team.
“While at Michigan Tech I had the opportunity to work with different volcano observatories, agencies, and universities. The contacts I made and the experiences I had helped me to get hired for my first position with USGS and serve me to this day.”
“If you like geology, then study it. I was interested in geology as an undergrad and
then really fell in love with volcanology. I was hesitant to get a Master’s degree
focused on volcanology because I was told there weren’t any jobs in it. Luckily, I
went ahead and did and was fortunate to get a great position.”
This profile appeared in the Spring 2013 issue of On the Faultline, Volume 2, Number 5.