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Dawn Wright Will Deliver 2018 Borchert Lecture

June 4, 2018

We are pleased to announce that the 2018 John R. Borchert Lecture speaker is Dr. Dawn Wright. Dr. Wright is Esri Chief Scientist; in this role, she aids in strengthening the scientific foundation for Esri software and services, while also representing Esri to the national and international scientific community. She came to Esri after 17 years as a professor of geography and oceanography at Oregon State University, and maintains an affiliated faculty appointment within the College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences. Dawn holds an Individual Interdisciplinary Ph.D. in Physical Geography and Marine Geology from UC-Santa Barbara, a M.S. in Oceanography from Texas A&M, and a B.S. cum laude in Geology from Wheaton College. 

Her research interests include geographic information science; ocean informatics and cyberinfrastructure; benthic terrain and habitat characterization; and science communication. She has authored or co-authored more than 130 articles and five books on marine geographic information systems, hydrothermal activity and tectonics of mid-ocean ridges, and marine data modeling and cyberinfrastructure. Dawn has also participated in over 20 oceanographic research expeditions worldwide, including 10 legs of the Ocean Drilling Program, three dives in the deep submergence vehicle Alvin and twice in the Pisces V. Her fieldwork has taken her to some of the most geologically active regions of the planet, including the East Pacific Rise, the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, the Juan de Fuca Ridge, the Tonga Trench, and volcanoes under the Japan Sea and the Indian Ocean. She is the first African-American woman to descend into deep “inner space.” Her other interests include road cycling, 18th-century pirates, apricot green tea gummy bears, her golden retriever puppy Riley, and SpongeBob Squarepants!

Dawn’s recent advisory board service includes the advisory board of the University of Minnesota Institute on the Environment, the NOAA Science Advisory Board, the EPA Science Advisory Board, the US National Academy of Sciences Ocean Studies Board, the Science Advisory Board of Conservation International, the Board of COMPASS Science Communication Inc., and many journal editorial boards. She is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), and of the Geological Society of America, as well as a fellow of Stanford University's Leopold Leadership Program. Her AAG Awards include Presidential Achievement Medal and Distinguished Teaching Honors. In 2007, Dawn was named Oregon Professor of the Year by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education.

Dawn’s Borchert Lecture titled, Swells, Soundings, and Sustainability in the Ocean, will begin with a brief history of how the ocean has been mapped from ancient times to the present. She will also explain how modern-day mapping systems have become increasingly intelligent. These systems are changing what we measure, how we analyze, what predictions we make, how we plan and regulate, how we design, how we evaluate and ultimately how we manage it all.  And yet “here be monsters!” There remain compelling challenges in coping with both the overabundance and paucity of data in the ocean, its multidimensionality, and how to make it accessible to the myriad audiences in great need of it.