Rory Cottrell received her B.A. in Geophysics from the State University of New York at Geneseo in the spring of 1994. In the fall of that year, she began her graduate career at the University of Rochester, working with Prof. John Tarduno in the newly established Paleomagnetism Lab. Her thesis work focused on Late Cretaceous paleomagnetism of the Pacific and North American plates, including an examination of the fixity of the Hawaiian hotspot and new methods to determine paleointensity from ancient rocks. She received her M.S. in Geology from the Univesity of Rochester in 1998, and her Ph.D. in Geology in 2000.
Her post-graduate work concentrated on the strength of Earth's magnetic field, with a brief stint as a paleomagnetist on ODP Leg 197 in the summer of 2001 (Motion of the Hawaiian Hotspot: A Paleomagnetic Test). In 2003, she was appointed as a Research Scientist with the Paleomagnetic Research Group, where the bulk of her work has focused on the measurement of weak magnetic signals in silicate mineral grains.
Teaching and community outreach have been a passion for many years. Rory has taught classes in physical geology, historical geology, paleomagnetism and solid earth geophysics during her time at the University. She is the staff advisor for the undergraduate geology club (Undergraduate Student Geology Organization, USGO) and the National Honor Society for Earth Scientists (Zeta Phi chapter of Sigma Gamma Epsilon).
Synergistic activities include acting as session chair for the American Geophysical Union, the Joint Assembly, a referee for Journal of Geophysical Research; Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems; Earth and Planetary Science Letters; Journal of Earth System Science, Geophysical Journal International; Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences; and the National Science Foundation.
Rory has also worked as a chapter and multi-media reviewer for Prentice Hall Publications, W.H. Freenman and Company and Wiley Publications for physical and historical geology textbooks.
For the younger generation, Rory has spent time as an organizer and instructor for local K-12 geology and science programs, including Upward Bound (UR), Science Olympiad and Odyseey of the Mind (Rochester School District), Boys Scouts of America (careers in geology), Girl Scouts of America (STEM outreach), local charter schools and science museum exhibits (Rochester Museum and Science Center), and has acted as a mentor for local high school students interested in summer internship opportunities in geology.
Rory is also active with The Friends of Mt. Hope Cemetery as a geology tour leader through the local glacial geology landmarks present around the University, and is frequenty called upon to answer questions about local geology (Paleozoic geology of NY).