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Kirt Kempter is a Fulbright Fellow and Ph.D. graduate from the University of Texas at Austin, where he conducted his dissertation research on Rincón de la Vieja volcano in Costa Rica. For the past 11 years Kirt has worked for the New Mexico STATEMAP program, studying the geologic history of northern New Mexico. Kirt is also an instructor for the NASA astronaut training program, teaching NASA's 2009 astronaut candidates geologic mapping techniques in northern New Mexico. Since 1993 Kirt has led numerous educational tours for the Smithsonian Institution, from Iceland to Antarctica.