Director of the U.S. Geological Survey: Who Is Suzette Kimball?
Suzette Kimball, who has been acting director of the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) since February 2013, was nominated by President Barack Obama on January 9, 2014, to fill the job permanently. The USGS director is responsible for providing scientific information to understand the Earth, minimizing loss of life and property from natural disasters and managing water, biological, energy, and mineral resources.
Kimball graduated from the College of William and Mary in 1973 with a degree in English while also completing the requirements for a geology degree. She went on to earn a master’s in geology and geophysics from Ball State University in 1981 and a Ph.D. in environmental sciences from the University of Virginia in 1983. During this period, she was also a research coordinator and a research assistant at the Department of Environmental Sciences at the University of Virginia.
From 1983 to 1986 Kimball worked for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers as a coastal engineering research center chief and a program manager for barrier islands sedimentation studies. Subsequently, she served as co-founder and co-director of the center for coastal management and policy and as associate marine scientist at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science at the College of William and Mary.
Kimball joined the National Park Service (NPS) in 1991, again focusing on barrier islands. She was a research coordinator in the NPS global climate change program until 1993, when she was named southeast associate regional director of natural resource stewardship and science, holding this position until 1998, when she joined USGS.
Kimball’s first job there was as eastern regional executive for biology. She moved up the ranks, becoming director of the USGS Eastern Region in 2004 and being named associate director for Geology in 2008.
In 2010, Kimball was named deputy director of the USGS. In that post, she led USGS's international activities and represented all North American geological surveys on international mapping endeavors.
In summer 2012, Kimball was also named Interior's top official for scientific integrity.
She has written more than 75 publications on coastal ecosystem science and coastal zone policy.
Kimball is married to Curt Mason, a retired coastal oceanographer. Ironically, they live nowhere near the ocean. Instead, their home is one of the oldest houses in West Virginia, having been built about 1740. Kimball has three children and six grandchildren.
To Learn More:
Secretary Jewell Lauds President’s Intent to Nominate Suzette Kimball to Serve as Director of the U.S. Geological Survey (U.S. Department of the Interior)
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