Meet the ESA Faculty

Click here for a list of faculty offices and phone numbers  

Mark Boryta

Department Co-Chair

B.A. Geology (with honors), Amherst College
M.S. Geology, New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology
Ph.D. Geology/Geochemistry, New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology



I am Councilor at Large for the National Association of Geoscience Teachers' Far Western Section, after serving as its president. Additionally, I have been collaborating with a team of scientists at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory studying Saturn’s moon Titan using infrared spectroscopy data collected by the Cassini orbiting spacecraft. We are currently building lab facilities at Mt. SAC to study the infrared reflectance properties of materials expected to be found on Titan’s surface (90K, 1.5 bar), and will offer student research opportunities when the lab is functioning! My graduate work involved geochemical analyses of high-grade metamorphic rocks of Precambrian age from the Limpopo Belt in southern Africa and from Inner Mongolia, China, respectively. In my “spare time” I like to build things out of wood, kayak along the coast, and be the best dad I can manage for my two children.

Courses: ASTR 7, GEOL 1, GEOL 8H and GEOL 9 

M. Boryta 

Julie Bray-Ali

Department Co-Chair

B.S. Physics, California Polytechnic University-Pomona
M.A., Physics,University of Southern California


I studied physics at Cal Poly Pomona and the University of Southern California, with a research focus on magnetic properties of materials at low temperatures. While at USC I taught astronomy labs and found a true calling as an educator. After graduate school I joined the faculty of Mount San Antonio college in 1999 and am currently the chair of the Earth Science and Astronomy Department. My college education began at Santa Ana Community College where I learned the incredible opportunities community colleges create for students and the neighboring community with classes and educational events and destinations like our newly updated Randall Planetarium. In my personal time I love to travel all over the world and regularly visit different observatories and planetariums!

Courses: ASTR 5, 5A, ASTR 8

 Julie Bray Ali

Micol Christopher

B.A., Physics and Astronomy/Astrophysics, Harvard University
Ph.D., Astrophysics, California Institute of Technology


Hi! While I come from a research background in astronomy (mostly studying how stars form during collisions between galaxies), I have always been drawn towards teaching and having the opportunity to share my excitement about the universe with others. I have been a full-time professor at Mt. San Antonio College since 2005 and have been thoroughly enjoying my time here! On campus I am getting increasingly involved with the Honors program and serve on the Student Preparation and Success Council. Outside of work, my wife and I enjoy staying active, particularly hiking and tennis, and traveling. Some astronomy-related travel highlights include seeing two of Galileo’s original telescopes in Florence, Italy and seeing the southern sky for the first time in Australia. We also enjoy trying out new foods and restaurants, particularly the wide variety of ethnic restaurants in the area.

Courses: ASTR 5 , ASTR 5H , ASTR 5L 

 M. Christopher

Michael Hood

B.S., Astrophysics, Math, and Physics, University of Wisconsin-Madison
M.S., Physics, University of California-Irvine


I grew up in Minnesota, before moving to Wisconsin and then California for school. I am now an astronomer, and my main expertise is with stars and galaxies. I am currently working on spectroscopy of red giant stars in the nearby galaxy M33 in order to better understand how the galaxy formed. I started teaching at Mt. SAC in 2009, and love my job here. I have been running the night observing sessions, and I can’t wait until our new observatory is completed. I am married to an astronomer who studies black holes, and we have two young sons and two dogs.

Courses: ASTR 5, ASTR 5L, ASTR 8

 M. Hood



Hilary Lackey

B.A., Art History, Smith College
M.S., Geology, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Ph.D., Geology, University of Wisconsin-Madison


After graduating with a degree in Art History, my first post-college job was as a tour guide at a dinosaur quarry in Utah. I fell in love with the desert, rocks and fossils so I decided to pursue a doctorate in geology. My expertise is in paleontology, and I focus on fossil invertebrates such as clams and snails. I’ve had a lot of experience studying sedimentary rocks of ancient lakes and oceans, and I enjoy applying what I’ve learned to my geology and oceanography courses at Mt. SAC. Prior to coming to Mt. SAC, research took me to exciting locales including Hungary, Romania, Nova Scotia, and the Mississippi River valley. I am now interested in finding  Mt. SAC students excited to explore new sedimentology and paleontology-related projects with me! I love interacting with the students at Mt. SAC, and I serve on the Student Equity Committee. On my days off, you can find me camping, hiking and traveling with my geologist husband and two children.

Courses: Ocean 10-10L, Geol 8, Geol 9, Geol 2

 H. Lackey

David Mrofka

A.S., Natural Science, Crafton Hills Community College
B.S., Geology, University of California, Riverside
Ph.D., Geology-Sedimentology & Stratigraphy, University of California, Riverside


After a completely different 20-year career than teaching, I went back to a local community college to be a history teacher, decided to go on an optional geology field trip to Death Valley…and fell in love with Earth Science. My own community college experience was so formative in my own academic pursuits, and teaching here at Mt. SAC is meaningful because I sort of feel like I have returned to try and re-invest in others some of what was invested in me. As an undergraduate student, I became involved in faculty research and had the opportunity to travel to Namibia to assist in field work…and became fascinated with sedimentary rocks and the story they can share about Earth History. I am particularly interested in the stratigraphic record of episodes of ice ages, as a way of understanding the timing and synchronicity of ancient changes in climate. I enjoy teaching any Earth Science subject, but really enjoy exploring the topic of ancient and ongoing climate change with students. What I enjoy most about my job is the opportunity to show students in the field the concepts we discuss in lecture; I always try to incorporate as many possibilities for field work as possible in my courses.

Courses: Geol 7, Geol 8, Geol 10

 Professor David Mrofka and family

Larry Redinger

Dean of Natural Sciences

email: emailaddress

Courses: Geol 7, Geol 8


Rebecca Walker

B.A., Geology, Hamilton College
M.S., Geosciences, University of Arizona


I've been teaching at Mt. SAC since 2006. I think that people learn best when they have the opportunity to observe features and processes firsthand, and as a result, all of my courses include field experiences. I'm excited about offering extended, multidisciplinary field trips and recently spent 3.5 weeks in Hawai'i co-teaching with Julie Bray-Ali. I was involved with the Faculty Inquiry Network from 2009-2011 and investigated how to improve critical thinking and self-directed learning on introductory-level geology field trips. I recently wrapped up work as a co-author on the Climate of Change module for the InTeGrate project, an NSF-funded program aiming to build a workforce that can tackle societal issues using geoscience knowledge. My next project is GETSI (GEodesy Tools for Societal Issues), a 2.5 year project funded by NSF-TUES that involves creating classroom materials featuring geodetic data applied to societal problems. I am the department representative for Mt. SAC’s Academic Senate. I spend my spare time doing outdoor activities, listening to live music, and traveling. Whenever possible, my dog joins me on these adventures.

Courses: GEOL 1, GEOL 7, GEOL 10, GEOL 8/8L, GEOL 24 (field studies of Central California) GEOL 25 (field studies of Southern California) OCEA 10/10L, GEOL 99 (special projects in geology)

 Becca Walker

Craig Webb


Courses: Meto 3, Meto 3L, Geol 8, Ocean 10, Geol 10

 Craig Webb



Mt. San Antonio College

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