Green Ninja Project receives $1.1 million from NSF


genie_slide-10dh9wfDr. Ellen Metzger, professor of Geology and Science Education, is a member of the Green Ninja Project, whose goal is building an understanding of Climate Change through improved science education. Last year, the project received a grant to further the production of the “Green Ninja Film Academy” (GENIE) and was reported first in Academic Spotlight

An interdisciplinary research team from San José State has been awarded $1.1 million from the National Science Foundation to design and implement the ‘Green Ninja Film Academy (GENIE),” an intervention that leverages well-established research on motivation to encourage student interest and engagement in the STEM-related field of climate change. The project is aimed at scientifically-undeserved middle school students who will be guided through a structured storytelling and film-making experience that builds competencies in science, engineering design, media technology and communications. During the three-year project, 60 teachers and at least 2,000 students will directly participate in the GENIE project, with additional participation from parents, friends, and teachers who attend the Green Ninja Film Festival. GENIE is also designed around helping teachers prepare to implement the Common Core and Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) using climate change as a context. The project builds on the established Green Ninja Project, and an SJSU initiative that develops media to inspire student interest in science and the environment. The principal investigators of the NSF grant are SJSU professors Eugene Cordero (Meteorology and Climate Science), David Chai (Animation/Illustration), Ellen Metzger (Geology and Science Education), Grinell Smith (Elementary Education) and Elizabeth Walsh (Meteorology and Climate Science and Science Education). More information about the project can be found at


Dr. Manny Gabet in the News

Dr. Manny Gabet

Dr. Manny Gabet in the Lab

Last December, Dr. Manny Gabet made national news with a study published in the journal Geomorphology and presented at the fall 2013 American Geophysical Union (AGU) meeting in San Francisco, describing his computer model for the development of Mima mounds, a long-mysterious geomorphic feature.

“Mima mounds are small densely packed hills found on all continents except Antarctica. The most famous and well-studied ones are along the west coast of North America. Over the centuries, numerous hypotheses have been advanced to explain how they form, including periglacial processes, artesian pressure, gas venting and, of course, aliens. One hypothesis, proposed in the 1950s, was that gophers built them in response to seasonally flooded soils. To test this idea, I created a cellular automaton model that simulates the digging behavior of gophers based on the displacement of metal tracers deposited in a Mima mound field. Although there is no explicit mound-building rule in the model, Mima mounds spontaneously begin to form. In addition, the spatial distribution of the mounds in the simulated landscape matches the distribution observed in real mound fields. “

Dr. Gabet was interviewed by multiple news organizations, including the BBC, the Huffington Post, and The Economist.


Dr. Ellen Metzger Receives Pacific Section AAPG Distinguished Educator Award

Ellen Metzger

Professor Ellen Metzger

The geology department is pleased to announce that Dr. Ellen Metzger is the recipient of the 2013 Distinguished Educator Award of the Pacific Section of the American Association of Petroleum Geologists in “recognition of distinguished and outstanding contributions to geological education and counseling of students”.

Dr. Metzger has taught at San José State University since 1989, sharing her vast knowledge in the fields of mineralogy, metamorphic petrology, and sustainability issues. Dr. Metzger also serves as Co-Director of the Bay Area Earth Science Institute (BAESI), a professional development program dedicated to helping bay area K-12 educators develop knowledge and skills in teaching modern science to students.

Dr. Metzger joins Professor Dave Andersen (2005) of the Geology Department in earning this award. San José State is one of only a few universities to have had two faculty members receive this recognition.

Congratulations Dr. Metzger!