Committee and Staff Biographies
Alexander B. Murphy (Chair) is professor of geography and former head of the Department of Geography at the University of Oregon, where he also holds the James F. and Shirley K. Rippey Chair in Liberal Arts and Sciences. He specializes in cultural and political geography, with a regional emphasis on Europe. Professor Murphy is a past president of the Association of American Geographers (2003-2004) and current senior vice president of the American Geographical Society. He was a co-editor of Progress in Human Geography for 11 years, and he currently co-edits Eurasian Geography and Economics. In the late 1990s he chaired the national committee that oversaw the addition of geography to the College Board’s Advanced Placement program. Professor Murphy is the author of more than 80 articles and several books, including The Regional Dynamics of Language Differentiation in Belgium (University of Chicago, 1988), Cultural Encounters with the Environment (edited with Douglas Johnson; Rowman & Littlefield, 2000), Human Geography: Culture, Society, and Space, 9th ed. (with Erin Fouberg and Harm de Blij; Wiley, 2009), and The European Cultural Area: A Systematic Geography, 5th ed. (with Terry Jordan-Bychkov and Bella Bychkova Jordan). Professor Murphy is the recipient of numerous grants and awards, including a Fulbright-Hays Research Grant in 1985, a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship in 1991, a National Science Foundation Presidential Young Investigator Award in the mid-1990s, a National Council for Geographic Education Distinguished Teaching Award in 2001, and the Association of American Geographers’ Gilbert Grosvenor Honors Award for Geographic Education. Professor Murphy holds a B.A. in archaeology from Yale University, a law degree from the Columbia University School of Law, and a Ph.D. in geography from the University of Chicago.
Nancy Colleton is the president of the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES), a nonprofit organization located in Arlington, Virginia. She specializes in advancing environmental information capabilities and services—primarily Earth observations—and works to communicate their critical role in responding to global challenges such as climate change. Ms. Colleton also leads the Alliance for Earth Observations—an informal confederation of industry, academic, and nongovernmental organizations that works to ensure the rapid and broad delivery of the timely, comprehensive, and accurate environmental information for improved decision making. She cochairs the Environmental Information Services Working Group of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Science Advisory Board; is a board member of the GeoEye Foundation; and leads the newly established Specialty Group on Environmental Information for the International Union for Conservation of Nature. Ms. Colleton holds a B.A. degree from Hood College.
Roger M. Downs is professor of geography and former head of the Department of Geography at the Pennsylvania State University. He has chaired the NRC Geographical Sciences Committee and held a permanent position at the Johns Hopkins University, and sabbatical positions at Colgate University, the Uni-
versity of Washington, and the National Geographical Society. He holds B.A. (first class) and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Bristol, and has received honors from the National Geographic Society, the Association of American Geographers, and the National Council for Geographic Education. He has served as writing coordinator for the Geography Education Standards Project, and chaired the NRC study on Learning to Think Spatially: GIS as a Support System in the K-12 Curriculum. He has published three books and nearly 100 articles, reports, and reviews.
Michael F. Goodchild (NAS) is professor of geography and director of the Center for Spatial Studies and Center for Spatially Integrated Social Science at the University of California, Santa Barbara. He is also chair of the Executive Committee of the National Center for Geographic Information and Analysis and associate director of the Alexandria Digital Library. He taught at the University of Western Ontario for 19 years before moving to his present position in 1988. His research interests focus on the generic issues of geographic information, including accuracy and the modeling of uncertainty, the design of spatial decision-support systems, the development of methods of spatial analysis, and data structures for global geographic information systems. He has received several awards and published numerous books and journal articles. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, served on the Geographical Sciences Committee, and was a member and a chair of the National Research Council’s Mapping Science Committee. He received a B.A. in physics from Cambridge University and a Ph.D. in geography from McMaster University.
Susan Hanson (NAS) is research professor of geography at Clark University. She is an urban geographer with interests in gender and economy, transportation, local labor markets, and sustainability. Dr. Hanson has been an editor of three geography journals—Economic Geography, the Annals of the Association of American Geographers, and The Professional Geographer—and currently serves on the editorial boards of several other journals including Annals of the Association of American Geographers, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, and Journal of Geography in Higher Education. Dr. Hanson is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, past member of the Geographical Sciences Committee, past president of the Association of American Geographers (AAG), and has served as director of Clark’s School of Geography (1988-1995; 2002-2004). She was the recipient of AAG’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 2003. Dr. Hanson received her B.A. in geography from Middlebury College and her Ph.D. in geography from Northwestern University.
Victoria A. Lawson is professor of geography at the University of Washington and was chair of the Geography Department from 1997 to 2000. She has held several leadership positions at the Association of American Geographers, serving as president and national councilor. Dr. Lawson holds a Ph.D. and M.A. in geography from Ohio State University and a B.A. in social sciences from the University of Leicester. Her theoretical and empirical work is broadly concerned with the social and economic effects of global economic restructuring across North and South America. In addition, she is interested in three scholarly literatures: first, feminist care ethics; second, development studies work on neo-liberal modernization and globalization, the transformation of work, and poverty/inequality processes; and third, migration theory. She received several awards including the University of Washington Distinguished Teaching Award (1996). She is the North American editor for Progress in Human Geography, and has served on the editorial boards of Annals of the Association of American Geographers (1998-2006), The Professional Geographer (1992-1996), and Economic Geography (2002-present). She is a member of the National Academies Standing Committee on the Geographical Sciences, and she was a scholar on the Advisory Committee to the National Geography Education Standards Project of the National Council for Geographic Education (1993).
Glen MacDonald is presidential chair and director of the Institute of the Environment and a professor of geography, ecology, and evolutionary biology at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). Previously, he served as a faculty member at McMaster University and a visiting fellow at Clare Hall, Cambridge University and Saint Catherine’s College, Oxford. He was a Guggenheim Fellow from 2008 to 2009. The focus of Dr. MacDonald’s research is long-term climatic and environmental change and the impact of such changes
on plants, animals, and humans. He uses a variety of archives to reconstruct past climate and environments including fossil pollen, plant macrofossils, tree rings, fossil insects, elemental geochemistry, stable isotopes, population genetics, and historical documents, artwork, and maps. Dr. MacDonald has published more than 120 peer-reviewed journal articles and numerous book chapters, reports, and other pieces, as well as an award-winning text on biogeography (Biogeography: Time, Space and Life, Wiley). He was elected a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and has won the McMaster University Award for Teaching Excellence and the UCLA Distinguished Teaching Award. Dr. MacDonald has served as the cochair of the National Science Foundation PARCS (Paleoenvironmental Arctic Sciences) program, chair of the Association of American Geographers Biogeography Specialty Group, and international coordinator (global change) for the International Boreal Forest Research Association, as well as associate editor or editorial board member for the Annals of the American Association of Geographers, Geography Compass, Journal of Biogeography, and Physical Geography. He received an A.B. degree in geography with highest honors and distinction from the University of California, Berkeley, an M.Sc. in geography from the University of Calgary, and a Ph.D. in botany from the University of Toronto.
Francis J. Magilligan is a professor in the Geography Department of Dartmouth College. His research interests focus primarily on fluvial geomorphology and surface water hydrology. In particular, his research addresses stream channel and watershed response to environmental change. He is a member of the Association of American Geographers (AAG), the Geological Society of America, and the American Geophysical Union. Dr. Magilligan has published more than 30 papers, and he has served as chair of the AAG Geomorphology Specialty Group and on the AAG Editorial Board. He received a B.A. in geography from Boston University, an M.S. in water resources management, an M.S. in geography, and a Ph.D. in geography from the University of Wisconsin at Madison.
William G. Moseley is associate professor of geography and director of the African Studies Program at Macalester College. He is a development and human-environment geographer with particular expertise in political ecology, tropical agriculture, environmental and development policy, livelihood security, and West Africa and southern Africa. Before becoming an academic, he worked for 10 years in the field of international development. His scholarly publications include 4 books, as well as more than 50 peer-reviewed journal articles and book chapters. He is also a committed public scholar who has published op-eds in such outlets as the International Herald Tribune, the Christian Science Monitor, the San Francisco Chronicle, and the Chronicle of Higher Education. He is chair of the national councilors of the Association of American Geographers (AAG), chair of the cultural and political ecology specialty group of the AAG, and editor of the African Geographical Review. His research has been funded by the National Science Foundation, the Fulbright-Hays Faculty Research Abroad Program, and the American Geographical Society McColl Family Fellowship.
Colin Polsky is an associate professor at the Clark University Graduate School of Geography. He is also director of the Human-Environment Regional Observatory (HERO) program, which provides opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students to analyze the causes and consequences of global environmental changes at local scales in faculty-led research projects, and research assistant professor at the George Perkins Marsh Institute. Dr. Polsky is a geographer specializing in the human dimensions of global environmental change, emphasizing the statistical analysis of vulnerability to climate change. He has explored ways to blend quantitative and qualitative methods for the study of social and ecological vulnerability to environmental changes in the Arctic (with a focus on traditional reindeer herding), the U.S. Great Plains (with a focus on contemporary agriculture), and central and eastern Massachusetts (with a focus on suburban water management). Dr. Polsky received his Ph.D. and M.S. (geography) degrees from the Pennsylvania State University, where he was a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow, and B.S. (mathematics) and B.A. (humanities, French) degrees from the University of Texas at Austin. He has also completed a 2-year postdoctoral fellowship at Harvard University, with the Research and Assessment Systems for Sustainability program at the Belfer
Center for Science and International Affairs, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
Karen C. Seto is an associate professor in the School of Forestry and Environmental Studies at Yale University. She was on faculty at Stanford University for 8 years prior to joining Yale in 2008. The focus of Dr. Seto’s research is the human transformation of Earth’s surface, with an emphasis on urbanization, and the consequences of land conversion for the environment. She has ongoing projects in China, India, and Vietnam, where she combines remotely sensed imagery, field interviews, and statistical methods to monitor and forecast land-use dynamics. Dr. Seto cochairs the Urbanization and Global Environmental Change Project of the International Human Dimensions Programme on Global Environmental Change and has served as the remote sensing thematic leader for the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Commission on Ecosystem Management (2002-2008). Dr. Seto is a fellow of the Aldo Leopold Leadership Program (2009), and she is a recipient of the National Science Foundation Faculty Early Career Development Award and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration New Investigator Program in Earth Science Award. She received a B.A. in political science from the University of California at Santa Barbara, an M.A. in international relations and resource and environmental management from Boston University, and a Ph.D. in geography from Boston University.
Dawn J. Wright is a professor of geography in the Department of Geosciences at Oregon State University and holds an adjunct professorship in the College of Oceanic and Atmospheric Sciences. She has authored or co-authored more than 85 articles and five books on marine geographic information systems, marine data modeling, and the hydrothermal activity and tectonics of mid-ocean ridges. Dr. Wright’s research currently focuses on coastal/oceanic cyberinfrastructure, geographic information science, benthic terrain and habitat characterization, and the processing and interpretation of high-resolution bathymetry and underwater videography. Additional National Research Council services include the Ocean Studies Board and the Board on Earth Sciences and Resources (BESR) Committee on an Ocean Infrastructure Strategy for U.S. Ocean Research in 2030, as well as the BESR Standing Committee on Geophysical and Environmental Data. Dr. Wright’s awards include a National Science Foundation Faculty Early Career Development Award, a Fulbright to Ireland, the Raymond C. Smith Distinguished Alumni Award from the University of California at Santa Barbara, and the Oregon State University Honors College Professor of the Year. In 2007 she was named U.S. Professor of the Year for the state of Oregon by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education, and in 2008 a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. She earned an individual interdisciplinary Ph.D. in physical geography and marine geology from the University of California at Santa Barbara.
National Research Council Staff
Mark D. Lange, Study Director, is an associate program officer at the National Research Council’s Board on Earth Sciences and Resources and director of the Geographical Sciences Committee. He is a geomorphologist with interests in coastal river processes and geographic information systems. He was a Tyler Environmental Fellow (University of Southern California) and a Knauss Marine Policy Fellow (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) in the U.S. House of Representatives, where he managed environmental and natural resource policy for a member of Congress. He is a member of the Association of American Geographers and the American Geophysical Union and holds a Ph.D. in geography from the University of Southern California.
Jason R. Ortego, Research Associate, is with the Board on Earth Sciences and Resources. He received a B.A. in English from Louisiana State University in 2004 and an M.A. in international affairs from George Washington University in 2008. He began working for the National Academies in 2008 with the Board on Energy and Environmental Systems, and in 2009 he joined the Board on Earth Sciences and Resources.
Tonya Fong Yee, Senior Program Assistant, is with the Board on Earth Sciences and Resources. She received her B.S. in business administration with a focus on marketing from the University of Florida in Gainesville. Before coming to the National Academies, she interned at the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, working on the Safe Schools/Healthy Students Initiative.