District Director Roberta K. Smith first joined the District Board in 1980. Roberta, a Ph. D. and State Licensed Geologist, believed then and believes today that the geological perspective is important to much of the District’s work. Born and raised in Los Angeles, Roberta first studied geology at Valley College there with a professor who later became the California State Geologist. He was very important to her becoming a geologist and pursuing a career in a field then barely open to women. Roberta graduated with a B. A. from the U. of Alaska in 1957, then got an M. A. at U.C. Berkeley, and a Ph. D. from the U. of British Columbia (Canada) in 1966.
Roberta continued a career as a researcher at the Smithsonian Institution and University Professor at Howard. U. and George Washington U. in Washington DC. Returning to California and to Santa Cruz County in 1973, Roberta conducted research and taught at U.C.S.C. and also started her consulting geological practice. She still practices, emphasizing (1) geological processes and their relation to human land use and (2) mitigation paleontology – reflecting her two main areas of expertise in earth sciences. She has authored numerous publications and documents.
Roberta also has been very active in geological, land use, and community organizations over the years. These include the RCD and CARCD Board, and also TAC to the State Board of Forestry, State Soil Conservation Committee, and more locally as a Davenport area resident the Monterey Bay Unified Air Pollution Control District Advisory Committee, the Davenport/North Coast Association, the Davenport Citizens–Cemex Committee (relations between the community and the Davenport cement plant), the Scotts Creek Watershed Council (wherein she contributed to the Scotts Creek Watershed Assessment – accepted by California Department of Fish and Game), and the Davenport Geological Society. Roberta says that her participation in the RCD over time has always continued to be very important to her.