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Cynthia Fadem
Associate Professor of earth and environmental science; 3-2 Engineering Program Liaison

Cynthia Fadem sees the Earth as a book waiting to be read and humanity's imprint on its surface as a puzzle waiting to be solved. She comes from St Louis via Philadelphia and New York City, and she has advanced degrees in both Anthropology and Earth & Planetary Sciences. Working as a consultant in addition to teaching at Earlham, her work takes her and her Earlham students to the US West, Tanzania, and Armenia, among other places! She is also heavily involved in professional society disciplinary leadership and mentorship in geoarchaeology. If interested, please view Cynthia’s curriculum vitae for full career, publication, and presentation details.

Contact Info

Campus Mail
Drawer 132



329 Dennis Hall

Office Hours
Email for appointment


  • earth and environmental science
  • Environmental Science
  • Museum Studies
  • Archaeology
  • Environmental Sustainability
  • Pre-Engineering
  • Equestrian Management
  • Sustainable Agriculture Applied Minor


  • Ph.D., Washington University
  • M.A., Washington State University
  • M.A., Washington University
  • B.A., Hamilton College

Selected Courses:

GEOL 113: Climates Future, Climates Past
GEOL/SOAN 114: Archaeology
GEOL 201: Earth & the Environment
GEOL 202: Meteorology
GEOL 316: Geochemistry & Environmental Change
GEOL 430: Water
GEOL 431: Soils & Sustainable Agriculture
GEOL 432: Climate Systems
GEOL 481: Field Studies
GEOL 483: Teaching Assistants
GEOL 486: Student Research
GEOL 487: Research Assistants
GEOL 488: Senior Capstone

Cynthia studies the broad fields of geoarchaeology, environmental science, and geoscience education. She analyzes soils, stable isotope chemistry, geomorphology, and geochemistry of archaeological site materials to reconstruct paleoenvironments and understand site taphonomy. She also studies lithic and ceramic artifacts and their provenance. Utilizing climate science, GIS, and the observed behavior of natural soil and water systems, Cynthia aims to resolve questions about archaeological sites, human societies, and natural resource use.

Earlham students work with Cynthia on the following projects:

Cynthia is a signee of the Tyndall Petition, a registered 500 Women Scientists speaker, and a 500 Queer Scientists, 1 Million Women in STEM, and Unique Scientists contributor.

A list of Cynthia's published works is available at her curriculum vitae.

I love teaching at Earlham because our students are truly engaged in the material – whether it's a class for their major or general education. It’s a pleasure to teach our students who are eager to understand and improve our world.

I also appreciate Earlham’s supportive teaching-learning community, because I’m interested in pedagogical innovation and continually improving my teaching practice for inclusion. I appreciate being free to design my courses the way I want and having my course materials be my responsibility. It’s a lot of work, but no one tells Earlham faculty they have to do things a certain way or use a certain curriculum. I think that’s critical to providing the best, most effective education!

Cynthia loves museums and music, and plays violin in the Richmond Community Orchestra.

Earlham College, an independent, residential college, aspires to provide the highest-quality undergraduate education in the liberal arts and sciences, shaped by the distinctive perspectives of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers).

Earlham College
801 National Road West
Richmond, Indiana
1-765-983-1200 — Main Switchboard
1-800-EARLHAM (327-5426) — Admission


Earlham admits students of any race, color, national and ethnic origin, age, gender and sexual orientation to all the rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded or made available to students at the school. It does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national and ethnic origin, age, gender and sexual orientation in administration of its educational policies, admissions policies, scholarship and loan programs, and athletic and other school-administered programs.