Katya Beener

What is your current professional role?
I currently work as a physical science technician for the USGS Earthquake Science Center, and as a lab technician at CSUF Coastal and Marine Geology Lab. In both labs I analyze surface samples and cores collected from beaches and lakes in California to investigate past climatic conditions of the area. I am also a MSc candidate at CSU Fullerton.

What aspects of marine or coastal geoscience do you work on (or have you worked on in the past)?
In general, I study recent changes in sedimentation in coastal areas, usually estuaries and marshes. This includes provenance, texture, water content, composition, accumulation rates, and more. These data allow us to understand how our coasts are changing due to natural climate variability as well as human activities.

How did you first become interested in science?
I always enjoyed science, but never considered a career in it until I was halfway through my undergraduate degree. I took a climate change course, and it was the highlight of my semester. I had never taken a class that I was as excited to go to every single day. Once I realized how much I loved geology and science, the decision to pursue it was easy.

Who have been your greatest mentors?
Some of my greatest mentors include Jennifer Leidelmeijer, Matthew Kirby, and Joe Carlin. All these people have been instrumental in my success as a scientist. Matthew Kirby sparked my initial interest in geology and has continued to support me through my journey. He has provided me with a solid background in paleoclimatology, and I currently work in his lab. Jen is the reason I pursued a higher degree in geoscience. She showed me it was possible, helped me make connections, and continues to advise me whenever I need help or encouragement. Joe Carlin has provided me with more opportunities than I can count as both my undergraduate and graduate advisor. He has been so dedicated to my success. He is incredibly patient, understanding, and fun to work with.  

What advice would you give to someone just starting out in this field?
Make meaningful connections with mentors and colleagues! It is so beneficial to have good relationships with other people in your field. There are so many different perspectives and opportunities that these connections can provide you with. They can help you become a well-rounded scientist and give you moral support. This can be as simple as shooting an email to a professor whose work you enjoy, attending a meeting for a local geology/marine science society, or attending a bigger meeting like GSA connects!

Where is your favorite coastal or marine location (includes paleo-coastal or -marine)?
This is too tough to answer!

What are some things (not including work) that you are passionate about?
I love theatre, music, embroidery, animals, and coffee.

You get a chance to relax with your favorite meal and your favorite music- what are you eating and listening to?
I am eating fettuccine alfredo with red pepper and listening to Hozier’s latest album.

As a new student representative for the division, what would you like to see the division accomplish moving forward?
I would love to see a sense of community, especially among students. I have benefited from friendships with other students, and I would love for all GSA student members to have that opportunity. I would also like to help make coastal and marine science more accessible to everyone. This will hopefully include an increased social media presence, outreach events, and mixers.