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Dr. Serina Diniega is a mathematical planetary geomorphologist studying present-day gully and dune evolution on Mars and serves as group supervisor for the Planetary Geosciences group at JPL. In addition to science research, she is heavily involved with mission development, with current responsibilities as an Investigation Scientist on the Europa Clipper Mission and as a science lead in very early development of Mars small spacecraft mission concepts. She also has extensive experience with the NASA Mars Program Office and Mars community support and science synthesis endeavors.
Serina has loved math since she was a child and has been interested in space exploration since a visit to NASA Johnson Space Center at the age of 12. As an undergraduate at Caltech, she found a way to combine both interests while delving deep into the ways landforms evolve into specific patterns, shapes, and sizes. Using simple models, analysis, and numerical simulation, she aims to understand the influence that environmental conditions and physical processes have in shaping a landscape. She received her PhD in Applied Mathematics at the University of Arizona where she explored dune and dune field pattern formation on the Earth and Mars. As a NASA postdoctoral researcher (NPP) at JPL, she studied how lava flow dynamics evolve and form surface features on lava flows on the Earth, Mars, and Venus. Her recent studies have focused on identifying the mechanisms and drivers for frost- and wind-driven surface activity on present-day Mars, and analogous processes active on other worlds.
In addition to her research and mission development, she prioritizes encouraging students -- including women and those with minoritized identities -- and the general public in STEM studies. She also seeks to increase inclusivity in scientific practices and thus enable diverse contributions within the science community. She has a taught or mentored a wide variety of students (K-12 and undergraduate) in math, geology, and planetary science topics and research projects.
-Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), since 2013:
-NASA Postdoc, JPL, Planetary Geology/Geophysics (2010-2013)