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May 29, 2020

Dr. Suzanne Nicholson received the U.S. Department of Interior's second highest honorary award—the Meritorious Service Award— In recognition of her scientific leadership and noteworthy contributions to the Mineral Resources Program of the U.S. Geological Survey.

The Meritorious Service Award is granted to employees of the Department of the Interior for important contributions to science or management, a notable career, superior service in administration or in the execution of duties, or initiative in devising new and improved work methods and procedures.

Dr. Nicholson is recognized nationally for her expertise in the geology and metallogeny of the Superior Province and for her investigations on the mineral-rich Midcontinent Rift. Her research has contributed to a holistic understanding of the tectonic evolution of the Proterozoic Midcontinent Rift system, from initial rifting and sedimentation throughout the complex igneous and metallogenic evolution that extends from Minnesota and Michigan southward through the Midcontinent region of the United States. Dr. Nicholson has served as the Deputy Science Center Director for the joint Eastern Mineral and Environmental Resources Science Center and Eastern Energy Resources Science Center, where she assisted in assuring sound fiscal and personnel management. Currently, Dr. Nicholson is serving as the Associate Program Coordinator for the USGS Mineral Resources Program. Her experience as a Research Geologist and her breadth of knowledge in understanding policy and management controls have allowed her to make significant contributions to the overall direction of the Program. Through her outstanding people skills and budget savvy, she has sustained the success of the Mineral Resources Program. Dr. Nicholson leads the development of the overall budget and allocations of the $59 Million Mineral Resources Program, which supports over 300 USGS employees. Her experience at the Science Center level has transferred to the Program level, where she has become a trusted and understanding partner for the Center Directors and managers working with the Mineral Resources Program. Her most recent accomplishments include helping to stand up the new Earth Mapping Resources Initiative (Earth MRI), a multi-program effort aimed at understanding the Nation’s critical mineral endowment through the support of geologic mapping, geophysical surveys, and high-quality lidar acquisitions in regions across the Nation that have the potential for hosting critical mineral resources. Her thoughtful leadership approach has resulted in Earth MRI being recognized as a model effort involving numerous USGS employees working in true partnership with the State Geological Surveys.

For her outstanding contributions to the USGS, Suzanne W. Nicholson is granted the Meritorious Service Award of the Department of the Interior.

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