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Constance Sancetta
National Science Foundation
Arlington, Virginia

Dr. Sancetta: Looking back, I can see that I fell in love with paleontology at the age of four, when I learned about trilobites. I collected rocks and seashells throughout school, and read popular library books about fossils. At Brown University I created a major in paleontology and evolution, taking courses in geology and biology and doing small research projects with a professor (1967-1971). I stayed on at Brown for two more years and got a master's degree for research on the microscopic fossils of plankton from ocean sediments (1973). Three years at Oregon State University led to a Ph.D. in geological oceanography (1976). After two years as a post-doctoral fellow at Stanford I moved to Columbia University, where I spent 15 years as a research scientist studying marine plankton and microfossils. Since 1994 I have been on the staff of the National Science Foundation, a government agency that makes grants to support basic research, mostly by academic scientists. I still do the same kind of research as before, but most of my time is now spent in reviewing research proposals by others and making recommendations as to the best candidates for rewards. In addition to research, I have also been an officer in various professional societies - including helping to establish the Association for Women Geoscientists - and have served on national and international committees and advisory panels. (The opinions described here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the National Science Foundation.)

Dr. Sancetta's comments on working in academia.

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