Spreading the Love for Planet Earth

Scripps alumna Rosina Garcia shares passion for planet through her work at California natural history museum

After receiving her bachelor’s degree in earth sciences from Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego in 2017, Rosina Garcia has dedicated her career to educating and inspiring the next generation of scientists. From serving as a science teacher to directing education initiatives at the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History and Sea Center, she is passionate about encouraging kids to embrace curiosity. Garcia is returning to her alma mater to give the alumni commencement address at the 2024 Scripps Undergraduate Recognition Ceremony. 

Why did you choose to study at Scripps? 

I didn't declare a major until the spring quarter of my second year, and it was all because of the introductory earth science course with Dr. Geoff Cook. I had always been interested in geology—dinosaurs, rocks, and space were my gateway subjects. Dr. Cook's passion and enthusiasm were so compelling that I knew I wanted to keep studying those things.

What was your most memorable experience during your time at Scripps? 

My most memorable experiences were all the field trips we went on. I had never properly camped or done fieldwork in that capacity, and it was so much fun to do those things. My friends in other majors were always jealous of the things Scripps majors got to do. 

When Rosina Garcia was a high school science teacher, she visited her old internship grounds and involved a few of her students in the NASA research project she previously worked on.

What was your first job after graduating from Scripps?

I went to Duke University for graduate school for my master’s in Science Education immediately after graduation. My first job after that was as a research intern at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. I worked in the Carbon Cycle and Ecosystems group within the Earth Science Division to use remote sensing data to monitor forests. 

What is your current role?

I am currently the director of education at the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History and Sea Center.

What is your favorite thing about your current role/career?

My favorite thing about my current role is combining two of my passions, science and education, and doing so in such a dynamic way. Whether I'm working with our teen interns on my ongoing NASA research or developing a geology curriculum for our summer camps, every day looks a little different, and I love that. 

Rosina graduated from Scripps in 2017.

What was most helpful in transitioning to your role/career?

I hate the phrase "jack of all trades, master of none" because I think Scripps does an excellent job of both! The interdisciplinary nature of a Scripps degree has made me a well-rounded employee and a better leader. Taking classes combining chemistry, biology, physics and math gave me a robust perspective on pressing problems that we face today and a critical mind for solving them. I have used each of these disciplines in my various roles—as a teacher, scientist, and now in my current role—and I credit my success to the education I received at Scripps. 

What advice do you have for current students?

Lean into your curiosity! Sometimes we’re taught that we need specific skills to succeed, but I don't think that's true. Taking a class on volcanoes simply because it sounds interesting, even if you have no intention of being a volcanologist, is valuable.  

What do you like to do for fun?

I enjoy hanging out with my dog Jedi, running, and crushing the local pub trivia scene. 

You can connect with Rosina on LinkedIn.


Sign Up For
Explorations Now

explorations now is the free award-winning digital science magazine from Scripps Institution of Oceanography. Join subscribers from around the world and keep up on our cutting-edge research.