Kathryn Sullivan

Under-secretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere

U.S. Department of Commerce

Kathryn Sullivan was confirmed by the Senate as the under-secretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and NOAA administrator in March 2014, having served as acting NOAA administrator since February 2013. She is a distinguished scientist, renowned astronaut and intrepid explorer.

Prior to her current position, Dr Sullivan held the position of assistant secretary of commerce for environmental observation and prediction and deputy administrator. She is a distinguished scientist, renowned astronaut, and intrepid explorer.

Dr Sullivan is the United States co-chair of the Group on Earth Observations, an intergovernmental body that is building a Global Earth Observation System of Systems to provide environmental intelligence relevant to societal needs. She was the inaugural director of the Battelle Center for Mathematics and Science Education Policy in the John Glenn School of Public Affairs at Ohio State University. Prior to joining Ohio State, she served a decade as president and CEO of the Center of Science and Industry in Columbus, Ohio, one of the nation’s leading science museums.

Dr Sullivan was one of the first six women selected to join the NASA astronaut corps in 1978 and holds the distinction of being the first American woman to walk in space. She flew on three shuttle missions during her 15-year tenure. She has also served on the National Science Board (2004–10) and as an oceanographer in the US Navy Reserve (1988–2006). She holds a bachelor’s degree in earth sciences from the University of California at Santa Cruz and a doctorate in geology from Dalhousie University in Canada.

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