CORVALLIS, Ore. - Dawn Wright, a professor of geosciences at Oregon State University, has been chosen as one of 20 Leopold Leadership Fellows for 2011, a program for environmental scientists to enhance their skills in communicating science to developers of policy, decision makers and the public.

The program, now based at Stanford University and originally created in 1998 by OSU marine ecologist Jane Lubchenco, is funded by the David and Lucile Packard Foundation. Participants receive leadership and communications training to help them more effectively inform policy makers, journalists, business leaders and the general public about complex ecological, environmental and scientific issues.

"Academic scientists work hard to understand environmental problems and develop potential solutions," said Pamela Matson, dean of the School of Earth Sciences at Stanford University. "The Leopold Leadership Program trains academics to close the gap between knowledge and action."

Wright, who has been on the OSU faculty since 1995, is an expert in geographic information science and marine and coastal geography. She has done extensive research on coral reefs, mid-ocean ridges and undersea volcanoes using such advanced technology as deep-sea submersibles, towed cameras and sidescan sonar.

A prominent scientist and educator, Wright has also been named Professor of the Year in the state of Oregon, is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and has devoted extensive efforts to encouraging more women and minorities to pursue careers in ocean science.

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Pam Sturner, 650-723-0708