Dr. Dawn Wright is chief scientist of Esri, the world's leading geographic information system (GIS) software, research and development company. As chief scientist, Dr. Wright aids in formulating and advancing the intellectual agenda for the environmental, conservation, climate, and ocean sciences aspect of Esri's work, while also representing Esri to the national/international scientific community. She maintains an affiliated faculty appointment as Professor of Geography and Oceanography in the College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences at Oregon State University.
Dr. Wright’s research interests include geographic information science; ocean informatics and cyberinfrastructure; benthic terrain and habitat characterization; and the processing and interpretation of high-resolution bathymetry, video, and underwater photographic images. She has authored or co-authored more than 130 articles and five books on marine geographic information systems, hydrothermal activity and tectonics of mid-ocean ridges, and marine data modeling and cyberinfrastructure. Dr. Wright has participated in over 20 oceanographic research expeditions worldwide, including 10 legs of the Ocean Drilling Program, three dives in the deep submergence vehicle Alvin and twice in the Pisces V. Her fieldwork has taken her to some of the most geologically active regions of the planet, including the East Pacific Rise, the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, the Juan de Fuca Ridge, the Tonga Trench, and volcanoes under the Japan Sea and the Indian Ocean.
Dr. Wright serves on the U.S. National Academy of Sciences Ocean Studies Board, the NOAA Science Advisory Board, the Science Advisory Council of Conservation International, the Blue Ribbon Panel of the Global Partnership for Oceans, and many journal editorial boards. She is a AAAS Fellow, as well as a fellow of Stanford University's Leopold Leadership Program. 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.
Dr. Wright holds an Individual Interdisciplinary Ph.D. in Physical Geography and Marine Geology from the University of California, Santa Barbara, an M.S. in Oceanography from Texas A&M, and a B.S. cum laude in Geology from Wheaton College (Illinois).