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Finn to Become President-elect of the American Geophysical Union
Released: 6/30/2010 5:31:25 PM

Contact Information:
U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey
Office of Communication
119 National Center
Reston, VA 20192
Heidi Koontz 1-click interview
Phone: 303-202-4763

Marisa Lubeck 1-click interview
Phone: 303-202-4765



Dr. Carol A. Finn, a U. S. Geological Survey geophysicist, was recently named President-elect of the American Geophysical Union (AGU), effective July 1, 2010.

Finn, an AGU member since 1980 and USGS scientist since 1978, will be the third female president of the 91-year-old organization, and third USGS employee to hold the post.

“I know of no greater honor than to serve AGU as its President,” Finn said. “AGU’s preeminence as the best Earth and space science society and emphasis on scientific excellence led me to join at the beginning of my career.”

Finn’s major research interests include geological interpretation of potential field data, volcano hazards, and tectonics. Her most significant contributions to the geosciences include magnetic and electromagnetic imaging of collapse-prone, water-saturated, altered portions of several Cascade volcanoes; geophysical mapping of sub-ice geology in Antarctica relevant for ice sheet dynamics and climate change studies; and potential field delineation of modern and ancient subduction systems. 

Alongside her work with the USGS, Finn served AGU as a member from 1992-1998; Chair from 1998-2002; ex officio member of the Budget and Finance Committee from 2006-present; member of the Special Committee on section structure in 2001; member from 2002-2004 and Chair from 2004-2006 of the Statutes and Bylaws Committee; ex officio member of the Audit and Legal Affairs Committee from 2006-present; 2008-2009 member of the Future Focus Task Force; member of Strategic Planning Committee from 1998-2002, 2006-2007, and 2009-present; Chair of the Executive Review Committee from 2006-present; and General Secretary from 2006-present.

“I welcome this opportunity to help AGU expand its role to advance Earth and space science and contribute to the critical challenges facing humanity today,” Finn said.

 Finn received her bachelor’s degree in Geology from Wellesley College in 1978, and her master’s and Ph.D. degrees in Geophysics from the University of Colorado at Boulder in 1982 and 1988, respectively.

She was a Visiting (Gledden) Fellow at the University of Western Australia in 2002; a Visiting Fellow with the Japan Geological Survey from 1990-1992; a member of the Department of Geological Sciences Advisory Board for the University of Colorado from 2002-2006; and a member of the Advisory board for the Center for Remote Sensing of Ice Sheets at the University of Kansas from 2005-present.

Of Finn’s 81 referred studies, 23 were in AGU publications. Her honors include annual USGS awards for project management from 1999-2007; the naming of Finn Spur in Antarctica (79o 17’ S, 156o 37’ E) by the U.S. Board of Geographic Names, in recognition of her 2002 Antarctic project leadership; 2004 Fellow of the Geological Society of America; the Department of the Interior Superior Service Award in 2007; and the Colorado School of Mines Heiland Lecturer in 2007.

Finn resides in Boulder, Colo. with her husband and son. The entire family loves to travel—her three year old son has already been to five countries and 11 states.

USGS Director Marcia McNutt was President of AGU from 2000-2002.

The AGU was established in 1919 by the National Research Council and for more than 50 years operated as an unincorporated affiliate of the National Academy of Sciences. In 1972 AGU was incorporated in the District of Columbia and membership was opened to scientists and students worldwide.

A podcast interview with Finn is available online.


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