Phil Stokes, PhD

Stokes at WGRZ
Dr. Stokes visits WGRZ-Channel 2 Studios in Buffalo.

Dr. Phil Stokes is the Executive Director of Penn Dixie Fossil Park & Nature Reserve located in Hamburg, NY — the home of trilobites. Penn Dixie — ranked #1 in the U.S. among fossil parks and also the inaugural holder of a Guinness World Record for Largest Fossil Dig — welcomes tens of thousands of visitors each year. Download his full CV here.

In 2021 Dr. Stokes was honored as a 40 Under 40 Awardee by Buffalo Business First. Prior to working for Big Fossil, Dr. Stokes served as instructor, research associate, academic advisor, and community outreach coordinator in the Department of Geosciences at the University of Arizona — a top 5 Geology program — while pursuing his PhD. His 2016 dissertation, Diversity in Geoscience: Critical Incidents and Factors Affecting Choice of Major, used social and behavioral science to look at the factors behind underrepresentation in STEM fields, and in particular geology.

Dr. Stokes has coordinated four multi-year National Science Foundation projects: three at the University of Arizona (including SAGUARO) and one at SUNY Buffalo, where he earned his B.S. (2004) and M.S. (2007) degrees in Geological Science. His thesis work used ground penetrating radar to search for mastodon bones and to map glacially deposited units at the Ice Age Hiscock Site near Rochester, NY. In his spare time he plays guitar and ukulele, travels, and brings a telescope to music festivals for late night stargazing.

Phil on Mt Lemmon
Dr. Stokes discussing basin and range geology with high school students attending Sky School — an interdisciplinary STEM program for immersive learning — on Mt. Lemmon in Tucson, AZ.