DR. DAWN J. WRIGHT is a leader in the development of ocean data science, with research interests in geospatial data science, seafloor mapping, coastal/ocean informatics, and environmental education. Chief Scientist of Esri, “Deep Sea Dawn” has carried out fieldwork in some of the planet’s most geologically active regions, including the East Pacific Rise, the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, the Juan de Fuca Ridge, the Tonga Trench, and volcanoes under the Japan Sea and the Indian Ocean. In 1991, she became the first female of African descent to dive to the ocean floor in the deep submersible, Alvin. In 2022, she became the first person of African descent to dive to Challenger Deep, the deepest point on Earth, and successfully operate a portable side scan sonar at full-ocean depth.

Born: 1961

Hometown: Redlands, CA

Education: Ph.D. in Geography and Geology

Occupation: Chief scientist of smart-mapping company Esri

Expeditions: “Deepsea Dawn” first found her sea legs aboard the scientific drillship JOIDES Resolution, sailing across the Atlantic, Indian, and Pacific Oceans, off the coast of Antarctica.

Favorite Place: Surrounded by the ocean

Best Discoveries: Seafloor structures and creatures in the Western Pool of Challenger Deep; seafloor structures around the “Tubeworm Barbecue” site, 9°N of East Pacific Rise

Favorite Item In The Field: My plush Snoopy

Personal Heroes: My mother, Marie Tharp, Don Walsh, Sylvia Earle, Barack Obama, and many more

Hobbies: Road cycling, mountain biking, building with LEGO bricks, 18th-century pirate lore

Website: https://dusk.geo.orst.edu

Advice: Practice KINDNESS.