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Jenny White is the new Marine Operations Superintendent for the Marine Facility (MarFac) at the USGS Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center in Santa Cruz, California.

Jenny White is the new Marine Operations Superintendent for the Marine Facility (MarFac) at the USGS Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center in Santa Cruz, California. She takes over from George Tate (see "George Tate Retires...," this issue) who has retired after a long history with the USGS, including leading MarFac since 2011.

"Jenny brings a breadth of experience, vision, enthusiasm, and excellent communication skills to the MarFac lead position," said Center Director Robert Rosenbauer.


A woman tightens a connector on a piece of machinery on a ship, she is wearing heavy clothes for cold weather.
Jenny rigs a gravity corer on the USCGC Healy, August 11, 2010.
A woman wearing a hard hat sits on a cylindrical piece of equipment on the floor, with 2 other people in the background.
Jenny (seated) repairing a seismic airgun (sound source) on the R/V Marcus G. Langseth in the Bering Sea, where the USGS collected data in August 2011 for the U.S. Extended Continental Shelf Project.
A woman wearing a lifejacket turns to look behind her with her hands on the controls of a boat.
Jenny driving R/V Parke Snavely from the rear of the vessel in order to deploy an underwater towed camera sled.

Jenny has been part of the MarFac team since she joined the USGS in June 2010. During that time, she has served as a vessel master for the USGS research vessel (R/V) Parke Snavely and as a marine technician for USGS projects on oceangoing ships. She has supported USGS scientists in operating and maintaining seafloor-mapping and subseafloor-imaging (seismic) equipment, as well as in deploying oceanographic and sampling gear. Before coming to the USGS, Jenny provided science support on various academic research cruises, where she conducted sampling operations and deployed, operated, and repaired mapping and seismic equipment. She spent 10 years working with the United States Antarctic Program as a marine technician and project coordinator aboard their two icebreakers.

Jenny began gravitating toward science support at the University of California, Santa Cruz (UCSC), where she earned a bachelor's degree in molecular biology. As a volunteer at UCSC's Long Marine Laboratory, she trained dolphins and sea lions for UCSC researchers Terrie Williams and Dan Costa. Then she seized the opportunity to provide technical support to scientific research cruises in the Antarctic. 

"What I realized at Long Marine Lab and in the Antarctic is that I really loved being involved in science, but I didn't see myself becoming a research scientist. I preferred tackling logistics, nuts and bolts, the nitty-gritty of science. My love of adventure, travel, and being outside made me want to support scientists in the field."

A small boat motors in a calm waterway with a rocky jetty behind, where a lighthouse sits in the distance.
Jenny White driving the USGS research vessel (R/V) Parke Snavely in November 2014 near the entrance to the Santa Cruz Harbor in Santa Cruz, California.

Jenny learned as she went, on the job. Thanks to her experience with a wide range of oceanographic vessels and research organizations, she has many contacts in the broader science-support community. She served on the Scientific Oversight Committee for the building of R/V Sikuliaq, a 261-foot research vessel that is operated by the University of Alaska Fairbanks in Alaskan and polar waters, and she has been a National Science Foundation proposal evaluation panelist for shipboard scientific support equipment and oceanographic instrumentation. One of Jenny's goals is to create more ties between MarFac and other groups that provide technical support to marine research. "I'm eager to see us share ideas and advice with the broader community," she said.

Jenny became chief of MarFac on July 15. "She has all of the tangibles required for great leadership," said Rosenbauer, "and we welcome her to her new position."

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