Kiersten Formoso is a Graduate Student-in-Residence in the Dinosaur Institute and a Ph.D. Candidate at the University of Southern California. She studies land to sea evolutionary transitions in charismatic animal living groups like whales, seals, sea turtles, and a variety of extinct marine reptiles like mosasaurs and plesiosaurs. She's had the privilege of doing fieldwork with the Dinosaur Institute in New Mexico and Utah spanning the Triassic, Jurassic, and Cretaceous eras.
Kiersten is from the great state of New Jersey and attended Rutgers University for her undergraduate studies, earning a B.Sc. in Ecology, Evolution, and Natural Resources. After graduating, she spent some time at Virginia Tech studying the evolution of archosauromorphs, the group which gave rise to dinosaurs, then spent some time as a waitress before moving to southern California to start her Ph.D., having earned a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship for her graduate studies.
Kiersten is very involved in outreach and public engagement, and she has consulted for BBC's and Apple TV+'s Prehistoric Planet, has been featured in public-facing science articles, and is a Forbes 30 Under 30 in Science.