Introducing this Blogger

jill's picture

I’d like to introduce myself to Open Hazards visitors and members. If you’ve read any of the previous OH•Zone entries, you may have noticed that I’m writing to non-technical audiences – people like myself, who are not trained scientists or engineers, but who have a real interest in learning more about our world and how it works.

My work life is about creative communication -- my specialty is "translating" science and engineering concepts on behalf of university researchers for lay audiences. The work offers wonderful opportunities to collaborate with all kinds of people, including museum curators and exhibit developers, artists, designers, entrepreneurs, teachers, government workers and public officials, filmmakers, and media reporters and writers.

During my career, I have spent much of my time with people who study earthquake hazards (for example, geologists and geophysicists) and also with people who study the effects of earthquake hazards on our manmade structures and the environment (such as civil and structural engineers and environmental engineers). In 1992, I established the new Office of Earthquake Programs at the California Institute of Technology, and in 1995 became Director of Communication, Education and Outreach at the Southern California Earthquake Center (SCEC), headquartered at the University of Southern California.  During my time at SCEC and again later at Caltech, I  simultaneously served as the manager of the education and outreach element of a five-year, $7 million earthquake engineering research and implementation program for the Consortium of Universities for Research in Earthquake Engineering (CUREE). Between 2001 and 2006, I served as director of Educational Outreach Caltech, where I also co-founded AxS and helped launch a series of exhibits to explore the intersection of art and science.

I helped design and create education and outreach components (i.e., websites, feature length films, museum exhibits, art and science collaborations, and K-12 lesson plans and programs) and served as consultant to the NSF-funded, multi-year projects LIGO and the LIGO Science Center, NEES Consortium and EarthScope education and outreach strategic plans. Rounding out my experience, I was briefly assigned to the Jet Propulsion Laboratory where I became familiar with large NASA, NOAA, and other space research programs, and also served as a member of the INSIGHT planning group, which proposed to conduct Earth science related research via satellite.

My interest in earthquake hazards continues as I blog for Open Hazards. Feel free to comment or ask questions when you read this blog. Our goal is to inform and educate – and in my case, also “translate.” You'll see a mix of topics addressed here, but the articles will always be related to current news, general earthquake hazard information, or forecasts based on Open Hazards tools. You’ll see articles on resources related to earthquakes, such as museums, books, films, TV programs, or Internet sites. You’ll read articles about earthquake myths. I’ll interview people from time to time, both earthquake studies experts or professionals and non-technical members of this site (I’m looking for stories or experiences related to earthquake hazards, and what you learned). We’ll also keep you up to date on research programs around the world, and of course, we’ll provide ongoing information on survival and emergency preparedness.


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