Kathy Sullivan Nominated as NOAA Administrator

Kathy Sullivan Nominated as NOAA Administrator

Former astronaut Kathy Sullivan was nominated by President Obama yesterday to become Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere and the new administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).  She has been serving as NOAA’s acting administrator since Jane Lubchenco left in February.

Sullivan is best known in space policy circles as the first American woman to conduct a spacewalk on STS-41G in October 1984.  She flew on two other space shuttle missions in 1990 (STS-31) and 1992 (STS-45).  While an astronaut, she also served as a member of the 1985-1986 National Commission on Space that laid out a 50-year plan for the U.S. civil space program.

An oceanographer by training, she was NOAA’s Chief Scientist from 1993-1996, and returned to the agency in 2011 as its Deputy Administrator and Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Environmental Observation and Prediction.    In between, she was director of Ohio’s Center of Science and Industry and then director of the Battelle Center for Mathematics and Science Education Policy in the John Glenn School of Public Affairs at Ohio State University.  She has a bachelor’s degree in earth sciences from UC-Santa Cruz and a Ph.D. in geology from Dalhousie University in Canada.

Her nomination is subject to Senate confirmation, which will have to await Congress’s return from its August recess, which begins today.

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