Our Team

Maeve Boland, Director of Geoscience Policy

Maeve directs the Geoscience Policy and Critical Issues programs. She ensures that the programs link the shared policy interests of AGI’s 51 member societies with policy makers and provide impartial geoscience and policy information to many audiences. She leads collaborative projects to develop multi-society consensus documents, including AGI’s Guidelines for Ethical Professional Conduct and Geoscience for America’s Critical Needs: Invitation to a National Policy Dialogue. She is particularly interested in showcasing the importance of the geosciences in society and promoting the value of applied geoscience.

Maeve received Bachelor of Arts and Master of Science degrees in Geology from Trinity College, Dublin. She worked in mineral exploration and oil and gas data analysis before joining the Industrial Minerals Section of the Geological Survey of Ireland. She earned her Ph.D. in Geology from Colorado School of Mines where she is an affiliated faculty member in the Department of Geology and Geological Engineering. She is also an adjunct professor at University College, Dublin. She was the 2009‒10 American Geophysical Union Congressional Fellow and spent 2010‒12 as an American Association for the Advancement of Science Executive Branch Policy Fellow with the Energy and Mineral Resources Programs at the U.S. Geological Survey. She joined the American Geosciences Institute as Director of Geoscience Policy in February 2013.

Cassaundra Rose, Critical Issues Program Manager

Cassaundra manages Critical Issues staff and operations, writes information products and blog posts for the website, and manages social media strategies and outreach efforts for the program. She also organizes and moderates webinars and is responsible for producing and managing Critical Issues Forums for AGI. Her primary areas of interest are in climate science, natural hazard monitoring and mitigation, and water resource issues.

Cassaundra earned her Ph.D. in Earth and Environmental Science from Columbia University, and also holds a Master of Science degree in Geology from the University of California at Riverside, and a Bachelor of Science degree in Geology from Florida State University. Her graduate research focused on past climate changes; specifically long-term changes in rainfall and runoff patterns and vegetation in western North America and Africa.

Michelle Barreto, Geoscience Policy Associate

Michelle communicates with a broad range of audiences in the geoscience community and with policy-makers at the federal level. She writes and edits news briefs, provides legislative analysis and reports, collaborates in various science policy coalitions and working groups, engages with congressional offices, and organizes meetings and briefings on Capitol Hill. She also supervises interns and develops information products, including the Geoscience Policy Monthly Review, factsheets, and social media content.

Michelle earned her B.S. in Marine Science from the University of South Carolina, with areas of emphasis in biological oceanography, coastal resource management, and marine policy. Michelle previously worked at the U.S. House of Representatives before joining the American Geosciences Institute in March 2017.

Ben Mandler, AGI/Schlumberger Fellow in Geoscience Communication

Ben writes and curates information products for the website, including case studies, factsheets, FAQs, and blog posts. He also organizes and moderates webinars, manages the Maps & Visualizations portal, and co-organizes social media efforts for the program. His areas of particular interest in the program include human-hazard feedbacks, relationships between energy and water, and modern demand for mineral resources.

Ben earned his Ph.D. in Geology from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, specializing in petrology, volcanology, and planetary science. He also holds a Master of Science degree in Geology from the University of Bristol (UK).

Abby Ackerman, Policy Intern

Abby actively works with federal agencies and Congress to represent the geoscience community and promote sound public policy in Washington, D.C. She also manages the Geoscience Policy program’s social media presence, writes policy updates, and produces other materials for geoscientists’ use when engaging with federal policy.

Abby recently graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Geology from Bryn Mawr College. While at Bryn Mawr, she studied coal-related acid mine drainage (AMD) in Pennsylvania, which introduced her to the important role geoscience should play in informing policy.

Katja Luxem, Critical Issues Intern

Katja works with the Critical Issues team to write and curate information products for the website. She also co-organizes the team's social media efforts. Her main interests are in water quality and resource issues and the role of microbial activity on the environment.

Katja is currently pursuing a Ph.D. degree in Geosciences at Princeton University. The goal of her graduate research is to improve our understanding of microbial nitrogen fixation, the process that converts inert nitrogen gas into nutritious and fertilizing ammonium, and thereby plays a fundamental role in ecosystem fertility and global nutrient cycling. Prior to her graduate work, Katja studied chemistry (B.S. 2014) and geobiology (M.S. 2014) at Caltech and did research at ETH Zurich as a Fulbright Fellow.