EPS Instructors - Santa Barbara City College Skip to content

EPS Instructors

Geordie Armstrong, Professor
Email: garmstrong2@pipeline.sbcc.edu

Geordie studied geography and human environmental relationships at San Francisco State, with her research focusing on women in illegal economies and the biogeography of Central America and the Sierra Nevada mountains. She has taught geography at SBCC since 2008, and in the past taught at Ventura College and Antioch University.

Courses Taught: Human Geography, World Regional Geography, California Geography, Physical Geography, and Economic Geography.


Danielle D'Alfonoso, Instructor
Email: dcdalfonso@pipeline.sbcc.edu

Danielle studied geography at UCSB and Cal State Northridge, and is a proud alumnus of SBCC. She is particularly interested in understanding the effects of the lithosphere on our natural environment. In her free time, Danielle is an avid surfer and outdoor enthusiast.

Classes taught: Physical Geography Lab

Bill Dinklage

Bill Dinklage, Professor
Email: wsdinklage@pipeline.sbcc.edu

Courses taught: Dynamic Earth, Environmental Geology, Energy and Natural Resources, Petrology and Rock Forming Minerals, Introductory Field Geology, and Geologic Field Camp, Field Studies of the Western Sierra Nevada, Field Studies in Death Valley, Field Studies of the Eastern Sierra Nevada

Tom Farr

Tom G. Farr, Instructor
Email: tfarr@pipeline.sbcc.edu

Tom Farr has degrees in geology from CalTech and the University of Washington. After a short time as an engineering geologist, he joined the Radar Sciences Group at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, for a career spanning 1975-2020. At JPL, he helped develop the first geologic applications of imaging radar using aircraft, satellites, and the Space Shuttle. He was a science investigator on European and Japanese satellite programs and has studied the geology of Mars, Venus, and recently Saturn’s moon Titan. He was deputy project scientist for a Shuttle project to map the 3-D topography of the Earth in 2000. For that mission, he also served as the lead payload communicator with the Shuttle astronauts. He participated in or led geological expeditions to Tibet, northwestern China, the Egyptian Sahara, and our local deserts, including geology training of Shuttle astronauts. His latest projects concerned mapping subsidence in the Central Valley of California for the Department of Water Resources and helping develop an integrated observation and modeling effort focused on water resources of the western US. After retiring from JPL, Tom had continued teaching the Planetary Exploration class as well as hiking and running the local trails and sailing the Channel

Courses taught: Planetary Geology of Recent NASA Missions

J Goldberg 
Jared Goldberg, Instructor
Email: jgoldberg1@pipeline.sbcc.edu
Jared studied Physics and Philosophy at Claremont McKenna college, received his masters in Physics from UCSB, and is currently a PhD candidate and NSF Graduate Research Fellow at UCSB with research interests in theoretical modeling of massive stars and core-collapse supernovae (he explodes stars on a computer). Courses taught: Introduction to Astronomy Lab, and SIMS Introductory Physics at UCSB.

Courses Taught: Observational Astronomy Lab 

Sean Kelly

Sean Kelly, Professor
Email: spkelly@pipeline.sbcc.edu
Bachelor of Science from UC Santa Barbara, College of Creative Studies
Master of Science from New York University
PhD from the City University of New York, Graduate School and University Center
Dissertation title: “Morphology and Photocatalysis of Titanium Dioxide Aerogels”

Sean grew up in Santa Barbara and graduated from Santa Barbara High and then went on to study physics at UCSB. He left Santa Barbara (too small) and moved to New York to begin his graduate studies. Sean met his wife Mary in New York and has a 19 year old son, Connor. After receiving a masters degree from NYU, Sean was invited to continue doing research at Brooklyn College under Professor Micha Tomkiewicz who promised him it would only take a few years.

Sean spent seven years teaching physics and doing research in experimental solid state physics at Brooklyn College, CUNY (1995-2002). He taught high school physics and chemistry at private schools in New York (Xaverian High School, 2002-2007) and in Santa Barbara (Bishop Diego High School, 2007-2013) before finally landing at Santa Barbara City College. Sean first taught as an adjunct for the SBCC astronomy lab in fall 2009. He worked as an adjunct in physics and astronomy from 2009-2015 and began “the best job of his life” in Fall 2015 as a tenure track astronomy professor. Sean will be a tenured professor starting in Fall 2019. Sean keeps himself busy as a mentor for both the Astronomy and Rubik's Cube clubs, and in his spare time likes to travel with his family.

Courses Taught: Intro Astrophysics, Introductory Astronomy, Observational Astronomy Lab

Andrew McGrath
Andrew McGrath, Instructor
Email: amcgrath@pipeline.sbcc.edu
Andy is originally from Wisconsin where the only geology he encountered consisted of glacial kettle and moraines and the very occasional limestone quarry. He received his bachelor's degree in Evolutionary Biology from Case Western Reserve University in 2016. At CWRU, Andy worked in the lab of Dr. Darin Croft, a paleontologist who specializes in Cenozoic South American mammals. Andy chose to continue his work on South American mammals for his PhD at UC-Santa Barbara under the mentorship of Dr. Andre Wyss. Andy completed his thesis on litopterns (an extinct group of hoofed mammals) and caviomorph rodents (the group that includes guinea pigs, chinchillas, capybaras, and porcupines) in June 2021. In his free time, Andy likes to go hiking and birdwatching in the mountains around Santa Barbara and watch football and baseball with his friends (especially his hometown Packers and Brewers).
Courses taught: ERTH 122 - Dinosaurs
Stephanie Mendes profile picture
Stephanie Mendes, Professor
Email: sdmendes@sbcc.edu

Stephanie Mendes was born and raised in California and loves teaching Earth Science in such a dynamic state. When Stephanie was growing up, she never would have imagined that she would earn a doctorate degree and become a professor in Earth Science. In fact, Stephanie didn’t even know Geology was a degree option when she started her Bachelor's degree. College was a time for her to explore different majors, and areas of science, and get connected with organizations such as SACNAS. As a result of all these experiences, Dr. Mendes received her Bachelor’s degree in chemistry from CSU Chico and her Ph.D. in Earth Science from UC Santa Barbara. 

Stephanie’s focus during graduate school centered on using interdisciplinary skills to further science by investigating the biological controls of greenhouse gas emissions in the environment. Specifically, on the ability of marine microbes to regulate hydrocarbon releases from the ocean to the atmosphere. As part of this scientific journey, Stephanie traveled around the world in research vessels to collect and analyze samples for her degrees. 

Currently, Dr. Mendes teaches a range of Earth Science classes at SBCC. In addition to standard lectures and labs, she also leads multi-day field courses across the country, including five days in Death Valley, five days in the Eastern Sierras, and 15 days around the Colorado Plateau. Hope to see you on a field trip!

Courses taught: Intro Physical Oceanography Lecture and Lab, Historical Geology Lecture and Lab, Field Studies of the Eastern Sierra Nevada, Field Studies in Death Valley, Introductory Field Geology, and Geologic Field Camp, Geologic Field Seminar of the Colorado Plateau, Geologic Field Studies - Hawaiian Volcanology

Erin O'Connor

Erin O'Connor, Professor
Email: oconnor@sbcc.edu 
Webpage: http://www.fieldstudy.com

Courses Taught: Introductory Astronomy, Observational Astronomy Lab, Black Holes and the Universe, Field Studies of the Eastern Sierra Nevada, and Field Studies in Death Valley

Javier Rivera

Javier Rivera, Instructor
Email: jrivera3@pipeline.sbcc.edu

Courses Taught: Observational Astronomy Lab

Picture of Kristen Sneddon

Kristen Sneddon, Professor
Email: kwsneddon@pipeline.sbcc.edu

After experiencing the 1989 Loma Prieta Earthquake in San Francisco, Kristen moved home to Santa Barbara and took her first SBCC Geology Field Studies course, which changed her life and her major. She took every Geology class offered in her time at City College and transferred to UCLA where she majored in Applied Geophysics. In her time at UCLA, she experienced the Northridge Earthquake and got to explore Geophysical Field Studies in Hawai’i, where she first walked on crackling fresh lava and measured speeds of flowing lava tubes. Kristen later studied Geophysics at Colorado School of Mines, with an emphasis on modeling groundwater and soils contamination while conducting research at the United States Geological Survey (USGS). Moving back to Santa Barbara and teaching at SBCC has been one of the greatest joys of her life. Her mom, her husband, and (so far) two of her three kids have all attended SBCC. Kristen loves teaching about the local geology, taking students on 5-day field courses to the Eastern Sierra and Death Valley, and longer trips studying volcanology on the Island of Hawai’i. (You should come!)  Kristen has a particular passion for issues of climate change, water management, alternative energy, and disaster resilience. She serves on our local Water Commission, Creeks Advisory Committee, Sustainability Committee, Community Choice Energy, Sea Level Rise Adaptation Plan, and the Cachuma Operations and Maintenance Board, and brings current understanding of these issues to the classroom. Every drop of water has a story, every rock has a past that affects our future. 

Courses taught: Environmental Geology Lecture and Lab, Dynamic Earth Lecture and Lab, Field Studies of the Eastern Sierra Nevada, Field Studies in Death Valley, Geologic Field Studies - Hawaii Volcanology,  

Sabina Thomas obtained her PhD in Geology at the Technische Universität of Berlin, Germany. Her focus was on fluid-rock exchange in metamorphic environments of the Alps.
Courses Taught: Dynamic Earth (class and lab), Environmental Geology (class and lab), Physical Geography, Weather & Climate.

Jatila van der Veen

Jatila van der Veen, Instructor

My research in science education focuses on: arts-based teaching strategies to improve access to physics for all students; learning astronomy in virtual immersive spaces; and visualization and Sonification of astrophysical data - applications in research and education. Currently, I am working with Professors Philip Lubin (Physics) and Joel Rothman (BioSci) and others on the development of a new Interdisciplinary Center for Interstellar Exploration. 

Courses taught: Introductory Astronomy