Dr. Annette Olson is a Project Director in the Research Competiveness Program. Her responsibilities include helping universities, research consortia, government organizations, and others strategize about research development programs, as well as managing the design and execution of proposal review competitions.
Prior to coming to AAAS in 2012, Annette served as a scientific advisor for 15 years for the Smithsonian Institution, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), and other federal agencies. She researched and reported on subjects from nanotechnology to global biodiversity, especially regarding data scalability and environmental bioinformatics, then advised on federal program-level strategic and other development plans.
Annette holds a B.S. with Honors from Baylor University, TX, and a Ph.D. in Biology from the University of Miami, FL. Her dissertation examined the behavioral ecology of a species of mongoose in West Africa. Subsequent research brought her to Washington, DC to study the same species at the National Zoological Park. Deciding to set roots in DC, she has sought to manage diverse projects that increase research and educational capabilities. To help support that goal, she further earned an Associate in Project Management from the George Washington University School of Business.
Some of her career highlights include: 1) advising on the content and design for the National Museum of Natural History’s permanent Behring Family Hall of Mammals, for which she built and managed a network of almost 300 experts; 2) leading the construction at USGS of a global scientific database for biological media (e.g., species and habitat-related images and video) – utilized in over 150 countries; and 3) chairing for five years a USGS-partner forum that evaluated and set guidelines for species information projects.
Annette has communicated scientific information via workshops, national and international presentations, peer-reviewed articles, press releases, websites, and social media.