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Jessica Ball

Thriving Earth Exchange Advisory Board

Mendenhall Postdoctoral Fellow
U.S. Geological Survey

Jessica Ball is a Mendenhall Postdoctoral Fellow at the U.S. Geological Survey’s California Volcano Observatory in Menlo Park. Her work focuses on numerical simulations of volcanic hydrothermal systems and determining how water affects volcanic slope stability. She also has a background in science outreach, communication and policy, and is a Social Media Ambassador for the USGS, helping to run outreach efforts via the USGS Volcanoes Facebook and Twitter Pages. She has worked for the education and outreach group at the American Geosciences Institute, was the first geoscience policy fellow at the Geological Society of America’s Washington Office, and her blog Magma Cum Laude ( is now in its eighth year. She can be found on Twitter as @Tuff_Cookie and is active in many aspects of science communication via social media, particularly through the American Geophysical Union’s Sharing Science group.

Prior to her postdoc, Jessica earned a BS in Geology from the College of William and Mary and a Ph.D. in Volcanology from the University at Buffalo. Her graduate research included physical and multispectral mapping of alteration minerals on the Santiaguito lava dome complex in Guatemala, as well as collaborations with the Computational Geology group at the Los Alamos National Laboratory. She has made science communication an integral part of her research career, and is dedicated to applying scientific research to public safety and sound policy through effective ‘translation’ and communication.