Dr. Lubchenco was the Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere and 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 restoring fisheries to sustainability and profitability, restoring oceans and coasts to a healthy state, protecting marine mammals and endangered species, 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 adaptation, strengthening science and ensuring scientific integrity at NOAA, and delivering the highest quality science, services and stewardship.
Following her resignation from NOAA, she was the Haas Distinguished Visitor in Public Service at Stanford University for Spring Quarter, 2013, and has now returned to Oregon State University where she is Distinguished Professor of Zoology and Valley Professor of Marine Biology. She received her B.A. in biology from Colorado College, her M.S. in zoology from the University of Washington, and her 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 on numerous National Academy of Sciences 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 and the Blue Ribbon Panel for the World Bank’s Global Partnership for Oceans. She is a devoted teacher who has been recognized by undergraduate and graduate students alike, e.g., receiving the ‘Outstanding Teacher Award’ at OSU. She helped build OSU’s Marine Biology course into a class rated by dozens of students over the years as the best class they took at OSU.
She pioneered a unique ‘Marine Science and Policy’ graduate course that attracted students from over a dozen universities around the country and gave students the tools to successfully work as or with policy makers and resource managers. Her courses on communication of science have inspired students and given them the skills to share their science broadly. 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, 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; and the Academies of Science for the Developing World, for Europe and for Chile. 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, and the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation Climate Change Award.
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 recently awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Marine Sanctuaries Foundation. Dr. Lubchenco is passionate about promoting the discovery, communication and use of scientific knowledge in policy and management. She is recognized for promoting the concept of ‘a social contract for scientists’ in which scientists 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.