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Charles Marshall  A letter from the Director, September 2012

The beginning of the new academic year sees great new beginnings for UCMP — while over the summer many of our community were off doing field-work, attending meetings, or taking the time to write and think, we were preparing for the arrivals of Seth Finnegan, our new Assistant Professor fresh from his postdoc at CalTech, and Lisa White, who serves as Judy Scotchmoor's successor as the Director of Education and Outreach (Judy's contributions were highlighted in our recent special issue of the UCMP News, something we were able to put together without her knowledge!). We are very fortunate to have been able to recruit two such outstanding people and I am very excited by the new opportunities they bring to us. We also welcome four outstanding new graduate students (two of whom won NSF Graduate Research Fellowships) and several new undergraduates into the fold.

During the summer, UCMP also hosted its fourth annual Evolution Institute attended by more than 30 science educators, many travelling from outside the Bay Area to take advantage of a stunning slate of speakers, an evolution field trip to the Oakland Zoo, and effective strategies and resources for integrating evolution into their science teaching. Our students and volunteers continued to work on our "hidden archive" project (mentioned in earlier newsletters), and many of those archives will be incorporated into what will prove to be a spectacular 2013 UCMP calendar, thanks to Dave Smith and volunteer photographer, Dave Strauss.

I am also pleased to announce that all our grant writing work over the last two years is really paying off — we have received a grant from CalTrans that will enable us to re-open the fossil preparation lab, and we have been awarded a large NSF collections improvement grant to rehouse and digitally image the last portion of the Menlo Park USGS invertebrate paleontology collection, some 100,000 fossils from 6,650 localities. You will learn more about both of these over upcoming months. So, UCMP continues to fire on all cylinders and we appreciate all of you who have helped with contributions to UCMP — these have been crucial to our success, and we are very grateful.

Sincerely,
Charles Marshall
Director, UCMP
 

Photo by Jennifer Skene