GSA Connects 2021 in Portland, Oregon

Paper No. 140-1
Presentation Time: 8:05 AM


KELLEY, Patricia, Earth and Ocean Sciences, University of North Carolina Wilmington, 601 S. College Road, Wilmington, NC 28403

Joanne Kluessendorf recognized that women are underrepresented in the geosciences, including paleontology, and that gender inequality, bias, harassment, and discrimination are real. Her concern about diversity and inclusion in the geosciences spurred her involvement in the Association for Women Geoscientists (AWG), which exists to encourage the participation of women in the geosciences and to enhance their professional development. She devoted much of her too-short life to this mission, serving on the AWG Board of Directors as an At-Large Delegate, as Editor for 6 years, and on several important AWG committees. To each responsibility Joanne brought energy, insight, professionalism, humor, and innovation.

Joanne was a paleontologist, specializing in the Silurian faunas of the North American mid-continent. She forged a partnership between AWG and the Paleontological Society (PS), serving as liaison between the two organizations. In this capacity, she established the Winifred Goldring Award in 1998, given jointly by the two societies to promising women paleontology students (either graduate or undergraduate). As a recipient of various small grants when she was a student, Joanne wanted to encourage outstanding women students to pursue careers in paleontology. The award was named for Winifred Goldring in recognition of Goldring’s pioneering roles as State Paleontologist of New York (1939) and first woman president of the Paleontological Society (1949). Awardees received memberships in both AWG and the PS.

Joanne was the driving force behind the Goldring Award; when Joanne’s health failed, others recognized the importance of the Goldring Award and stepped up to continue her legacy. The Award is now administered by a committee of dedicated individuals and supported by funds from generous donors to the AWG Foundation and from the PS. This support has enabled current awards of $2000 to three graduate students annually; a separate award has been established for undergraduate students in paleontology. Since 1998, the Goldring Award has been presented to 25 women, who enthusiastically attest to the difference that receipt of the Award made in their lives. Contributions made by these women and others will be highlighted in this session.