Geologist Bentley Wins Writing Award

The National Association of Geoscience Teachers (NAGT) honored NOVA Assistant Professor of Geology Callan Bentley with the 2018 James Shea Award for “excellence in the form of writing and/or editing of Earth Science materials (broadly construed) that are of interest to the general public and/or Earth Science teachers.”

Bentley has been involved in a decade-long effort to push the understanding of geoscience to the general public, principally through his blog, Mountain Beltway, hosted by the American Geophysical Union, though his outreach platform also includes Twitter and both writing and cartooning for EARTH magazine.

In his award notification letter, Shea Award selection committee chair Andy Buddington said, “there were many excellent nominees this year but the committee was convinced of [Bentley’s] exceptional written contributions, especially the work on the Mountain Beltway blog. That work has clearly benefited geoscience educators and students, as well as the general public.” Since 2011, Mountain Beltway has garnered more than one million visits from readers interested in learning geoscience from an approachable, enthusiastic voice.

Previous recipients of the Shea Award include bestselling author Simon Wincester and Michael Mann, Pulitzer Prize finalist Stephen Jay Gould, Pulitzer winner John McPhee, and groundbreaking historian of science Naomi Oreskes.

Bentley was nominated by Kaatje Kraft of Whatcom Community College in Bellingham, Washington, and Joshua Villalobos of El Paso Community College in El Paso, Texas. This is the latest in a series of high-profile honors for Bentley, who has previously been recognized as a Fellow of the Geological Society of America. He has also received the Outstanding Faculty Award from the State Council on Higher Education in Virginia, the Chancellor’s Award for Teaching Excellence from the VCCS, and the Biggs Award for Excellence in Geoscience Teaching from the Geoscience Education Division of the Geological Society of America. In addition to his duties at NOVA, Bentley is a contributing editor at EARTH magazine and a former president of both the Geological Society of Washington and the Geo2YC division of NAGT.

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