Meredith Rivin is the Associate Curator of Paleontology at the Dr. John D. Cooper Archaeological and Paleontological Center. She received her undergraduate degree in Geology at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, and completed an undergraduate thesis on the taphonomy of Pleistocene antelope. She received her Master’s degree in Geology at California State University, Fullerton, completing a thesis on the paleodiversity of early Miocene cetaceans from Laguna Canyon, California. She has over ten years of experience in paleontological mitigation, with a broad base of experience in the geology and paleontology of the Orange County, California, area, and worked as a paleontological preparator for the new Age of Mammals Hall in the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County. Her primary research interest is in the paleoecology and paleodiversity of marine mammals, and is currently working on a number of sites from Orange County.
Paleontological mitigation in Orange County, California, over the past 35 years has resulted in an enormous collection of fossils spanning the Jurassic through Recent time, including particularly significant collections of Miocene marine mammals. These collections were not managed in a consistent way until the establishment of the Cooper Center. Meredith was involved in the design of the preparation laboratory and the collections space, which opened last year. She also runs a successful program of over 20 students, volunteers, and interns that donate over 200 hours a week cataloging and preparing over 900 sites, most still in their original field jackets. With the Marvin and Beth Hix Preparator’s Grant, she intends to develop a standardized training program that will result in the certification of volunteers to handle specific tasks in the paleontology laboratory. This process will improve the quality of the volunteers, maximize the efficiency of training for the staff, and will increase the sense of value and accomplishment for volunteers, students, and interns at the Cooper Center.