Jane Lubchenco, Ph.D., has been confirmed by the U.S. Senate as the under secretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere. In this capacity, she will serve as the ninth administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the nation’s top science agency for climate, oceans, and the atmosphere. Dr. Lubchenco is the first woman and the first marine ecologist to lead NOAA.
"Dr. Lubchenco is an outstanding and accomplished environmental scientist with a proven ability to communicate, lead a dynamic team, and inspire action," White House Council on Environmental Quality Chair Nancy Sutley said. "Dr. Lubchenco joins a distinguished group of scientific leaders in the Obama administration that will ensure that science plays its proper role in shaping policy."
With a budget of $4 billion, and 12,800 employees in every U.S. state and locations around the world, NOAA understands and predicts changes in the Earth’s environment, from the depths of the ocean to the surface of the sun, and conserves and manages our coastal and marine resources.
"I am truly honored and humbled to be part of the NOAA team," Lubchenco said. "With hard work and the best science as our guide, NOAA can spur the creation of new jobs and industries, revive our fisheries and the economies and communities they support, improve weather forecasting and disaster warnings, provide credible information about climate change to Americans, and protect and restore our coastal ecosystems."
Lubchenco, a Denver native, is a graduate of Colorado College, received her Masters degree from the University of Washington and Ph.D. from Harvard University in marine ecology, taught at Harvard for two years, and prior to assuming her new duties as NOAA administrator has been on the faculty at Oregon State University since 1977.
"Jane is the rare person who is both a top flight scientist and skilled policy-maker. Her years of public service with the National Academy of Sciences and the Joint Ocean Commission Initiative and many other organizations have prepared her well for taking the helm of NOAA," Co-chairman of the Joint Ocean Commission Initiative Admiral James D. Watkins.
As an advocate for science, Lubchenco is well known in international and national arenas. She is a former president of the International Council for Science, the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the Ecological Society of America. She was a presidential-appointee for two terms on the National Science Board, which advises the president and Congress and oversees the National Science Foundation. Lubchenco is an elected member of the National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Philosophical Society, the Royal Society, and the Academy of Sciences for the Developing World. She served on the Pew Oceans Commission and the Joint Oceans Commission Initiative.
Lubchenco has received numerous awards including a MacArthur ("Genius") Fellowship, nine honorary degrees, the 2002 Heinz Award in the Environment, the 2003 Nierenberg Prize for Science in the Public Interest, the 2004 Environmental Law Institute Award and the 2005 American Association for the Advancement of Science’s Award for Public Understanding of Science and Technology.