Dr. Jane Lubchenco
Dr. Lubchenco is a world renowned environmental scientist who has deep experience in the worlds of science, academia, and government. She is a champion of science and of the stronger engagement of scientists with society. She was the Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere and the Administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) from 2009-2013. Nominated by President Obama in December 2008 as part of his “Science Dream Team,” she is a marine ecologist and environmental scientist by training, with expertise in oceans, climate change, and interactions between the environment and human well-being. To introduce her to his Senate colleagues for her confirmation hearing, Senator Ron Wyden called Lubchenco ‘the bionic woman of good science.’
Under her leadership, NOAA focused on ensuring continuity of the Nation’s weather and other environmental satellites, developing a Weather-Ready Nation, promoting climate science and delivering climate information and services to inform understanding and preparedness, restoring fisheries to sustainability and profitability, restoring oceans and coasts to a healthy state, and strengthening science and ensuring scientific integrity at NOAA.
Following her resignation from NOAA, she was the Haas Distinguished Visitor in Public Service at Stanford University for Spring Quarter, 2013. She now holds the title of University Distinguished Professor and Advisor in Marine Studies at Oregon State University. She received her B.A. in biology from Colorado College, her M.S. in zoology from the University of Washington, and a Ph.D. in ecology from Harvard University. Her academic career as a professor began at Harvard University (1975-1977) and continued at Oregon State University (1977-2009) until her appointment as NOAA administrator.
Dr. Lubchenco has served as president of the American Association for Advancement of Science (AAAS), the International Council for Science (ICSU), and the Ecological Society of America, and was a board member for 10 years on the National Science Board. Dr. Lubchenco has served or serves on numerous National Academy of Sciences committees and several commissions, including the Pew Oceans Commission, the Joint Oceans Commission Initiative, the Aspen Institute Arctic Commission, the Council of Advisors for Google Ocean, the Blue Ribbon Panel for the World Bank’s Global Partnership for Oceans and the Sustainable Development Solutions Network that advises UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.
She has been recognized as an innovative and gifted teacher by undergraduate and graduate students alike, e.g., receiving the ‘Outstanding Teacher Award’ at OSU. Her courses emphasize a combination of the mystery, relevance and excitement of science, and the importance of scientists engaging with society. The 29 Ph.D. students, 10 M.S., and 15 Postdoctoral students who completed their studies under her direction have gone on to successful careers as stellar scientists, gifted administrators, inspiring teachers, helpful mentors, sought-after consultants, and effective governmental and non-governmental scientists.
Dr. Lubchenco is one of the “most highly cited” ecologists in the world; eight of her publications are recognized as “Science Citation Classics.” She is an elected member of the National Academy of Sciences; the American Academy of Arts and Sciences; the American Philosophical Society; the Royal Society; The World Academy of Science, and the Chilean Academy of Science.
Dr. Lubchenco has received numerous awards including a MacArthur “genius” award, 19 honorary doctorates, the Heinz Award for the Environment, AAAS’s Public Understanding of Science and Technology Award, the Zayed International Prize for the Environment, the Peter Benchley Ocean Award for Excellence in Policy, the Blue Planet Prize, the BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Award in Ecology and Conservation Biology, the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation Climate Change Award, The World Academy of Sciences Medal, the Miguel Alemán Medal, the Stephen H. Schneider Award for Outstanding Climate Science Communication, and The World Academy of Sciences Medal. She was named “2010 Newsmaker of the Year” by the scientific journal Nature; she received the highest honor the Coast Guard gives to a civilian, the U. S. Coast Guard Public Service Award; and was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Marine Sanctuaries Foundation, the Seattle Aquarium Medal and the Eminent Ecologist Award from the Ecological Society of America.
Dr. Lubchenco is passionate about promoting the discovery, communication and use of scientific knowledge in policy, management and public understanding. She is recognized for promoting the concept of ‘a social contract for scientists’ in which scientists engage with society to pursue and share knowledge that is relevant to society’s most pressing problems, and do so with transparency, honesty and humility. She co-founded a research consortium, PISCO, that studies the near-shore ocean along the coasts of Oregon and California. She co-founded three organizations that enhance communication of scientific knowledge to the public, policy makers, media and industry: The Leopold Leadership Program, the Communication Partnership for Science and the Sea (COMPASS), and Climate Central. And at NOAA, she strengthened science and the use of scientific knowledge in policy and management.
(Photo credit: Joy Leighton)