The Spring 2017 WISE Inspirations Network at Stanford (WINS) program features geoscientist Dawn J. Wright, Ph.D., Chief Scientist, Environmental Systems Research Institute (Esri), and Adjunct Professor of Geography and Oceanography, College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences, Oregon State University.
As Chief Scientist for Esri, a world leader in geographic information system (GIS) software, research and development, Dawn Wright aids in strengthening the scientific foundation for Esri software and services, while also representing Esri to the national/international scientific community. 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. 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. She has participated in more than 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 serves on the Science Advisory Boards of NOAA, COMPASS Science Communication, Inc., and Conservation International, as well as many journal editorial boards. She is a Fellow of the AAAS and the Geological Society of America, as well as a fellow of Stanford's Leopold Leadership Program. In 2007, she 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 Wright earned a Ph.D. in Physical Geography and Marine Geology, UC-Santa Barbara, an M.S. in Oceanography from Texas A&M, and a B.S. in Geology from Wheaton College (Illinois). Among her interests are road cycling, 18th-century pirates, apricot green tea gummy bears, her dog Sally, and SpongeBob Squarepants. Fans follow her on Twitter at @deepseadawn.
Dawn will share thoughts and reflections on an issue prescient in the minds of many academics these days: finding the time and the courage to communicate outside of academia, outside of the “ivory tower.” In her case, outside the ivory tower has meant engaging with different audiences about her science, but also “escaping” academia altogether for a new life and culture in industry. She will share some stories of engagement before and after making this “great escape” – not just the successes, but some of the hard lessons as well, some of the decisions faced along the way, what went as planned and what didn’t, who has helped the most and how, what happened during a great failure or two and why it was such a valuable experience, what she still struggles with, and what has been the most inspiring, rewarding, and just downright fun.
The WISE Inspirations Network at Stanford (WINS) provides an engaging Stanford network linking women graduate students, postdocs, faculty, and alumnae in science, engineering, and mathematics fields, and their allies and advocates, through regular meetings and communications. WINS aims to provide all with an opportunity to learn from stand-out women in these fields about the realities of their lives and work, successes and lessons learned, and to connect individuals with a network of potential mentors, protégés, and other colleagues.