PSU’s Dr. Mary Ann McGarry to Study Volcanoes in Italy

January 20th, 2012 by blyndes

Plymouth, N.H.– A Plymouth State University professor is heading to Italy to study the environmental impacts of volcanic eruptions.  Mary Ann McGarry, Associate Professor of Environmental Science and Policy and Science Education, has been chosen for a faculty fellowship with Study Abroad Italy (SAI). McGarry said she was honored to be chosen for the fellowship, which begins next year.

“In New Hampshire we only have ancient remnants of volcanoes to show students,”said McGarry. “Studying potential impacts of active volcanoes, especially emergency preparedness plans, and residents’ attitudes towards living with the threat of a major volcanic eruption will enhance my teaching at PSU. I will integrate information and lessons learned from my research, interviews, encounters and field experiences into dynamic online resources for environmental geology students at PSU, SAI and any others located around the globe who are interested in accessing online information on volcanoes and the risks they pose.”

McGarry will concentrate her research on Etna, one of Europe’s most active volcanoes, which poses a threat to nearby Sicilian villages, and the infamous Vesuvius, looming above the millions of residents in the Naples area.  She will explore efforts to mitigate loss of life and damage to property from the active volcanoes in Italy (Etna and Vesuvius primarily, but also Campi Flegrei, Ischia, Larderello, Pantelleria, Vulcano, and Vulsini).

Mary Ann McGarry

“I want to learn more about human and societal issues that arise during an emerging volcanic crisis and how communication can be improved between scientists, emergency managers, educators, media, and private citizens,” McGarry said. “PSU students are more likely to know about the effects of floods, now, I’ll be able to return with current data–interviews and stories–to raise their awareness regarding potential disruptions from volcanoes.”

Julie Bernier, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, is pleased that SAI has named Dr. McGarry as one of its fellows.

“In addition to the obvious research opportunities, this experience will allow Dr. McGarry to further develop some of our key partnerships in Italy creating new opportunities for our students,” said Bernier.

Debra Regan, Director of PSU’s Global Education Office, said the fellowship opportunity is a major benefit for the University.

“PSU has enjoyed an affiliation with SAI since 2003, said Regan, “We are thrilled that both Professor McGarry and Plymouth State have been nationally recognized with this award.”

At PSU, McGarry specializes in science education and water resource outreach. She has received state, national, and international recognition for team-developed programs. She served as Director of Education for Maine Lakes Conservancy Institute, 2000-2004, and she founded Maine Project WET (Water Education for Teachers) and was the state coordinator from 1995 to 2005. She completed a fellowship with the Cypriot government in 2001 to work on water conservation education. She helped direct a 5-year National Science Foundation (NSF) funded project entitled Maine Math Science Teaching Excellence Collaborative andserved as advisor to another NSF multi-year initiative—the Bioregional Outdoor Education Project in the Four Corners area of the United States; she remains active with this program offering a travel study course to the region. From 2007–2009, Mary Ann served as Director of Education for the Hubbard Brook Research Foundation while remaining a PSU faculty member. Mary Ann also serves as a faculty member for the Pakistani Educational Leadership Institute on the PSU campus every summer assisting with place-based community initiatives around environmental stewardship and cultural heritage preservation.

She earned a bachelor’s in Environmental Education from Dartmouth College, a master’s in Earth Science from Northern Arizona University and a doctorate in Science Education from the University of Maine.

For more information about this release, contact Bruce Lyndes, PSU News Services Mgr., or call (603) 535-2775.