For Immediate Release—Friday, March 15, 2007


Mary E. McCrank

Media Relations Officer

(585) 245-5516

Jill S. Schneiderman of Vassar College to Deliver Fourth Annual SUNY Geneseo American Rock Salt Lecture

GENESEO, N.Y.— Jill S. Schneiderman, associate dean of the faculty and professor of geology at Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., will deliver the fourth annual American Rock Salt Lecture on Geology at 7:30 p.m. April 5 in 202 Newton Hall at the State University of New York at Geneseo. The lecture, titled, "Justice, Leadership and Integrated Science," is free and open to the public.

Schneiderman's interests include geology and environmental issues, feminism and the history of science. Her research topics range from the formation of mountain ranges to the geological history of the Nile and Yangtze deltas to erosion and water quality watersheds feeding New York City's water supply.

In 2003, Schneiderman was a Fulbright Fellow at the Centre for Gender and Development Studies at the University of the West Indies in Trinidad and Tobago, where she pursued research on women and water resources on the island. That same year, she published her book, "The Earth Around Us: Maintaining a Livable Planet," which was named one of the top 10 books of the year by Discover magazine.

During her Geneseo lecture, she will discuss her study of access to the public water supply in Trinidad and Tobago.

As Aristotle observed, justice requires that "equals must be treated equally." Therefore, distinctions of race or sex, for example, are not a legitimate basis for differential treatment. Examples of inequitable distribution of environmental risks and harms as well as unequal access to resources beg the question, "Is society equal enough if it guarantees everyone the same opportunities, or should it try to achieve equality of condition?"

As an answer to this question, Schneiderman will draw from history of science as well as contemporary issues in environmental science and discuss her interdisciplinary research with social scientists.

Geneseo Assistant Professor of Geological Sciences Amy Sheldon said Schneiderman is a strong example of a successful professor in the geosciences field and that her talk will tie in with the college's yearlong commemoration of the death of suffragist Susan B. Anthony.

"I think it's important to demonstrate to our students—male and female—that women are equally successful in the geosciences," said Sheldon.

"Jill came highly recommended. After reading about her research, there was no question that she was the perfect person for the talk this year. Her research is interdisciplinary and not just between the natural sciences, but between the natural and social sciences. That was a nice fit with geology's first year in the new Integrated Science Building. That her research has focused on the environment and women is a wonderful way to spur discussion on a Susan B. Anthony theme: equality."

In addition to delivering the annual lecture, Schneiderman will talk with students about her research, graduate school, career options and other topics of interest.

"Hosting a successful female geologist could help some of our students identify themselves with career and research choices they had not yet considered," said Sheldon.

Schneiderman received her bachelor's in geology from Yale University and her master's and doctorate in geology from Harvard University.

Schneiderman teaches earth history, sedimentology and feminism and environmentalism.

With assistance from a National Science Foundation grant, she taught a first-in-the-nation interdisciplinary course on geology and environmental justice. In the course, students examined the geology behind environmental problems across the globe and investigated race, class and gender issues.

American Rock Salt Company LLC and Geneseo's department of geological sciences formed a partnership in 2003, and the first American Rock Salt lecture was held in the spring of 2004. This important educational partnership is a model program that offers a mutually beneficial relationship between the company and the college. As a result of the partnership, Geneseo students intern at American Rock Salt and tour the expansive mine; the company provides support for undergraduate research; and company executives and other experts deliver talks on campus, including the annual American Rock Salt lecture.

"American Rock Salt is pleased to continue its support for the geological sciences at SUNY Geneseo, said Joseph G. Bucci '67 Vice Chairman of American Rock Salt. We are proud to help bring speakers like Jill Schneiderman to campus so students and the entire community can learn more about the way science impacts our lives at so many levels."

For more information on Schneiderman's visit, contact Sheldon at (585) 245-5291 or Schneiderman can be contacted at (845) 437-5542 or