Kata McCarville


Dr. McCarville (Kata) has roots in the midwest but grew up in California. She studied geology at UCLA as an undergraduate, and worked as a uranium miner in Wyoming after graduation. She took a masters degree in geology Colorado School of Mines, working on uranium deposits in the Red Desert basin of Wyoming, and then worked for a number of years in computing and networking technologies at universities and for engineering consulting firms. As a Bush Foundation Leadership Fellow, she did her doctoral work in avian paleontology of Fossil Lake, Oregon, at the South Dakota School of Mines. Her work resulted in revision of the interpretation for the locality.

Kata is Professor of Geosciences at Upper Iowa University in Fayette, Iowa, where she coordinates the Environmental Science degree program, which is strongly field-based. She teaches a wide variety of courses in geosciences and geography, including soil genesis, geomorphology, and hydrogeology, most of which have an outdoor component. Her interests span the earth and environmental sciences and often cross disciplinary boundaries. Her current research centers on the role of disturbance in prairie ecosystems, and the origins of the Iowan Erosion Surface.

She enjoys mentoring students, and has supervised student projects in trumpeter swan restoration, wildland fire education, fish species in Grand Canyon, squirrel nest-tree selection preference, assessment of a local shooting range for lead contamination, water quality studies, and GIS-based studies of the distribution of algific talus slopes that serve as refugia for Pleistocene species, among many others. An advocate for diversity in STEM, Kata serves as UIU Campus Director for the Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation in STEM disciplines, and as Co-Principal Investigator on an NSF-funded project called STEM-Pros: Growing More STEM Professionals in the Heartland.