Committee and Staff Biographies
John A. Orcutt (Chair) is a distinguished professor of geophysics at the University of California, San Diego. Dr. Orcutt earned a B.S. in mathematics and physics from the U.S. Naval Academy, an M.Sc. in physical chemistry as a Fulbright Scholar from the University of Liverpool, and a Ph.D. in geophysics from the University of California, San Diego, Scripps Institution of Oceanography. His research focuses on cyberinfrastructure and geophysical applications; geophysical studies of ocean seismo-acoustics including rough seafloor scattering, acoustic-elastic interactions, and the use of small arrays; structure of the elastic earth using seismology, synthetic seismograms, and geophysical inverse theory; internal structure of ocean spreading centers; genesis of the oceanic lithosphere; and nuclear test-ban verification methods. Dr. Orcutt is a past president of the American Geophysical Union and a Secretary of the Navy/Chief of Naval Operations Oceanography Chair. He is a member of the American Philosophical Society and served briefly as Interim President of the Ocean Drilling Program in 2000. Dr. Orcutt is a former member of the Ocean Studies Board and has served on numerous National Research Council (NRC) committees, including the Ocean Studies Board’s (OSB’s) Committee on Exploration of the Seas.
Martha R. Grabowski (Vice-chair) is McDevitt Associate Chair of Information Systems, chair of the Business Administration Department, professor and director of the information systems program at Le Moyne College in Syracuse, New York, as well as research professor in the Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Dr. Grabowski earned an M.B.A., an M.S. in engineering, and a Ph.D. in management and information systems from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and a B.S. from the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy. A licensed former merchant officer and retired LCDR in the U.S. Naval Reserve, her research focuses the impact of technology in safety-critical systems, risk analysis and risk mitigation in large-scale systems, the role of human and organizational error in high consequence settings, and financial cybersecurity in complex, heterogeneous data environments. A member of the American Bureau of Shipping, Dr. Grabowski is a former chair of the NRC’s Marine Board, a former member of the NRC’s standing Committee on Human Factors, and has served on numerous NRC committees. She is currently chairing the Committee on Naval Engineering in the 21st Century and chaired the Committee Evaluating Shipboard Display of Automated Identification Systems. She received the Lifetime National Associate Award from the NRC in 2003.
Brian Atwater is a geologist employed by the U.S. Geological Survey and based at the University of Washington. Dr. Atwater earned a Ph.D. in geology from the University of Delaware.
Having used geology as a long-term advisory of earthquakes and tsunamis in the Cascadia region of western North America, he is now trying to make this strategy helpful to developing countries. He also seeks to mentor scientists in assessing tsunami hazards on the centennial and millennial timescales of great-earthquake recurrence. These overeseas efforts now include a UNESCO project at the Makran subduction zone and a Fulbright in Indonesia. Dr. Atwater is exploring earthquake geology in the British Virgin Islands to help guide the Nuclear Regulatory Commission on tsunami hazards of the U.S. Atlantic coast. Dr. Atwater is a member of the National Academy of Sciences.
Ann Bostrom is professor and associate dean of research at the Daniel J. Evans School of Public Affairs of the University of Washington. Dr. Bostrom earned a B.A. from the University of Washington, an M.B.A. from Western Washington University, and a Ph.D. in policy analysis from Carnegie Mellon University. She joined the Evans School faculty in 2007. Dr. Bostrom has research interests in risk perception, communication and management, and environmental policy and decision making under uncertainty. Her research focuses on mental models of hazardous processes (how people understand and make decisions about risks). Dr. Bostrom co-directed the Decision Risk and Management Science Program at National Science Foundation (NSF) from 1999-2001. Dr. Bostrom is risk communication area or associate editor for Risk Analysis, the Journal of Risk Research, and Human and Ecological Risk Assessment, and she is a Fellow of the Society for Risk Analysis. She has authored or contributed to numerous publications, including Risk Communication: A Mental Models Approach and Risk Assessment, Modeling and Decision Support: Strategic Directions, as well as NRC and EPA Science Advisory Board and Board of Scientific Counselor reports.
George Crawford is the former Washington State earthquake program manager and has more than 16 years of multi-program design and coordination of local, state, national, and international seismic and geologic programs in collaboration with the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and state, national, international, and private organizations. Mr. Crawford served as the Washington State representative to the U.S. National Tsunami Hazard Program, Western States Seismic Policy Council Tsunami Committee chair, Washington State/Local Tsunami Workgroup chair, a Cascadia Region Earthquake Workgroup director, and the National Emergency Management Association (NEMA) representative to the ANSS National Steering Committee. Mr. Crawford co-developed the All-Hazard Alert Broadcasting (AHAB) Radio that is deployed in U.S. states and internationally, and he advises on tsunami community communication issues globally. He has worked extensively with coastal Native American tribes to link science to tribal oral history, and created the “Run to High Ground” video. He has represented the United States in international forums, and the Washington State Tsunami Program has become a mitigation model nationally and internationally for at-risk tsunami communities. In retirement, he continues to support U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and U.N. Development Programme (UNDP) in Indian Ocean country tsunami missions, collaborate with NOAA/Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory (NOAA/PMEL) to develop the Train-the Trainer Program and
Community-based Education Program in Washington State, assist in the University of Washington Certificate Program in “Tsunami Science & Preparedness,” and he is lead contractor in developing a national Tsunami Awareness Course for the National Disaster Preparedness Training Centre at the University of Hawaii. He has written papers on tsunami communication and dissemination, preparedness, and mitigation and continues to collaborate in tsunami research.
Richard Eisner is visiting professor at the Research Center for Disaster Reduction Systems (DRS), Disaster Prevention Research Institute at Kyoto University. Prior to joining DRS, he worked for 23 years as the coastal regional administrator for the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services, where he was responsible for the state’s disaster response in the San Francisco Bay Region and north coast counties. He also served as manager for the California Integrated Seismic Network’s and the state’s Tsunami and Earthquake Programs. Prior to that appointment, Mr. Eisner served as the founding director of the Bay Area Regional Earthquake Preparedness Project, providing planning and technical assistance to promote and support earthquake preparedness and hazard mitigation by local governments and businesses throughout the San Francisco Bay Region. In 2007, he received the Lifetime Achievement Award by the Western States Seismic Policy Council. Mr. Eisner recently served on the NRC Panel on Solid-Earth Hazards, Resources, and Dynamics.
Jian Lin is a senior scientist and Henry Bryant Bigelow Chair for Excellence in Oceanography at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. He earned his Ph.D. in geophysics from Brown University. His research focuses on earth’s lithosphere processes that lead to catastrophic events of earthquakes, underwater volcanism, and tsunamis. Dr. Lin has conducted extensive research on earthquake stress interaction and triggering in California and elsewhere in the world. He has led and participated in numerous oceanographic expeditions to the Pacific, Atlantic, and Indian Oceans to investigate mid-ocean ridge volcanism, deep-sea hydrothermal vents, underwater earthquakes, and tsunamis. He is recently conducting two areas of tsunami research: paleoseismological dating of tsunamis and mega-earthquakes and modeling tsunami sources in the Atlantic. Dr. Lin is a past chairman of the InterRidge International Science Program. He is a fellow of the Geological Society of America and American Association for the Advancement of Science.
Douglas S. Luther is a professor in the Department of Oceanography at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, Honolulu, Hawaii. Dr. Luther received his B.S. in geophysics and electrical engineering from Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a Ph.D. in oceanography from Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution Joint Program. His expertise is in circulation variability and dynamics; mesoscale fluctuations; waves in the ocean; and flow-topography interactions. He is a senior fellow, Joint Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Research, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the University of Hawaii at Manoa. Dr. Luther is also an associate editor for the Journal of Physical Oceanography.
Hugh B. Milburn is retired from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and is now an independent consultant. Mr. Milburn worked at NOAA’s Pacific Marine Environmental
Laboratory for 22 years, last as a supervisory ocean engineer. He earned an M.S.E. in ocean engineering from the University of Washington. His interests include the development of moored systems to serve research and operational requirements of global-scale measurements and observation with a focus on materials, sensors, data telemetry, and deployment methodologies. Mr. Milburn is also involved in the development of seafloor observatories utilizing advanced communications for data acquisition and desktop control. He lead the team that developed the NOAA Deep-ocean Assessment and Reporting of Tsunami (DART) system. In 2005, he received the Department of Commerce’s Gold Medal for research and development leading to the creation of a tsunami forecasting capability.
Dennis Mileti is a professor emeritus in the Department of Sociology and a research scientist in the Natural Hazards Center at the University of Colorado. Dr. Mileti was director of the Natural Hazards Center at the University of Colorado at Boulder, which is the nation’s national repository and clearinghouse for social science research on natural hazards and disasters, and he is currently also a researcher at the Department of Homeland Security’s START Center of the University of Maryland at College Park. Dr. Mileti earned a Ph.D. in sociology from the University of Colorado. His research focuses on environmental sociology, complex organizations, research methods, and collective behavior. In 2007, he earned the Outstanding Civilian Service Medal from the U.S. Department of the Army. Dr. Mileti has served on previous NRC committees, including the Committee on Natural Disasters.
Emile Okal is a professor in the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences at Northwestern University. Dr. Okal earned a Ph.D. in geophysics from the California Institute of Technology. He is currently researching tsunami generation, risk, and warning using post-event field surveys and modeling. Dr. Okal’s general research interests include seismology, structure of the Earth’s interior, properties of seismic sources, marine geosciences, volcanism, and underwater acoustics.
Costas Synolakis is a professor of civil, environmental, aerospace, and mechanical engineering and the director of the Tsunami Research Center at the University of Southern California. Dr. Synolakis earned a Ph.D. in civil engineering from the California Institute of Technology. His research focuses on tsunami run-up, computer tomography, vibration, isolation of art objects, and earthquake hazards reduction.
Nathan Wood is a research geographer at the U.S. Geological Survey. Dr. Wood earned a Ph.D. in geography from Oregon State University. His research focuses on characterizing and communicating societal vulnerability to natural hazards, with emphasis on tsunamis in the Pacific Northwest. He develops and applies geospatial modeling and mapping techniques, as well as collaborative community-based processes, to better understand how individuals, communities, and coupled human-environment systems are vulnerable to tsunamis.
Harry Yeh is the Miles Lowell and Margaret Watt Edwards Distinguished Chair in Engineering and a professor of coastal and ocean engineering at Oregon State University. Dr. Yeh earned
a Ph.D. in civil engineering from the University of California, Berkeley. His research focuses on environmental fluid mechanics, ocean and coastal wave phenomena, flow-structure interactions, tsunami induced scour, wind turbulence, structure control (tuned liquid dampers), physical processes in lakes and oceans, and tsunami hazard mitigation.
Claudia Mengelt is a senior program officer with the Ocean Studies Board. After completing her B.S. in aquatic biology at the University of California, Santa Barbara, she received her M.S. in biological oceanography from the College of Oceanic and Atmospheric Sciences at Oregon State University. Her master’s degree research focused on how chemical and physical parameters in the surface ocean affect Antarctic phytoplankton species composition and consequently impact biogeochemical cycles. She obtained her Ph.D. in marine sciences from the University of California, Santa Barbara, where she conducted research on the photophysiology of harmful algal bloom species. She joined the full-time staff of the National Academies’ Board on Atmospheric Sciences and Climate (BASC) in the fall of 2005 following a fellowship with the same group in the winter of 2005. While with the Academies, she has worked on studies including the Analysis of Global Change Assessments (2007), Strategic Guidance for the NSF’s Support of Atmospheric Sciences (2007), Earth Observations from Space: The First 50 Years of Scientific Achievements (2007), and Adapting to the Impacts of Climate Change (2010).
Susan Park was a senior program officer with the Ocean Studies Board until the end of 2009. She received her Ph.D. in oceanography from the University of Delaware in 2004. Dr. Park was a Christine Mirzayan Science and Technology Graduate Policy Fellow with the Ocean Studies Board in 2002 and joined the staff in 2006. She worked on several reports, including Nonnative Oysters in the Chesapeake Bay, Review of Recreational Fisheries Survey Methods, Dynamic Changes in Marine Ecosystems, A Review of the Ocean Research Priorities Plan and Implementation Strategy, and Tackling Marine Debris in the 21st Century. Prior to joining the Ocean Studies Board, she spent time working on aquatic invasive species management with the Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management and the Northeast Aquatic Nuisance Species Panel. She is currently assistant director for research at Virginia Sea Grant.
Deborah Glickson is a program officer with the Ocean Studies Board. She received an M.S. in geology from Vanderbilt University in 1999 and a Ph.D. in oceanography from the University of Washington in 2007. Her doctoral research focused on magmatic and tectonic contributions to mid-ocean ridge evolution and hydrothermal activity at the Endeavour Segment of the Juan de Fuca Ridge. Deborah was a Dean John A. Knauss Marine Policy Fellow and worked on coastal and ocean policy and legislation in the U.S. Senate. Prior to her Ph.D. work, she was a research associate in physical oceanography at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. She joined the National Academies staff in 2008 and has worked on Oceanography in 2025: Proceedings of a Workshop, Science at Sea: Meeting Future Oceanographic Goals with a Robust Academic Research Fleet, and Realizing the Energy Potential of Methane Hydrates in the United States in addition to this report.
Pamela Lewis is the administrative coordinator with the Ocean Studies Board. She joined the Academies in 1997 as a program assistant working in the Division on Engineering and Physical Sciences (DEPS), Board on Army Science and Technology and the Air Force Studies Board. She received a promotion to program associate in DEPS with the Board on Physics and Astronomy, where she was a recipient of a DEPS Staff Award. Ms. Lewis attended Berkeley-Claremont Business School in New York City, majoring in business management. Prior to going to the Academies, she was employed as an office manager at IBM in Poughkeepsie, New York.
Sherrie Forrest is a research associate on the Ocean Studies Board and Board on Science Education at the National Research Council. She graduated from the Institute of Marine and Coastal Sciences at Rutgers University with an M.S. in oceanography in May 2008. Her graduate work employed molecular techniques to explore oceanic nitrogen and iron budgets using quantitative analysis of an essential physiological structure. Ms. Forrest also has a B.A. in English from Pepperdine University. Before transitioning to science, she worked in development and production of feature films and documentaries in both California and New York. More recently, she worked as a freelance science writer for Rutgers University in New Jersey.
Jeremy Justice is a senior program assistant with the Ocean Studies Board. He earned a B.A. in international and area studies from the University of Oklahoma in 2008. Since joining the staff in October 2008, Mr. Justice has worked on Science at Sea: Meeting Future Oceanographic Goals with a Robust Academic Research Fleet, Ecosystem Concepts for Sustainable Bivalve Mariculture, and Assessment of Sea-Turtle Status and Trends, in addition to this report.
Helena Antoun was a Christine Mirzayan Science and Technology Policy Fellow (Fall 2009). She holds a master’s degree in marine sciences from the University of Puerto Rico-Mayagüez and a bachelor’s degree in environmental sciences and chemistry from the University of Puerto Rico-Rio Piedras. As part of her graduate research, she participated in oceanographic expeditions in the Caribbean, studying the impacts of the Orinoco River plume and mesoscale eddies on phytoplankton dynamics. She has also been involved in different projects ranging from environmental pollution to impact assessment of climate change in the Caribbean and ocean acidification. Ms. Antoun is currently working with the Conservation Trust of Puerto Rico.
Ian Brosnan was a Christine A. Mirzayan Science and Technology Policy Graduate Fellow on the Ocean Studies Board (Winter 2010). A former U.S. Coast Guard officer, his service included command of the Coast Guard Cutter Cobia and liaison to members of the U.S. Congress. He received his master’s degreein marine affairs from the University of Washington in 2010 and is presently pursuing a Ph.D. at Cornell University. His research centers around the use of advanced tagging and tracking technologies to address marine conservation concerns in the Pacific.