Dawn Sumner was an undergraduate at the California Institute of Technology, when she became interested in geology. She subsequently moved to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to work with Dr. John Grotzinger and others on 2.5 billion year old carbonates in South Africa. Dr. Sumner finished her PhD in geology in 1995, after which time she returned to the California Institute of Technology as a Postdoctoral Fellow. In December 1996, Dawn joined the Faculty at the University of California, Davis, and she is still a professor there. Most of Dr. Sumner's research has focused on understanding environments on early Earth and the early evolution of bacteria, including photosynthesis. In recent years, her research has expanded to include studying modern microbial communities growing in ice-covered Antarctic lakes that are analogs for ancient life on Earth and possibly elsewhere in the solar system. In addition, she is a member of NASA's Mars Science Laboratory, helping the rover Curiosity explore ancient environments in Gale Crater on Mars. Dr. Sumner regularly shares her research and adventures with the public and is dedicated to helping students of all backgrounds prepare for careers in science. More information about Dr. Sumner can be found here.