Thomas and Beth Tailer

We owe immense gratitude to Thomas and Beth Tailer for their pivotal and innovative contributions that laid the foundation for USESO. Having led IESO Team USA, Inc., our predecessor organization, for over a decade from 2007 to 2021, their visionary leadership was instrumental in establishing USESO. Today, they continue to lend their wisdom and expertise as advisors to our organization. Notably, their introduction of the ‘sphere’ systems thinking approach to Earth sciences at USESO and the development of our field study-based residential summer camp model have profoundly influenced our mission and methods. Without their foundational work, USESO would not be the thriving entity it is today.

Volunteer Hall of Fame

Every year, alumni of our programs return to USESO to volunteer their time, talent, and energy. Without the spirited efforts of our volunteer staff to continuously innovate and iterate as an organization, USESO would simply not progress as an organization. In this section, we celebrate and acknowledge the remarkable initiatives that have been instrumental in shaping USESO into the impactful organization it is today (not a comprehensive list!). was designed by Chloe Cheng (IESO ’19).

Saranya Anantapantula (IESO ’22), USESO’s LEES to IESO success story, joined us for LEES Program (back then it was called junior camp) in 2020. She then went on to qualify for Training Camp in 2021, and placed on the International team in 2022. She offers continual volunteer support and has given engaging presentations about her work with Niskin Bottles and other aquatic research technologies.

Emmy Bonser (IESO ’21), who tirelessly devoted her time and energy to keeping our IESO teams informed and supported during the small hours of the night in 2022 and 2023. Her incredible language ability and knack for navigating cross-cultural situations make her a powerful resource for international work!

Jaime Yu (IESO ’21), whose optimism and friendly spirit kept everyone entertained and engaged in soil science at 2023 Training Camp. Additionally, he was instrumental in planning and running the 2022 Training Camp and LEES Program online.

Chloe Cheng, Yuchen Li (IESO ’19), and Vivek Vajipey (IESO ’19) improved the quality of the aesthetics and questions on the National Open Exams and Training Camp exams by an order of magnitude, and led the exam teams for three consecutive years from 2021 to 2023. Yuchen manually typeset the entire exam.

SydneyBlu Garcia-Yao (IESO ’21) played a pivotal role in designing the inaugural LEES program, helping to coordinate caes studies and program schedules.

Scott Maurer (IESO ’18) returns annually to the USESO Training Camp to give a masterclass on practical field geology skills to students. He is a national champion in rock and mineral identification.

Peter Bennett (IESO ’21) and Rohit Hari (IESO ’21) have helped lead our Exam Writing team since 2023. They are also incredibly engaged with the active student community, providing invaluable feedback directly from the students we serve to help inform our program decisions and policies.

Jason Drebber (IESO ’16)Mahathi Mangipudi (IESO ’18), and Arpit Ranasaria (IESO ’19), among other volunteer staff, have continued to stay involved and engaged with USESO’s evolution, particularly with regards to promoting a culture of equity and inclusion at USESO.

Ida Hempel (IESO ’07) is a very busy VP at Galvanize Climate but somehow still finds the time to contribute as a board member at a program she took part in as a student over a decade ago.