Esri Appoints Dawn J. Wright as Chief Scientist

June 16, 2011

Dawn Wright, Chief Scientist, Esri

Redlands, California—Ocean scientist, geographer, and geographic information system (GIS) author Dawn J. Wright will join Esri as its chief scientist on October 3, 2011. She will help formulate and advance the intellectual agenda for the environmental, conservation, climate, and ocean sciences aspect of Esri's work while also representing Esri to the national/international scientific community.

"As a scientist, Wright brings a background of rigor that will strengthen our alignment with the requirements of the scientific community," said Jack Dangermond, Esri president. "In her capacity as chief scientist, she will interface with government, business, industry, and the public and collaborate with them to understand and find solutions for our planet."

A notable authority in geographic information science, Wright has for the past 16 years teamed with scientists worldwide who use GIS to map and analyze terrains, ecosystems, and habitat. She combines her expertise as a geographer and GIS user to map the seafloor; design geospatial solutions for coastal mapping and charting; and advise organizations on oceanography and fisheries, including her current service on the National Academy of Sciences Ocean Studies Board. She has worked with the GIS community to develop data models and create solutions for analyzing the ocean.

"I am honored and excited to serve with Esri in this capacity, and I look forward to helping advance Esri's science vision and scientific strategy as well as new initiatives to strengthen ocean GIS," said Wright.

Wright is currently professor of geography and oceanography at Oregon State University and will continue to be affiliated with the university. In 2007, the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education named her US Professor of the Year for the State of Oregon. She is also a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and a new fellow of Stanford University's Aldo Leopold Leadership Program in science communication. Her research interests include geographic information science; ocean informatics and cyberinfrastructure; benthic terrain and habitat characterization; and the processing and interpretation of high-resolution bathymetry, video, and underwater photographic images. Wright received a PhD in physical geography and marine geology from the University of California, Santa Barbara; an MS in oceanography from Texas A&M; and a BS with honors from Wheaton College in Illinois. She is also certified by the GIS Certification Institute as a GIS professional (GISP).

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