Peter D. Wilf
After an eclectic and non-geological undergrad career (B.A. Penn 1985), I spent three years teaching junior high school in New Jersey and then four years freelancing with my guitars in West Philly. I discovered geology and then paleobotany at the early age of 29 and have never looked back. I somehow moved from the street, almost literally, onto the doctoral track in Penn Geology and defended in 1998. Most of my thesis research was done in residence at the Smithsonian, on megafloral and paleoclimatic change across the Paleocene-Eocene boundary in southern Wyoming. During this time and in an ensuing Smithsonian postdoc, I began developing two major subsequent themes of my research: the fossil history of plant-insect associations and the unbelievable riches of Patagonian fossil floras. I spent three terrific years at Michigan, 1999-2002, as a Michigan Fellow and happily joined the Penn State Geosciences faculty in 2002, where I have been developing these and several other wonderful research projects with my students and colleagues all over the world.