Cynthia Fadem, Ph.D.

Associate professor of earth and environmental science; 3-2 engineering program liaison

Email:[email protected]

Department: Environmental Sustainability
Earth and Environmental Science
Museum Studies

Program: 3-2 Pre-Engineering
Athletics, Wellness and Physical Education
Equestrian Management

Location: Dennis Hall Room 329
801 National Road
Richmond, Indiana 47374

About me

I see the Earth as a book waiting to be read and humanity’s imprint on its surface as a puzzle waiting to be solved. I come from St Louis via Philadelphia and New York City, and I have advanced degrees in both Anthropology and Earth & Planetary Sciences. Working as a consultant in addition to teaching at Earlham, my work takes me and my Earlham students to the U.S. West, Tanzania and Armenia, among other places. I am also heavily involved in professional society disciplinary leadership and mentorship in geoarchaeology. If interested, please view my curriculum vitae for full career, publication, and presentation details.

 I love museums and music and play violin in the Richmond Community Orchestra.

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!


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

Professional memberships

Research projects

Earlham students work with me on the following projects:

Scholarly interest

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

Published works

I am a signee of the Tyndall Petition, a registered 500 Women Scientists speaker, and a 500 Queer Scientists1 Million Women in STEM, and Unique Scientists contributor.

A list of my published works are available at my curriculum vitae.