Meeting the Challenges of Challenger Deep
From Lindsey Gray
Dawn Wright, PhD, geographer, oceanographer, and Esri chief scientist, will present "Meeting the Challenges of Challenger Deep." She'll share details about her record-breaking dive in a submersible to the deepest part of the world, nearly seven miles below the ocean's surface, and the implications for climate change and conservation.
About Dawn Wright
After 17 years as a professor of geography and oceanography at Oregon State University, Dr. Dawn Wright was appointed chief scientist of Esri in 2011. Wright reports directly to Jack Dangermond on strengthening the scientific foundation for Esri software and services while also representing Esri to the international scientific community. She maintains an affiliated faculty appointment within the College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences at Oregon State.
Wright has authored or coauthored over 180 articles and 13 books on geographic information science and deep-ocean mapping and conservation. She has participated in over 20 oceanographic research expeditions throughout the Pacific, Atlantic, Indian, and Southern Oceans. In 1991 she became the first Black female to dive to the ocean floor in the submersible Alvin. On July 12, 2022, she became the first Black person of any gender to dive to Challenger Deep, the deepest point on earth, and to successfully operate a side-scan sonar at that full ocean depth. She accomplished this in the submersible Limiting Factor in collaboration with Victor Vescovo and his Caladan Oceanic team.
In April 2021 Wright was elected to both the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts & Sciences. She has served on science advisory boards for many organizations including the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Conservation International, COMPASS Science Communication, and the Shell Ocean Discovery XPRIZE. Wright holds an individual interdisciplinary PhD in physical geography and marine geology from University of California, Santa Barbara; an MS in Oceanography from Texas A&M; and a BS, cum laude, in geology from Wheaton College in Illinois.