Distinguished Alumni

Cynthia A. Evans, Ph.D., Class of 1973

Cindy was a science nerd at Hamburg High School, her love of science nurtured by her teachers and fellow students. After graduating, Cindy packed up her slide rule and trained as a geologist and oceanographer, earning a degree in geology from University of Rochester (1977) and a Ph.D. (1983) from the Scripps Institute of Oceanography, University of California, San Diego. She participated in several field and ship-based campaigns studying rocks from the Earth’s oceans, taught geology at Colgate University, conducted research at Columbia’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, then moved to Houston, Texas in 1988 to work at NASA. Today, Cindy is Chief of the Astromaterials Research and Exploration Science Division at the Johnson Space Center. Her division curates all of NASA’s extraterrestrial samples, including the Apollo samples from the Moon, meteorites, and samples from asteroids, comets, and the sun. In her 30 years at NASA, Cindy counts herself lucky to have worked in a variety of roles supporting science activities for human spaceflight. She trains astronauts in Earth observations and geology; managed the Image Science & Analysis Lab that provided critical information to analyze the Space Shuttle Columbia accident; and developed Earth observation programs for the Space Shuttle, the Russian Mir Space Station and the International Space Station. Field work remains a core component of Cindy’s work. She collaborates with other scientists, astronaut crews and mission control team members in field activities to test NASA hardware and science operations directed at the future exploration of other planetary surfaces like the Moon and Mars. Cindy was a member of the 2015-16 Antarctic Search for Meteorite (ANSMET) field team, collecting meteorites in Antarctica’s Miller Range for 5 weeks.