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Michèle Koppes
Michèle Koppes — 18th GSA/USGS Congressional Science Fellow. She worked on the staff of Congressman Jay Inslee (D–Washington State, First District) from September 2003 through August 2004.

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Congressional Science Fellowship

Hall of Fame

Michèle Koppes

Michèle Koppes, a doctoral candidate at the University of Washington, was appointed the GSA-U.S. Geological Survey Congressional Science Fellow for 2003-2004. Koppes' broad research interests are in the processes that shape our landscape and in the ways in which these processes reflect natural climate variability and anthropomorphic change. Focusing on the impact of glacial systems in landscape evolution and the glacial sedimentary record as an indicator of recent climate change, her research has taken her to the fjords of Alaska and Patagonia, the high mountain glaciers of Central Asia and the margins of the western Antarctica. She has also enjoyed sharing her research by developing and teaching courses on glaciers and geomorphology at both the high school and university level. Outside of her primary research interests, she has contributed to projects as varied as determining landslide and earthquake hazards in Puget Sound, developing environmental clean-up strategies at Hanford nuclear reservation and assessing the impact of managed forest practices on the health of New England forests. Koppes received her M.S. in Geology and certificate in environmental management from the University of Washington. She received her B.A. in geology from Williams College in 1995, where she first became a member of GSA.

A Dutch citizen, Koppes has traveled to every continent and lived in countries as disparate as Switzerland and the Philippines. In so doing, she learned to appreciate the importance of communication between disciplines and cultures in the global management of climate, the ocean, the atmosphere, and natural resources. She is interested in how the findings of the geological community at large can be applied to political, societal, legal, and economic issues confronting this nation and the global public. 'I believe that we, as earth scientists, have a duty to lend our unique perspective on the relationship among society, the landscapes we inhabit and the natural resources we rely on to the making of sound public policy,' said Koppes. She is particularly concerned with the differences between the scientific and legislative views of risk and uncertainty in decision-making. An active advocate of scientific literacy as a tool to bridging this communication gap, Koppes spends her summers teaching field glaciology and environmental conservation techniques to high school students in the national parks.

Koppes was honored to be the GSA/USGS Congressional Fellow, and excited to promote the role of the earth sciences to this nation's environmental and technological policy decisions. She was particularly interested in working on climate change issues, public lands management, sustainable resource use, and science education.