Cynthia Dusel-Bacon, B.A. Geology,
Attended 1972-74


Cynthia Dusel-Bacon grew up in the Santa Clara Valley. She earned a BA in Spanish from U.C. Santa Barbara in 1968, a Secondary teaching Credential from San Jose State University in 1969, and spent the next two 1/2 years teaching Spanish in Healdsburg and Windsor Junior High Schools. In 1972, Cynthia resigned from her teaching job and spent the next two years at Sonoma State University working towards a BA in geology, her true passion. In 1974, after being unable to get a student loan from SSU, Cynthia transferred and finished her BA at San Jose State in 1975.

The summer following her graduation, she joined the U.S. Geological Survey's Branch of Alaskan Geology, headquartered in Menlo Park. In 1977, during her third field season in Alaska, she was severely mauled during an hour-long attack by a black bear. This experience nearly cost Cynthia her life. In the 22 years since the incident, Cynthia has found ways to grow and expand in her career as a USGS research geologist. She has published her studies of metamorphic rocks from throughout Alaska in four USGS Professional Papers and a chapter in the Alaska volume of the Decade of North American Geology series. In 1996, Cynthia began a new project on the potential for zinc-lead-silver deposits in east-central Alaska. In addition to her USGS work, she recently completed a six year term as an Associate Editor of the Geological Society of America Bulletin.

Cynthia has received several awards from the USGS for her scientific achievements, and was selected by the U.S. Government as one of 10 Outstanding Handicapped Federal Employees for 1981. Dusel-Bacon has also played an active role as a mentor to girls and disabled students interested in earth science careers. Her life story and strategies to get around her disability have been told in many books, and at numerous disability-focused meetings.

Cynthia lives with her husband and 13 year old son in Menlo Park.