Salazar Applauds President Obama's Intent to Nominate Dr. Marcia McNutt as Director of the U.S. Geological Survey

Last edited 09/29/2021

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar today praised President Obama's announcement that he intends to nominate Dr. Marcia McNutt as Director of the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and Science Advisor to the Secretary. She would be the first woman director of the agency since its establishment in 1879. The nomination is subject to Senate confirmation.

Dr. McNutt currently serves as President and Chief Executive Officer of the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute in California. She worked for USGS, the agency that she would direct, at the start of her career.

“We look forward to welcoming Dr. McNutt, who is now a world-class scientist, back to the U.S. Geological Survey,” Secretary Salazar said. “Not only does she offer sterling academic credentials, but she also has worked in the field as chief scientist on many oceanographic expeditions and has been involved in government as chair of the President's Panel on Ocean Exploration convened by President Clinton. Her experience will be valuable in leading the government's premiere scientific agency.”

Dr. Marcia McNutt studied geophysics at Scripps Institution of Oceanography in La Jolla, California and earned her PhD there in Earth Sciences in 1978. She then spent three years with the USGS in Menlo Park, Calif. working on earthquake prediction.

Dr. McNutt joined the faculty at MIT in 1982 where she became the Griswold Professor of Geophysics and served as Director of the Joint Program in Oceanography & Applied Ocean Science & Engineering, offered by MIT & the Woods Hole Oceanography Institution.

McNutt has participated in 15 major oceanographic expeditions and served as chief scientist on more than half of those voyages. She has published 90 peer-reviewed scientific articles. Her research has ranged from studies of ocean island volcanism in French Polynesia to continental break-up in the Western United States to uplift of the Tibet Plateau.

She served as President of the American Geophysical Union from 2000-2002. She was Chair of the Board of Governors for Joint Oceanographic Institutions, helping to bring about its merger with the Consortium for Ocean Research and Education to become the Consortium for Ocean Leadership, for which she served as Trustee. She is a fellow of the American Geophysical Union, the Geological Society of America, the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the International Association of Geodesy.

Dr. McNutt's honors and awards include membership in the National Academy of Sciences, the American Philosophical Society and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. She serves on numerous evaluation and advisory boards for institutions such as the Monterey Bay Aquarium, Stanford University, Harvard University and Science Magazine

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