Cynthia Fadem
Associate Professor of Geology

Cynthia Fadem teaches a wide variety of geology courses and has participated in research projects in places as far flung as Armenia, Croatia and the Western United States. She routinely includes students in her research.

Cynthia says, “I'm from St Louis via Philadelphia and New York City. I love museums and music. I enjoy video games, soccer, and playing violin. I see the Earth as a book waiting to be read and humanity's imprint on its surface as a puzzle waiting to be solved.”

Contact Info

Campus Mail
Drawer 132



329 Dennis Hall

Website Link


  • Geology
  • Environmental Science
  • Museum Studies


  • Ph.D., Washington University
  • M.A., Washington State University
  • M.A., Washington University
  • B.A., Hamilton College

Selected Courses:

GEOS 113: Climates Future, Climates Past 
GEOS 201: Environmental Geology 
GEOS 316: Geochemistry 
GEOS 400: Field Studies (May Term) 
GEOS 430: Hydrogeology 
GEOS 431: Soils
GEOS 480: Senior Seminar
GEOS 486: Student Research

I take a systems approach to teaching and favor interactive, kinetic learning. Understanding a system makes it easier to understand the nature and function of its parts, and gives students what they need to synthesize information. While useful at any level, this method is especially important at the introductory level, helping students learn how to think about science, allowing geology students to more easily approach their advanced courses, and promoting and demystifying science for students in other fields. I believe kinetic learning in the laboratory and the field is critical at every level, helping students understand hypothesis-testing and continually experience the excitement of scientific discovery.


I love teaching at Earlham because our students are truly engaged in the material - whether it's a class for their major or general education. It is a pleasure to teach our students who are eager to understand and better our world.

Students have been an integral part of my past & present work on the following projects:

  • Pueblo Farming Project, Village Ecodynamics Project, & Basketmaker Communities Project — Crow Canyon Archaeological Center, Colorado USA 
  • Lori Depression Paleoanthropology Project — Debed River Valley, Armenia  
  • Mummy Cave Paleoenvironmental Re-excavation — Shoshone River Valley, Wyoming, USA 
  • Early Farming in Dalmatia Project — Central Dalmatia, Croatia  
  • Mesolithic Muge Project — Tagus River Valley, Portugal  
  • Monks Mound Repair Project — Cahokia Mounds, Illinois, USA 
  • Dzhungar Mountains Archaeology Project — Almaty Province, Kazakhstan
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