Stephen joined CEPS in September 2010 as a postdoctoral scientist. He will be working with Dr. Jim Zimbelman on the geologic mapping of the Medusae Fossae Formation on Mars and assisting with the investigations of Mars analogs, such as: a) depositional and erosional shoreline features on Earth that are being used to understand possible pluvial features in crater basins on Mars and b) transverse aeolian ridges in the Argentine Puna Plateau.
Stephen earned a BS in environmental science from the University of Toledo, and earned his MS in geology in 2002 from University of South Carolina. Afterwards, he worked in environmental consulting industry for a couple years. During this time, he went to Saudi Arabia to do field work as a geologist with a team of scientists working on an environmental impact assessment of the oil spill-impacted coastline of the Persian Gulf. This work involved interpreting coastal geomorphology and sediment stratigraphy, collecting samples and surveying the biota. Stephen then worked in the U.S. until 2004 when he returned to do graduate research in geology, specifically aeolian processes, thermal infrared remote-sensing and spectroscopy of sand and dust. In 2006, he was awarded a three-year Earth System Science Graduate Student Fellowship award, and in December 2009, received his PhD in Geology and Planetary Science at the University of Pittsburgh. During his PhD, Stephen accumulated several years of teaching experience in geology and environmental science, and he conducted field work in the Gran Desierto and White Sand to study sand dunes and on the island of Tenerife, Spain to study the effects of Saharan desert dust on climate. He made contributions to the NASA ASTER and HySPIRI instrument science team meetings, and presented at national and international conferences, such as ICAR, AGU, and the Planetary Dunes Workshops (2008 and 2010). His current research interests are focused on terrestrial and planetary geology using techniques in remote-sensing, field work, and laboratory analysis. Other broad interests still include science education, environmental issues, geologic hazards, and the implications science has for larger societal-scale issues, such as climate and land management. He continues to collaborate on Earth and Mars studies of dune migration, as well as the chemical, spectral, and physical properties of sand and dust.