President Barack Obama has nominated Suzette Kimball, a former researcher at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science, to be the director of the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS).
Kimball has served as acting director of the USGS, the chief science agency of the U.S. Department of the Interior, since February 2013.
As director, Kimball will lead the agency’s more than 8,000 scientists, technicians, and support staff located across the country. In addition, Kimball will act as science advisor to Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell, in which role she will oversee the Department of the Interior’s Strategic Science Group and chair a team of nine science advisors.
“With her scientific expertise and decades of public service, Suzette is an excellent choice to lead this agency,” Jewell said in a press release. “During her time at USGS, Suzette has proven herself to be a smart, thoughtful and collaborative leader, and a strong advocate for using science to inform our understanding of our world and provide tools to solve natural resource challenges.”
Kimball joined the USGS in 1998 as the eastern regional executive for biology. Before her involvement with the agency, Kimball served the National Park Service as southeast associate regional director and regional chief scientist from 1993-1998.
Kimball earned a bachelor of arts from William & Mary in 1973 and later returned as the co-founder and co-director of the Center for Resource Management and Policy and associate marine scientist at VIMS. While at VIMS, Kimball worked closely with Shoreline Studies head Scott Hardaway and recently retired professor Carl Hobbs on issues related to shoreline erosion, sand mining, and beach replenishment.
“Suzette was actively involved in studying the sand resources off Virginia Beach as they might be used for nourishment in Sandbridge and Dam Neck,” says Hobbs. “She participated in and ran several cruises on the R/V Bay Eagle to obtain sub-bottom profiles, side-scan sonar images, and sediment samples from offshore. She was a good colleague and a contributing member to the larger VIMS community.”
Kimball received her doctorate in environmental sciences/coastal and oceanographic processes from the University of Virginia in 1983, where she also taught as an assistant professor of environmental sciences. Kimball holds a master's degree in geology/geophysics from Ball State University as well.
Kimball has authored more than 75 technical publications on coastal-ecosystem science and coastal-zone policy. She has also been appointed to numerous professional offices, including serving on the National Academy of Science Roundtable on Science & Technology for Sustainability.