Assistant Professor of Geology Evan Dethier comes to Occidental from Bowdoin College, where he was a visiting assistant professor in the Department of Earth and Oceanographic Studies. He has a master’s and Ph.D. in Earth science from Dartmouth College and a B.A. in geosciences and English from Williams College. Dethier’s teaching and research focuses on water—flooding, drought, and water quality—using data science to better understand Earth’s threatened water resources. As a Ph.D. student and postdoctoral researcher at Dartmouth, he built on his master's work studying rivers in New England, tackling issues related to climate change, floods, and land use change, working on human-water-environment interactions.
What attracted you to Occidental?
I was drawn to Occidental by the value placed on undergraduate education and faculty collaboration, especially in the Geology Department. I also study modern challenges with water resources, which could not be more pressing than here in Los Angeles and the Southwest.
Midway through your first semester, what are your impressions of Oxy students?
Occidental students seem excited to be at school and around each other, which is great to see after some challenging years with remote and hybrid learning. My class has taken several field trips this fall to significant geological locations in and near LA. My students have had a great time re-discovering the place they live and seeing it from a new perspective.
Where does your interest in Earth science come from?
I’ve always enjoyed being outside and working through interesting problems to try to find a solution. Earth Science combines these interests and I get to ask and answer questions about how the world works and how our society should work to live sustainably in our natural setting. I also love teaching, and the experiential learning that is celebrated in the Earth Sciences is always fun and rewarding.
Do you have a favorite class that you are teaching, and why?
I’m teaching a course where students learn field methods for Geology, largely through hands-on experience outdoors and in the computer lab. It’s helped me gain some familiarity with the region and has been a great introduction to Occidental students.