Alumni Notes


Howard Lowe (B.S. ’48) shares, “Wife and I are now in an independent living facility in Ft. Worth close to a daughter & son in law and two grown grand kids. Spend my time researching climate and writing a second book … emphasis on climate from the Pliocene onwards. Lots of evidence re global climate change … lots of it is regional. Had a long phone conversation with Tom Burke (B.S. ’49) yesterday. His brother, Ray, passed away a few months back. Ray and I were at Stanolind together in 1948-49. Photo: Found these three old photos of the 1948 Geology 60 field course. In the pic of group kneeling … I am the guy holding the geology next to Steve Claybaugh. I do not remember the names of the others, nor can I recall the name of the prof on the left … 95 year old retrieval system not too good.”


Walter Boyle (B.S. ’54, M.A. ’55) writes, “Our continued world travels for 2019 was a cruise back to Alaska — first time was 1993. I continue to stay active attending Houston Geological Society meetings, a men’s book club, and working in my yard and garden. Vada continues to stay active in the Houston Symphony League, the American Association of University Women and several book clubs. Vada and I really enjoy attending the Jackson School of Geosciences luncheons and dinners in Austin and a chance to visit with my old geologic classmates from the 1950’s. This year I received a certificate from AAPG in recognition of 65 years of membership.”

Jimmie Russell (B.A. ’52, M.A. ’54) says, “My most-pleasant hi-lite since the last Newsletter was re-establishing contact with my Junior-year 660 field partner. Although we have not had any contact since those years, it was as if there has been no hiatus. Also, each said the other sounded the same as in 1951. However, we admitted that undoubtedly we do not look the same! Another pleasantry was meeting Professor Claudio Faccenna, a professor from the University of Roma. He is a new member of the faculty at UT. His expertise is structural geology, and he is proficient with English. Professor Faccenna was accompanied by his daughter; Emilia is lovely, and was very fashionably attired. Sadly, a close friend and colleague with whom I closely worked at the Texas Water Development Board since returning to Austin in 1967, has moved into a senior-care facility. Otherwise fine, forgetfulness and wandering necessitated continuous surveillance. He was a charter member, and later a president, of the Austin Geological Society. Numerous medical conditions continue and hopefully, are being controlled. Disliking to bore, noteworthy were 2 ER trips and stays in a SNIF (skilled nursing facility). I was hospitalized Thanksgiving and Christmas, with the last week of 2018 spent in an isolation ward caused by the germ “CDIFF” contracted there. Progress? El Patio, at 30th & Guadalupe, is closing. They still made my favorite enchiladas, the same way as “then.” The newspaper article of their demise noted a ribeye steak was $1.50 “then,” but that was too expensive for me!”

Theodore Stanzel (B.S. ’56) shares, “The year has been good with rewarding experiences for both Wanda and myself. Planning for future travel in the States and Europe; however, we reside in Schulenburg, Texas. We recently attended the dental hygiene white coat ceremony at the University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston where Wanda delivered the keynote address to the class of 2021. She received her dental hygiene degree from UT in 1958. She also leads tours of the painted churches in Fayette County organized by the Chamber of Commerce. I built a Nobler 50 inch wing span control line gas powered model airplane from a kit.”

Leslie White (B.S. ’56) says, “Dianne and I continue on in southwest Austin. We enjoy watching our grandkids moving forward with their lives. And, as always, we remain very, very proud of our Jackson School.”

Rex White, Jr. (B.S. ’56, M.A. ’60) writes, “Still practicing Oil and Gas Law. Run into classmate Les White and his wife from time to time, which always causes us to remember our deceased classmates, professors and the great times we had on field trips.” Rex can be reached at

William Feathergail Wilson (B.S. ’60, M.A. ’62) shares, “Working on SWD injection well reports in the Permian Basin, groundwater availability studies in the Texas Hill Country and consulting for two groundwater conservation districts as well as a Board Member of a Regional Groundwater Planning District. At 57-years as a geologist having worked in more than 56-countries I am still camped out along a creek near Tarpley, Texas, living on the Cretaceous Corbula bed as a former Folk student. As a Texas ranch kid, I couldn’t be more proud and grateful to have received my degrees from The University of Texas at Austin.”


Charles Caughey (B.S. ’69, M.A. ’73) says, “Retirement is great! Last year I traveled to Salt Lake City for AAPG, where I enjoyed helping with the Imperial Barrel Award competition for students from all around the US and abroad, then visited Boston and NYC last spring. There was a small boat cruise of the inland passage of Alaska last summer, with hiking, kayaking, and a quick dip in an icy bay. Then hiking Big Bend and exploring mountains of Red River, New Mexico in the fall. This year I visited my nephew in Belize in February and enjoyed San Antonio for the AAPG in May. I am still active with the AAPG Publications Pipeline, helping arrange donation of the entire AAPG library to University of the Western Cape in South Africa in time for recognition at the AAPG conference (ICE) there last year and shipment of 2 major donations to universities in Senegal this spring and summer.”

Joe Meadows (B.A. ’62) shares, “Hope all are well and above room temperature. Enjoy keeping up with oil and gas business and scuba diving as old age will permit. God bless everyone.”

Tom Patty (M.A. ’68) writes, “So far in 2019, both the petrographic studies at the WJE Austin office as well as field geological consultation work has seen more available time since the passing of JoAnn, wife of 58 years, in late 2017. With continued increase in local construction in the Austin and Central Texas area, the demand for crushed stone and sand and gravel is also on the increase. Additional time has been spent in the Llano/Mason county areas to the west and Hearne/Bryan/College Station areas to the east. It seems that every floodplain has to be checked out for sand and gravel. While field and lab studies are great, time spent with the kids and grandkids are becoming more and more important, like presenting a grandchild a fossil or a choice mineral specimen. This year marks 51 years since I was hired to open up a geology/ petrographic laboratory for TXDOT’s Materials and Test Division Austin Office in 1968. I can be reached at or”

Rubin Schultz (B.S. ’61) says, “Still enjoying retirement. Spending time with great grandkids and traveling. Spent some time at the Welk Resort last spring.”

Mark Valencia (M.A. ’68) shares, “My little Piece of Paradise: As a youth I truly hated New England winters. To me they were not an inconvenience as they seemed to most others, but a dreaded annual ordeal to be survived. On dark snowy nights, as the howling wind rattled my bedroom window pane, I often dreamed of living in a tropical paradise. In my mind’s eye I was sitting on a powdery white sandy beach with the warm sun on my back, gazing at the calm crystal blue waters. On those long winter nights I read voraciously about expatriate life and adventure in the tropics — Somerset Maugham, Jack London, Robert Louis Stevenson, Rudyard Kipling and its more modern interpreters — Anthony Burgess and Paul Theroux. My dream was not just a passing fancy. It infused my soul and its pursuit often affected the trajectory of my life. When Lynton Land, who had been on sabbatical to Hawaii, suggested I apply there for my Ph.D., I did and was accepted. I chose it over Indiana and Oklahoma which were then leaders in my chosen field of petroleum geology, even though it meant switching to geological oceanography. Once there, I spent as much time as I could living my dream. The elements were all within easy reach: pristine beaches, turquoise waters, cooling mountain breezes — just as I had imagined. I was hooked for life. My experiences as a seagoing oceanographer enabled visits to remote South Pacific islands that reinforced my desire to fulfill my dream. I realized it was not going to be exactly as I had imagined. There were ‘complications’ of economics, culture and inconvenience. But it was close enough to provide the hedonistic pleasures bestowed by the climate that I had longed for. But the challenge was to figure out how to make a living while living my dream. Upon graduation, there were no intellectually appealing jobs in Hawaii. I wanted desperately to stay. I even briefly considered becoming a taro farmer. But reality and the lust for further adventure pushed me on. I wound up in Penang, Malaysia — a ‘spice island’ of yore. There I quickly discovered that the tales of Maugham, Kipling, Burgess and Theroux reflected reality. It was like living in a novel among the flawed expatriate characters and their misadventures with the locals. I became one of them. As part of my desire to experience the expatriate adventures of old, I chose to immerse myself in Malay culture by living in a village rather than a town among the cloistered expatriates. It was there that I met my dusky maiden. With the final piece of my dream potentially in place, I returned to Hawaii. After nearly running out of money, I secured an intellectually and financially rewarding academic position. I then sent for the dusky maiden, who to my everlasting joy, traveled across civilizations to be with me. We have had a good life together — wonderful children who are a great source of pride and satisfaction for us as interracial, intercultural adventurers. And they have given us grandchildren — four amazing sparks of life and hope who have made my life worth living. Eventually we bought a house, a modified late 1950’s cookie cutter large ‘cottage,’ in New England terms. But it is at the end of a cul-de-sac de sac in a local rural neighborhood. To the back is a channeled stream and a forested hill and a small flood control pond. My favorite accoutrement is the large swimming pool that is shielded from prying eyes by the house, the forest and an ivy covered fence. I sit by the pool, listening to Hawaiian music and absorbing the ambiance. I am surrounded by a kaleidoscope of colors in the garden. The sky fades from cerulean to pale blue and then ‘purples.’ Memories sweep over me. It is then that I realize I am living my dream. I have found my little piece of paradise

Richard Waitt (B.S. ’66, M.A. ’70) says, “I remain with the USGS (not retired) at Cascades Volcano Observatory in Vancouver Washington. Will have published several reports this year about Mount St. Helens’ 1980 eruption and about the great Pleistocene Missoula floods through the Channeled Scabland and Columbia valley. An element of the latter presented at the 2019 INQUA Congress in Dublin. Am senior editor for a multichapter GSA Special Paper on interdisciplinary Quaternary geology (to honor Stephen C. Porter) that should appear in early 2020. On a long driving trip in fall, Cynthia and I hope to include Austin and UT.”


Elmo Brown (B.A. ’76) shares, “Kathy and I have taken on a new adventure. We sold our Denver house of 35+ years and have moved to Kerrville in the hill country of Texas. It is amazing how much stuff accumulates over 35 years and how long it takes to sort, pack, unpack and put away those memories. But as of this writing, we are well on our way in getting our new house to being our new home. At which point, we will look for new adventures to tackle.”

Arthur Busbey (B.S.’75, M.A. ’77) writes, “Now starting 3 year term as Chair of the Department of Geological Sciences at TCU. I plan to retire in 3 years (at 70), so I will spend the last few years busy administrating and helping support young faculty.”

Frank Cornish (M.A. ’75) writes, “This has been a rewarding and disappointing year. The rewards are two grandsons, Arthur and Kai in Georgia and Florida, to accompany my granddaughter. I’m rewarded to have them, disappointed they are far away. Another reward is placing a major work 60 x 40” – “Harbor bridge abstract” in the new tower at our local Spohn Hospital at the major elevator entrance from the cafeteria to the rest of the facility. The disappointment is that art isn’t supporting me. Go figure. We enjoyed staying at the “Here’s Johnny” Stanton Hotel in Estes Park this summer at the annual SIPES convention, and I caught dancing elks, bighorns etc. I was disappointed that the whole year can’t be as pleasant as the Rockies in spring and summer. It was rewarding to be surrounded by rocks. Coming up this fall I will have a poster describing the stratigraphy of Wilcox canyons in Tyler Co., Texas,. I’m continuing to record past work on canyons, and will have another previously undescribed canyon to present at the 2021 convention in a poster as well. I’ve finished out my term as benevolent overlord of the Corpus Christi Geological Society and will remain a board member as we try to build the membership or slow the decline from retirement, and lack of local jobs for the newly minted Geology students. I continue to be underemployed and officing with Suemaur in Corpus. I have some consulting with Hurd in San Antonio trying to mature leads into drillable prospects. Seems like no one wants to do that though, so I’m waiting for the turn. Will it come?”

Patricia Dickerson (B.A. ’70, Ph.D. ’95) shares, “Bursts of field work and preparations for field trips enlivened fall of 2018 into spring of 2019. Presented our new data at a GSA meeting and in invited lectures, as well as in the guidebook and during Big Bend Ranch State Park field trips. Excursions that compadres and I led for the Austin and Houston Geological Societies brought lengthening and deepening colleague-ships … Far afield from the Chihuahuan Desert, the trail led to Patagonia in January. The trip began in Buenos Aires, so both field boots and tango heels went into the suitcase. I was instructing on a Smithsonian excursion there — fascinated by the complex glacial dynamics in southern South America. Grey Glacier in Torres del Paine National Park presented a new face compared to that in 2016, after the calving of an immense iceberg in 2017. Awed by the groaning of the ice and moved by the magnificence of Torres del Paine massif… Other ice-sculpted scenes are fresh in my mind — I just returned from Iceland and another Smithsonian tour. Geysir, who gave his name to all such spouters, was more active than during my previous visits, and Strokkur put on an exuberant show — aah, the shifting plumbing system on an active plate boundary. In addition to standing on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, we visited a lunar landscape and walked on one of the basalt flows where Apollo astronauts had trained. Apollo 11 landed on lunar lavas 50 years — almost to the day — before our rover (= bus) transported us to the northern highlands… inspiring! More black bedrock sea cliffs to come — with sea lions lounging on pillow basalts — when I return to the Galapagos hot spot this fall. In the meantime, world geoscience literature is the focus of my GeoRef work with most congenial cohorts in Alexandria and here. Being based in one of the best geological libraries on any celestial body is a boon to the bibliography and to my research. Speaking of research, I’d best close this report now and get back to the manuscript factory.”

Steven Dildine (B.S. ’72) writes, “We remain in Carmel, CA. — riding bikes, doing some non-profit work and drinking California wine! Getting ready to reread John McPhee’s “Annals of a Former World” and once again revel in the glory that is geology. Looking forward to seeing some old friends and 660 buddies later this year. Wishing Dr. Fisher a long, healthy and happy retirement!”

Thomas Dubois (B.S. ’77) shares, “After starting out with Sohio Petroleum in Houston in 1977- 1980, I spent the next 30 years in Corpus Christi (my home town) as an independent petroleum geologist. The last 10 years, my wife Debbie and I have spent on our ranch near Shiner. Still piddle in oil and gas but most time spent on the tractor. Time sure does fly! HOOK ’EM!!”

Lisa “Rusty” Goetz (M.A. ’77) says, “I gave up on Houston after getting hit by three major storms three years in a row and finding that nothing was learned by the various government entities about geology and flood abatement. In March of this year I moved to the Sandia/Manzanita Mountain foothills of southeastern Albuquerque, NM. Mostly unpacked and am now taking time to explore and hike the wonderful high desert geology.” Rusty can be reached at

Robbie Gries (M.A. ’70) shares, “Finished up a year as GSA President and helped to wrap up a Decade Strategic Plan with many cool ideas to enhance and improve the Society for our members. The sale of my book, “Anomalies — Pioneering Women in Petroleum Geology: 1917-2017,” has gone well and I am working toward a TV series on the incredible women that stood out in this research. David and I continue to enjoy Denver 6 months, Tucson 6 months!” Photo: Robbie with Rafael Tenreyro, CUPET, in Cuba as GSA speaker and Geological Society of Cuba meeting, April, 2019.

Douglas Johnson (B.S. ’78) says, “I am currently working on seismic inversion of a 700 square mile 3D survey in South Texas. Fun class note: I am mentoring Micaela Pedrazas, a UT geology grad student, in seismic interpretation. Micaela’s summer intern project is seismic reservoir characterization of the Austin Chalk in South Texas. Hook ‘em Horns!!” Doug can be reached at

Richard Leach (B.S. ’77) shares, “This summer, on June 21, I got married to Kimberley Loveless. We are now living in McKinney.”

James McCalpin (B.A. ’72) writes, “Recently elected President of the TERPRO Commission of INQUA (International Union for Quaternary Research) for 2019-2023. Guess I’ll learn a lot about currently funded research into climate change. Ironic after spending a 40-year consulting career in geologic hazards and paleoseismology. Still chasing down bothersome active faults worldwide. In spare time am Director of Crestone (CO) Historical Museum in my hometown, an old gold mining camp.” James can be reached at

Don F. Parker (B.S. ’70, M.A. ’72, Ph.D. ’76) currently resides in Round Rock, Texas, and can be reached at Don_

John Pigott (B.S. ’74, M.A. ’77) says, ‘’Folk’s cosmopolitan interests in “all things” coupled with Land’s quantitative rigor and the wild unconstrained discussions of “what if” with all my wonderful fellow grads of the late 70’s (Kitty Lou M., Susan H., Shirley D., Dennis P., Chuck W. and too many others to mention) not only infected me, but continues to lead me through the gratifying “fog” of intrepidly trying to make sense of all things sedimentologic, albeit with a carbonate bias, and admittedly nonutilitarian bias toward O&G. If I am not in my office, I am either on top of a mountain or underwater… speaking of water, too much water under the bridge in the past flying decades but in brief I am still here at OU as an Assoc. Prof. I continue to have wonderful students who, before acquiring jobs of mucho mammon, conduct research for their theses by traveling with me domestically or overseas and sharing in adventures on the outcrop to the subsurface, subaerial to subaqueous, from the petrophysical to the petrographic, from basin modeling to 3D seismic all with abundant toys (LiDar, portable XRF, Schmidt hammer, BMOD, Petrel, etc.). So, together with the pragmatic collaboration of my pragmatic geochemical chemo-stratigraphic side-kick (wife that is, Kulwadee) I continue to have fun, consult in those months when not teaching, and disregard the thought of ‘retirement.’ Recent discoveries include deepwater evidence of giant Tsunamis, imaging of a fragile skeleton in a Chinese dinosaur egg, determining outcrop lithology directly from LiDar over a km away, seis strat work on the giant East Coast Jurassic barrief reef, and new conventional and unconventional play concepts in Eagle Ford and the Permian Basin. Oh yes, and I just became a certified Padi Dive Master… not bad for a sexagenarian.” John can be reached at

John Preston (B.S. ’70) says, “Just can’t figure out how to ‘retire.’ Have worked since I was eleven, so still pluggin’ away at 72. God help me, but I still love looking for grease. Did get Lobo Wx. well drilled, but best sd. F/O or thin. Have 30 to 40 more to drill. Surely if you stick enough holes in the ground, grease has to eventually bubble up. This is in Webb if anyone is interested. Retirement: what folks do when they’re ready to croak! Cheers friends and Hook ’em!” John can be reached at

David Pustka (B.S. ’76) with his grandson Dallas David White, the “Future Geoscientist,” born May 10, 2019.

Brendan Sidereas (B.S. ’74) shares, “I’ve been retired 5 years now and all is well. Still live in Rockwall, Texas. Have 4 grandkids all living very close by, ages 4-8. I’ve been witnessing a lot of gymnastics, swimming, tee-ball, and most recently Taekwondo. My career in petroleum geology was good to me. But my original interest in surface geology, particularly in the Texas Hill Country, has once again returned, but at the expense of subsurface geology, 3D seismic, electric logs, and spreadsheet evaluations. My wife and I usually go on one “big deal” trip a year — this year it’s Portugal (on my way there now as I write this) and maybe a couple of Austin trips per year to attend a football game with a couple of old college buddies. My, Austin has changed a lot, but I still like Longhorn football, some bbq & beer, and their Mexican food with an occasional margarita. I find that the wine boom around Fredericksburg blends well with Cretaceous field trips.”


Patricia Bobeck (M.A. ’85, Ph.D. ’17) says, “One of this year’s highlights was GSA’s publication of my translation of Jean-Baptiste Paramelle’s “The Art of Finding Springs.” The translation was a chapter of my 2017 dissertation. Paramelle published his book in 1856, same year as Henry Darcy published his account of the experiments that led to Darcy’s Law. Paramelle was an early hydrogeologist; he found groundwater in more than 10,000 places in France in the 19th century. “The Art of Finding Springs” is available as GSA Special Paper 539. I was invited to present a lecture on Paramelle and Henry Darcy at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology in Germany in June 2019. I had a lovely visit with my host Nico Goldscheider, whom I met at Barton Springs several years ago. This year I was again lucky enough to spend the summer in France, where I visited Paris’ mineralogical, water, and of course, art museums. I spent many days walking the city looking at magnificent structures and the limestone that was quarried from beneath the city to build them. Also spent many hours looking at fountains and aqueducts that supplied water to Paris. In the fall, I’ll be back in Austin, hanging out at Barton Springs and probably hulahooping. For my swimmer friends, I will present a little slide show on Paris swimming pools. I continue to translate geologic literature from French to English and to edit geologic articles for publication.”

Steven Carlson (M.A. ’84) writes, “I’m still working Deepwater GoM at Ecopetrol America; 2 more years until retirement. All 4 kids and 2 grandkids are happy and healthy. 2019 has been a good year for travel. Jenny and I got to visit our globetrotting son Russell in Tasmania, and we saw Eric Clapton play at Royal Albert Hall in London (on my birthday).” Steve can be reached at and

Joel Coffman (B.S. ’84) shares, “Still working at EPA Region 9 but trying to relocate to the Atlanta area so we can be near our almost 3 year old granddaughter — Ana Rose. The past 3 years have been interesting, to say the least. Working on deep injection wells in California and out on Navajo Nation and have projects on the Big Island and Maui in Hawaii. I hope all my ’80 to ’84 UT Geology Grads are doing well, and if you are ever in the Bay Area, look me up!”

Daniel Huston (M.A. ’87) says, “After a couple of decades as consulting geophysicists in Houston (since 1996 to be exact), Holly and I have retired to a nice rural property up in Indiana. Life is good. Best wishes to all our likewise retired friends as well as those still toiling in the oil patch.”

Vincent Kluth (B.S. ’86) shares, “Hello class of ’86! After 32 years in the DoD Intel Community, I retired. I highly recommend it. Feel free to keep up with my current endeavors at”

Bill Layton (B.S. ’81) writes, “Hard to believe this is year 37 in the Petroleum search, currently working at Abraxas Petroleum in San Antonio, Texas, in the unconventional and digital world these days … Ha! Having phun tho, big shouts to field camp 1981 buds, remember, the Phantom rules!”

Bruno Maldonado (B.S. ’82) says, “Hello fellow Longhorns. I am still applying my craft and plan to continue working as long as I am having fun. I continue to enjoy prospecting and applying the latest geophysical technology to 3D seismic data sets in search of the black gold. Some of my most recent projects include the evaluation of oil and gas reserves in offshore Congo, Cameron and Nigeria. Domestically, I was involved in the assessment of helium reserves in the Williston basin and just finished a project in the Austin Chalk. Those of us that love geoscience are certainly fortunate to be involved in a profession that is quite enjoyable. I have also had the pleasure of working with Dean Mosher while on the Jackson School of Geosciences FANs Board. As most of you know, Dean Mosher will be stepping down from her position as Dean by the time you read this note. I know that I will certainly miss working with her and congratulate her and her staff for building a great school in The University of Texas at Austin Jackson School of Geosciences. Thank you Dean Mosher for all you have done for the geosciences and the University of Texas.”

Laura Moffett (B.A. ’84) shares, “Last October I completed my Master Water Steward training. Volunteer opportunities have included rain garden installation and maintenance, rain barrel installation, native prairie plantings, public information events and clean ups of the Mississippi river watershed. Educational opportunities have included soil development, water conservation and community engagement. I also got to see the headwaters of the Mississippi river at Itasca State Park!”

Keith Pollman (M.A. ’83) says, “I’ve enjoyed two small reunions with UT colleagues this summer. The first was in July when Emil Bramson and his son visited Denver for a soccer tournament. I’ve attached a photo of (from left to right) Emil, John Curchin, myself, and Roger Wiggin. Emil has not aged a bit — he must have a painting in the attic that ages for him. The rest of us … the years have been kind. John Curchin and I also traveled to Austin in early August to celebrate Allan Standen’s 70th birthday. This was my first trip back to UT since 1989, and I was stunned by all the changes on campus and around town. I wish we’d had more time to tour the Jackson School. Of course, we had to go to the Library so that we could view our theses on the shelves. It was great to see Al and other UT alums, including Arten Avakian, at Al’s birthday party. I’ll try not to let another 30 years elapse before I visit again.”

Jerry Schwarzbach (B.A. ’83) shares, “Still living & working in Tyler. Practicing medicine, flying & ranching. Have a token Longhorn. Had a great trip with friends to Tanzania for photosafari. Planning on catching some football games in Austin fall 2019.”

Scott Simmons (B.S. ’87) writes, “I’m currently looking after operations for the Open Geospatial Consortium — a standards body dedicated to all things location and maps. The work is far more interesting that you’d think when considering standards, and I get to interact with a global membership all working hard to ensure that those little maps function on our smartphones. Perhaps best for me is the large number of geologists in our Consortium; we even publish a standard for geologic data known as GeoSciML (www. On a personal note, I’m still having fun in the sun in Fort Collins, CO with too many hobbies, a great family, and not enough time.”

Margaret Sipplle-Srinivasan (B.S. ’82) says, “I’m still at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory — why are so many of you retiring?! Aren’t we too young?! I am Manager of the JPL Center for Climate Sciences, and the NASA Deputy Program Applications Lead for the Surface Water and Ocean Topography (SWOT) mission, which will launch in 2021. I look back fondly on my time at UT Austin, and have the chance to visit every few years for meetings of the GRACE and GRACEFollow On science teams. The UT Center for Space Research (CSR) is an important partnering organization on these missions.”

Stephen Speer (M.A. ’83) says, “Greetings from the SC Lowcountry… pray this finds all of the Dirty Dozen doing well and enjoying life. No real updates of importance, still enjoying it here with my lovely Therese (and Emma, our Westie) playing tennis and tending to business, in that order. Gonna open up a small tavern here in Mt. Pleasant with a partner this fall just to keep me on my toes and to make things interesting…and also to get free beer (yeah, right). If you ever find yourself coming to the Charleston area, feel free to look us up, eh? Cheers.”

Danny Worrell (B.S. ’80) shares, “I am still working as an environmental lawyer for Katten Muchin Rosenman in Austin! Come visit if you are in town!” Gail Worrell (B.S. ’82) adds, “Hello everyone! I have retired from ExxonMobil after 33 years! My career went full circle starting out in Midland, Texas, working the Permian Basin, and ended with my last assignment bringing new Delaware Basin production to the Gulf Coast! Now, it is on to tennis, travel, family, fun, and ukulele lessons!” Danny and Gail can be reached at


Donald Andrew Bowen (B.S. ’91) shares, “Stayed in Austin. Transitioned from groundwater development and consulting to business strategy. I now run a trust/value consulting & coaching company. Enjoy all things outdoors and I am still a lover of rocks and fossils. Will never forget my experiences at UT Geo! Please feel free to reach out! Would love to hear what you are doing and am always open to meeting for a social beverage to talk geology. I can be reached at”

Ray Newby (B.S. ’91) says, “I’m still having fun working for the Texas General Land Office to restore coastal marshes, bird islands, and beaches.”

Becky Smyth (M.A. ’95) writes, “Checking in here – for the FIRST time (Thank you Jimmie Russell for SUGGESTING I do so). Since I’m now officially old and have not been keeping up with y’all, the story is long. I twice enjoyed fantastic geological education — undergraduate course work (1976-79) and Master’s degree (1995) — at UT. In my early burnt-orange days, I learned from giants: Barker, Clabaugh, Folk, Jonas, Long, Lundelius, McBride, Muehlberger, and Scott. My undergraduate years at UT were sandwiched between two stints at my Dad’s alma mater, Va. Tech: 1975-76 then returning to finally finish my B.S. in Geology in 1980. Some said I had no clear direction. Maybe I was just restless? After Blacksburg I ended up in NYC, but the concrete and poverty nearly killed me. At that point Dallas looked good. Dad was sending geology job advertisements from EVERY Sunday edition of the Dallas Morning News and the Ft. Worth Star Telegram. The 1973 VW bug and I chugged back to Dallas where I took a job with Core Labs doing thin-section, XRD, and SEM descriptions of core samples, including volcanic reservoir rocks from Japan. Having spent the first 17 years of my life in Big D and knowing Austin, it tempted me to return — by 1982. Back in Austin I worked two part-time jobs (USGS — Water Resources Division and Bureau of Economic Geology — igneous petrology with Henry and Price), camped at Enchanted Rock, wind-surfed on Lake Travis, tried being a chemistry major, bicycled for transportation — lived a good life. Then geologist Steve and I sold everything, married in Ireland, spent 15 months in a VW van driving across most of Europe, multiple Soviet-bloc countries, and around the eastern Mediterranean. Nights in campgrounds, days in museums and cathedrals; we discovered art and cultural anthropology. We worked for three months on a Moshav in the Negev desert on the Jordanian border, eating well and learning Israeli farming methods. Back to Austin by 1987, I worked part-time at BEG (with Hovorka) until landing a job with Hall Southwest Water Consultants, two years later moving to McCulley, Frick & Gilman. Doug Frick kindly suggested I get a Master’s degree in hydrogeology or find another job, so I went to see Jack Sharp. Then graduate school, daughter Joanna, graduate school, work, work, work and great joy. Barker, Muehlberger, Sharp, and fellow graduate students helped me through classes and the thesis — a combination of physical hydrogeology and igneous petrology — by 1995. By 1997 I was back at BEG (with A. Dutton/ Gibeaut/Hovorka) until “retiring” in 2017. After reflection, rest, and a little consulting I returned to BEG as a part-time University professional (hydrogeology group) in January 2018. Stay tuned, the cycles will continue, just not sure what is next.” Becky can be reached at

Jean-Paul van Gestel (Ph.D. ’00) says, “It has probably been a while since my last update, but I am still at BP working the deepwater Gulf of Mexico in the production group, working various producing assets. The most interesting part is still the time lapse seismic on various fields where the largest remaining challenge is to get the subsalt 4D to work. But with acquisition, processing and imaging improving, we are getting closer, especially using FWI which has made a step change improvement over the years. Personally very happy to bike to work every day for my five minute commute as we live right next to the office while the kids (now 9, 8 and 6) attend the local elementary school. Also love spending time in the Hill Country as we were able to buy a place in New Braunfels. Not Austin, but close. Very much enjoyed the chance to join the UT staff at the Texas-USC football game last year and hope to come back for a game again this year. Hook’em!”


Kelly Iacono Daniel (B.S. ’04) was promoted to the Kleinfelder Austin office’s role of Operations Manager. In addition, Kelly was selected for Engineering NewsRecord’s distinguished Top 20 Under 40 national title and appeared on the August 12th cover of the magazine along with her fellow winners. Kelly was invited to New York City to complete the cover story of ENR’s August issue, “ENR 2019 Top 20 Under 40: On the Move.” The group of industry leaders were assembled for a photo shoot around Manhattan, and then tasked with becoming a think tank — offering ideas in four critical industry challenge areas: workforce growth and diversity, project delivery and productivity, sustainability and resilience, and infrastructure investment advocacy. Their thoughts on each topic were shared in four articles, with Kelly predominantly featured in the “Top 20 Under 40: Brainstorming Ways to Help Industry Go Greener.”

Ben Davis (M.S. ’07) says, “I have been working in the Permian Basin for the last 8 years, first with SM Energy and currently with Concho Resources. Both companies have given me great opportunities to drill wells, prospect, explore, and do some 3D modeling. In my spare time, my family has enjoyed camping and hiking in Texas and New Mexico, and we have picked up learning lapidary, which we used to raise money for a charity called Heart to Heart; which provides heart surgery for children in China. We have been able to visit China twice in the last 8 years and have had a wonderful time.” Ben can be reached at

Chadwick Hintz (B.S. ’02) shares, “I have been working as a PGS geophysicist for 11 years. I am based in Houston, but I was given the opportunity to work in London for 3 years and am currently on 6 months assignment in Oslo, Norway. PGS is an excellent company and has given me a chance to work with cutting edge technology and high end imaging algorithms. I’ve seen data from West Africa, New Zealand, North Sea, Brazil, and the Mediterranean Sea to name a few. Along the way I’ve seen more of the Earth (above ground and below) than I ever thought I would. I’ve also met some of the most brilliant geologists and geophysicists in the world. I am grateful to The University of Texas at Austin and the Jackson School for giving me the foundation for what has been a truly adventurous life. I can be reached at”

Junru Jiao (Ph.D. ’01) is working as VP of Imaging at Forland Geophysical Services in Houston and can be reached at

Dax McDavid (B.A. ’03, M.A. ’06) writes, “This year was an extremely exciting time for Brigham Minerals, Inc. and myself, where I serve as Vice President of Exploration for Texas and North Dakota. Brigham Minerals is led by Ben M. (“Bud”) Brigham, Executive Chairman (B.S. ’83), and Robert Roosa, Chief Executive Officer (’92 BBA). In April 2019, we executed a very successful Initial Public Offering despite a volatile market. Our IPO was one of the first successful energy IPOs since early 2017. I currently lead all geologic activities for the Permian and Williston Basins and allocate most of my time to our mineral acquisition efforts. Kevin L’abbe (B.A. ’04), another Jackson School alumnus, serves as Vice President of Exploration for the Anadarko and DJ Basins. Thus far in 2019, we have acquired 5,700 net royalty acres and have deployed $80 million of capital largely to the Permian and SCOOP/STACK and have $200 million of liquidity to continue to acquire minerals in our core basins. I started at Brigham Minerals in 2013 as one of the very early employees and it’s been an amazing experience to build Brigham Minerals to what it is today. We started acquiring minerals in 2012 with the strategy of acquiring core, tier 1 geology in liquids-rich plays under top performing, well capitalized operators and have acquired 74,100 net royalty acres position through approximately 1,500 transactions across the Permian, Williston, DJ and Anadarko Basins. Today, Brigham Minerals is traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker “MNRL”, has over a $1 billion market capitalization and currently employs 36 individuals across multiple energy disciplines. A special thanks to Bud Brigham who has been an pioneer in the energy space for many years and whose companies and ideas have been creating jobs for UT Geology alumni for many years.”

Stephanie Mills (B.S. ’09) shares, “After 8 years spent completing my PhD and working in the minerals exploration industry in Australia, my husband and I moved back to the US in 2018. I’m delighted to be working as Utah’s Senior Metals Geologist, as part of the Utah Geological Survey. For anyone interested in Utah’s mining, geology, or if you’re just passing through please feel free to get in touch at!”

Julymar Morantes (M.S. ’03) says, “After 11 years with ConocoPhillips, I accepted a new position as Sr. Reservoir Quality Specialist at Chevron in Houston. I am currently working in the ETC group and can be reached at”

Nataleigh Perez (B.S. ’09, M.S. ’13) and husband Nicholas Perez (B.S. ’09, Ph.D. ’15) welcomed Miles Vann Perez on May 8, 2019. Nataleigh has been at BHP in Houston since 2014. Nick is an assistant professor at Texas A&M starting his 5th year. This year he received an NSF CAREER Award!


Hellen Aldrich (B.S. ’11) works at Costofcial Solutions in Australia and can be reached at

Alexander Aronovitz (M.S. ’12) shares, “I’ve taken some time off from my career to pursue another passion of mine: bicycle touring. After leaving Houston in early May, I explored portions of the south and Appalachians en route to the outer banks of North Carolina. Upon reaching the coast, I turned north and west with my sights set on the west coast. I’m currently in Minnesota on the Paul Bunyan trail, complete with a statue of him and his ox. I continue to be inspired by the diverse landscapes in our country, and humbled by the kindness of strangers along the way.”

April Bievenour (B.S. ’14) currently works as a Geoscientist at Oxy (Occidental) and can be reached at april_

Brent Blackwell (B.S. ’11) is currently working in the Marketing and Trading group as a Crude Oil

Scheduler with Sunoco Partners Marketing and Terminals.

Parker Brant (M.S. ’18) is currently working as a Data Scientist with Big Data Energy Services. He can be reached at

Christine Bunting (B.S. ’18) is a geologist at TRC, Inc. in Austin, Texas.

Robert Castillo (B.A. ’11) says, “I spent five years working in the oil and gas industry, specifically directional drilling and field geology, then worked in water conservation for the City of Austin for three years. I currently work as an Engineering Specialist II with the Texas Railroad Commission. My main duties are performing technical and seismic reviews on injection and disposal well applications in the State of Texas. I can be reached at”

Ted Cross (B.S. ’11) shares, “I just started a new position as Technical Advisor at Novi Labs in Austin. I am excited to bring my industry expertise to help develop and grow a software startup focused on machine learning solutions for oil and gas. I can be reached at”

Autumn Eakin (M.S.’11) writes, “Last September, Dan (Ph.D. ’14) and I welcomed a baby boy, Aksel Eakin, to our family! He’s been a joy to watch grow & learn the world around him. We’ll be celebrating his first birthday in Iceland where we can teach him about tectonic plates!”

Reynaldy Fifariz (Ph.D. ’18) says, “Hello! I continue to work as a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Bureau of Economic Geology with the Gulf Coast Carbon Center. I am forever grateful to be part of Jackson School of Geosciences. It has been a truly joyful and rewarding experience for me and my family. Thank you!” Reynaldy can be reached at Hector Garza (B.S. ’16) is a Geoscientist at Premier Oilfield Group in Houston, Texas.

Emma Heitmann (B.S. ’16) is moving to Seattle to begin a PhD program at the University of Washington.

Aaron Jones (M.S. ’11, Ph.D. ’15) was promoted to the position of Senior Researcher – Biosciences at ExxonMobil Corporate Strategic Research in Clinton, New Jersey. Aaron was previously a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at ExxonMobil.

Han Kyul (Kyra) Kim (B.S. ’13) successfully defended her dissertation at the University of Delaware this April, titled “Spatiotemporal dynamics of biogeochemical reactions in an intertidal beach aquifer: A field, laboratory, and numerical modeling study.” She will be heading to NASA JPL for a postdoctoral fellowship in August

Alex Lamb (M.S. ’12) shares, “We welcomed our first child, a boy, in November 2018, and I’ve already started his rock collection! I also recently started a job as a Data Scientist at OspreyData in Orange County, CA. We work on applying machine learning and artificial intelligence to oil and gas production optimization.”

Darby Lee (B.S. ’19) recently graduated and can be reached at

Marco Longoria (B.A. ’19) is going to spend time with an Outdoor School teaching and leading all different types of programs.

Frank Morgan (B.S. ’11) says, “I’m enjoying my second year with ATX Energy Partners in Austin, Texas. We’re currently operating in the Powder River Basin up in Wyoming, and we’re looking forward to advancing the play there.”

Evan Pearson (B.S. ’10) writes, “I’ll be finishing up my law degree in May 2020 at the greatest university and then clerking for Judge Alan Albright in the US District Court for the Western District of Texas in Waco. UT’s so nice, I came twice! Hook ’em!”

Arisa Ruangsirikulchai (B.S. ’19 joined PTT Exploration and Production Public Company Limited as an Associated Geoscientist based in Bangkok, Thailand.

Makoto Sadahiro (M.S. ’14) can be reached at

Joe (Kendall) Salinas (B.S. ’15) shares, “I currently work at Arcadis as an Environmental Task Leader. I direct site assessments, soil/ groundwater remediation, and groundwater monitoring activities for various clients in the petroleum industry, industrial manufacturing, multinational package delivery industry, the State of Florida, aerospace/defense industry, and the US military. I spend most of my time working on projects in Florida but also spend time on projects in neighboring southeastern states such as Mississippi, Alabama, and Georgia. I appreciate the education I received in my hydrogeology courses at UT Austin because I get to apply that knowledge towards my various projects each day. My education also allows me to provide environmental solutions to improve the quality of life for individuals who live in communities impacted by hazardous substances in the soil and groundwater.” Kendall can be reached at

Josia Simanjuntak (M.A. ’19) shares, “My two years of graduate school at the Jackson School of Geosciences have been one of the times in my life. I learned so much from my professors and made some great friends throughout my study! I will definitely cherish these memories as I return to my home country in Indonesia.” Josia can be reached at josia.simanjuntak@

Stephanie Elaine Suarez (B.S. ’17) writes, “I completed my Masters in Geology at the University of Houston in summer 2019. Starting a PhD at the same institution as an NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program awardee”

Kevin Toth (B.S. ’16) accepted a position at Arcadis (design and consultancy for natural and built assets) as an environmental scientist working in the greater New York City area and has a manuscript in review with AAPG Bulletin. He can be reached at

Keelan Umbarger (B.S. ’15) graduated with his M.S. in Geology from the University of Kansas in August of 2018. He currently works as a geologist for EOG Resources in Artesia, NM. Keelan can be reached at keelan_

Julie Zurbuchen (B.S. ’14) successfully defended her PhD in Earth Science at UC Santa Barbara this past summer. She is now excited to embark on a career as an exploration geologist with BP in Houston

Professor Emeriti

Jack Sharp shares, “Carol and I had two visits to Canada — Toronto & Winnipeg this year. Finally, the GRA Memoir (#215, The Edwards Aquifer: The Past, Present, and Future of a Vital Water Resource) is in print and may be ready by the Annual Meeting in Phoenix.

James Sprinkle says, “This was my 6th year as a Professor Emeritus. Last fall, I was honored in a full-day session on Echinoderm Paleobiology (24 talks total) at the 2018 Geological Society of America Annual Meeting in Indianapolis, plus a poster session the next day with 15 posters. These sessions were organized by two of my former Ph.D. students, Colin Sumrall and Chris Schneider. After this meeting, my wife G.K. and I rented a large SUV and drove east about 110 miles to near Dayton, Ohio, where we picked up a large collection of nice Paleozoic fossils that were being donated to our Non-vertebrate Paleontology Laboratory here at UT. We then drove back southwest through several states to Austin, where we unloaded this collection and turned in the vehicle. Even after eight months of work at one evening a week, I’m still inventorying this large collection and finding new surprises. My work load got heavier in the spring when I became a co-author on three new projects, and two others were finally completed and submitted for publication. A multi-author rebuttal paper led by Samuel Zamora of Spain argues whether an Early Cambrian deuterostome might be the earliest fossil echinoderm; this paper is now in review. Another joint paper led by my colleague Tom Guensburg at the Field Museum described a new Early Ordovician crinoid from western Utah, where we’ve been doing field work for the past 30 years; this paper is also now in review. Another huge project led by Peter Jell in Brisbane, Australia, describing several new or poorly known Middle Cambrian echinoderms based on over 800 silicified plates is nearly finished 17 years after we collected the 1st samples. Another smaller project, also led by Samuel Zamora, describes a new flattened echinoderm from the Middle Ordovician of Maryland. Finally, a member of our local fossil club got really lucky on the club’s field trip up to southern Oklahoma in April and found a small, complete, and beautifully preserved starfish at one of our Late Silurian fossil localities, the 1st starfish ever found on this trip. Dan Blake at Illinois, our US fossil starfish expert, and I have now written a short paper that is nearly finished describing this starfish as a new genus and species named after the collector. Hopefully, two of these five research projects will be published, or at least put online, by the end of this year.”


Alan Dulaney (M.A.’75 in Anthropology) says, “August 2019: retired as Water Policy Administrator, City of Peoria, AZ.”

William I. (Bill) Woods says: This year was mostly a “Texas” year, although Francisco and I did take his Mother to El Salvador to visit family in Feb-March. In April we stayed a week at Palo Duro Canyon State Park and hiked there, and visited Caprock Canyon State Park. Both are beautiful places. In May we spent a rainy week in Port Aransas, but made the most of it by visiting the Texas State Aquarium and Our Lady of Corpus Christi church. In June our nephew and his family from Brasil visited for two weeks. I’m still working out at GRE 3xweek. I’d love to hear from former faculty, staff, and student friends.