MESA, Arizona – Feb. 2, 2022 – Niccole Villa Cerveny, Ph.D., Mesa Community College geography and sustainability professor, joins the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine as a member of the U.S. National Committee for the International Union of Geosciences (USNC/IUGS). The term of her volunteer service is from Jan. 12, 2022 through Dec. 31, 2025.
The eight-member USNC/IUGS committee serves as a focal point for United States discussions on promotion strategies for the advancement of geosciences, such as geology and geography. The committee represents the U.S. in international scientific organizations and meetings, provides guidance and input to the IUGS and plans and implements U.S. participation in IUGS programs.
Of the invitation to serve Cerveny said, "I am honored by the opportunity to represent geosciences and to demonstrate the excellence and great potential for two-year colleges on the national and international stage."
Cerveny, a first-generation Hispanic, is the first community college representative to serve on this prestigious national committee. An expert on rock decay and rock art stability, Cerveny’s expertise has taken her to amazing places across our planet including working with the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Project in the Wadi Rum Protected Area in Jordan, summiting Mount Kilimanjaro in Africa with her husband and educational adventures in Iceland.
A researcher herself, Cerveny is the author of many scholarly articles chronicling her research and endeavors. She is passionate about helping students conduct undergraduate research and develop leadership skills.
“I think that students need more guidance within all aspects of their college experience,” Cerveny said. “Consequently, every student in my classes conducts research. Not only does problem-based, active learning substantially benefit STEM students at any level, it also has a great capacity to inspire seasoned professionals.
“I find teaching a rewarding experience and know that geology touches everyone on the planet in a meaningful way,” said Cerveny. “I look forward to sharing what I learn from participation on the USNC/IUGS committee and the focus of IUGS programs.”
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Mesa Community College is nationally recognized as an Aspen Prize Top 150 U.S. Community College and is known for service learning, career and technical programs, civic engagement and innovative approaches to education. For more than 50 years, the college has served as a resource for career readiness, transfer education, workforce development and lifelong learning. Host to more than 30,000 students annually, MCC offers degree and certificate programs at its two campuses, additional locations and a combination of online formats. Through Guided Pathways with Integrated Support Services and a commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion, MCC is transforming how it champions student success, college completion, university transfer and career attainment and advancement. MCC is a Hispanic Serving Institution and nearly 50% of its students are the first in their families to attend college. Its American Indian Institute serves students from the 22 federally recognized tribes of Arizona as well as out-of-state tribes. MCC has the largest indigenous student population of all the Maricopa Community Colleges. The diverse student body includes more than 300 international students from 55 countries. Award-winning faculty are dedicated to student success, providing the education and training that empowers MCC students to successfully transfer to a university or compete in the workforce. Located in the East Valley of Phoenix, Arizona, on the traditional territories of the O'odham, Piipaash and Yavapai Peoples, MCC is one of 10 colleges in the Maricopa County Community College District. Visit mesacc.edu to learn more.
Maricopa Community Colleges are individually accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) -- hlcommission.org.
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