New Director Appointed for the USC Wrigley Institute for Environmental StudiesBy Susan Andrews
March 14, 2011
USC College Dean Howard Gillman has appointed Dr. Roberta Marinelli the new director of the USC Wrigley Institute for Environmental Studies, following an extensive national search.
Since 2005, Marinelli has served as the program director of the Antarctic Organisms and Ecosystems Program at the National Science Foundation (NSF), station representative at the Palmer and McMurdo stations in Antarctica. Prior to that, she was an associate professor at the University of Maryland’s Center for Environmental Science.
Marinelli will lead the Wrigley Institute’s research, education and outreach missions on the main USC campus in Los Angeles and its Santa Catalina Island facility, the Philip K. Wrigley Marine Science Center. The center, located 20 miles off the coast of L.A., is an ideal location for marine research, providing convenient access to a variety of near-shore and open water environments as well as state-of-the-art laboratories. She will also oversee the George and MaryLou Boone Center for Science and Environmental Leadership, which was designed as a place where scientists, policy makers, and civic leaders can arrive at solutions to pressing environmental challenges.
As director, Marinelli will play a leadership role in planning and implementing an expansion of academic and research programs in environmental studies at USC.
“Everyone at USC who cares about outstanding programs in environmental studies knows that we are very fortunate to have a person of Roberta’s caliber to lead the great Wrigley Institute for Environmental Studies,” Gillman said. “Her strong scientific credentials ensure that our work will be grounded in outstanding research, and her vast experience as a leader at the National Science Foundation will enable her to promote interdisciplinary collaborations that address the most pressing environmental questions facing our nation and our world.”
Marinelli has carried out administrative duties at the NSF where she has won numerous accolades for building collaborative programs across NSF units. This includes three awards for collaborative integration related to the management of long-term ecological research projects and the development of cross-directorate Climate Research Investment (CRI) Research thrusts.
Marinelli’s strong leadership experience is complemented by peer-reviewed publications in top-tier ecological and oceanographic journals and work and extensive research in field labs and at sea in many different locales.
“I am so thrilled to have an opportunity to lead such a distinguished and important institute, and to join such an outstanding academic community,” Marinelli said. “The faculty, students, staff, and supporters who are associated with the Wrigley Institute are fantastic. We are all committed to building on our existing strengths in Marine Science to address a broader range of environmental challenges.”
Marinelli earned a bachelor’s degree in environmental studies from Brown University and a master’s of science and a Ph.D. in marine science from the University of South Carolina, where she also served as an adjunct professor since 1996.
Marinelli will begin her directorship in July 2011. She takes over for interim director, David Caron, professor of biological sciences in USC College.
To learn more about the USC Wrigley Institute for Environmental Studies, visit the institute's Web site at college.usc.edu/wrigley.