Penny Webster-Scholten

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Penny Webster-Scholten
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Born(1940 -10-10)October 10, 1940
Los Angeles, California
Died(2021-07-06)July 6, 2021
  • Writer
  • Editor

Claudia Penny Webster-Scholten , (October 10, 1940 - July 6, 2021) was born in Los Angeles, California and was the eldest daughter of Colby and Yvonne Webster. She was also the older sister to her younger brother, Dan Webster. She would eventually become a sophisticated writer and editor. She mainly focused her writings on science. After going to school she would become a successful petroleum geologist.


Webster-Scholten had multiple different occupations, she worked as a housekeeper, auditor, and Disneyland associate before going to post-secondary school. Her interest in geology stemmed from her days working as a housekeeper during summers at the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. She would often hike around the canyon and notice the different colour textures and layers of the canyon. This sparked an interest to learn more about how the canyon came to be.

She married Don Scholton in August, 1959. After five years of marriage they had two daughters, Jill and Monica Scholten. The family decided to move to Prescott, Arizona in 1969 to live a quieter life. Webster-Scholten continued with her love of hiking and found interest in backpacking which further developed her interest in geology.


Webster-Scholten graduated high school (1958) as valedictorian of her class at Fullerton Union High School (California). She later went on to study at Yavapai Community College, where she earned her associate’s degree in geology. After graduating with honours and getting her degree and recommendations from her professors, she was granted a special teaching certificate from the Arizona College, and she began teaching introductory geology courses. Webster-Scholten decided to attend Northern Arizona University to get her bachelor's degree in geology and her master’s in education.

Contribution to Geology

After graduating, she was given an opportunity to work for the Cities Services Capital in Tulsa, Oklahoma as a petroleum geologist. She entered this male-dominated industry to pursue her dream job. This consisted of voyaging and looking for petroleum deposits using seismic surveys. She enjoyed her time working for the company however she was laid off due to a tank in the oil industry. She was able to help make important changes in how research is conducted using explosive devices. This helped contribute to one of her last tasks at LLNL which was to supervise and lead upwards of 30 scientists to report the contamination at LLNL’s “Site 300.”


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