Frank A. Corsetti, associate professor of Earth Sciences, received his Ph.D. from the University of California Santa Barbara, B.S. from the University of California, Davis, and has been at USC for the past 8 years. He won the USC Mellon Award for Graduate Mentoring (2007), the Sigma Gamma Epsilon professor of the year award (2001), and commendations from the Geological Society of America (2005) and the Society for Sedimentary Geology (2008). He was recently invited to be a member of the USC Graduate School Committee on Fellowships, Prizes, and Awards. He developed and teaches a professional development course for incoming graduate students in Earth Sciences in addition to his other courses, and has been the Sigma Gamma Epsilon undergraduate honor society faculty liaison since 2000.
Frank studies the co-evolution of the Earth and its biosphere from a geobiologic perspective, searching for traces of life in deep (and not so deep) time—how has life affected the history of our planet, and how has the history of our planet affected the evolution of life? He is probably most noted for his studies of life during “Snowball Earth”, the most severe glaciation known that occurred ~700 million years ago, but other recent projects include the origin of animals, mass extinctions, and investigations into new biosignatures for use with ancient rocks on Earth and other locales in our solar system (e.g., Mars). Frank has studied rocks as old as 3.5 billion years and as young as those forming today, and field sites are located in the US, Canada, Mexico, Peru, Australia, Namibia, and China. Funding sources include NASA and the National Science Foundation.
Prior to his career as an Earth scientist, Frank was a professional sound engineer, and has maintained an interest in sound reinforcement and how it affects the learning environment. As a CET Fellow, Frank would like to investigate if sound in the classroom is relevant—USC has policies for the hearing impaired, but should we have them for the rest of the student body, too? Frank is also interested in how information is conveyed in professional settings, with special relevance to “the job talk” and presenting research at professional meetings, and hopes to continue CET’s leadership role in preparing our students to make the leap from student to professional.