The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) recently awarded Institute alumna Kathryn Ries (MPA ’86) the highest honor given to NOAA professionals. Ries was awarded the NOAA’s Bronze Medal for her leadership in building hydrographic capacity in Central America to support navigation safety, economic growth and protection of the marine environment.
“Serendipity brought me to NOAA,” says Ries. She began her career in NOAA in the newly formed International Affairs Department as a Presidential Management Fellow. She had “never in a million years” believed she would end up knowing everything about mapping coasts and maritime commerce, but a quarter of a century later she cannot imagine a more rewarding career filled with broad international dimension and “lots of exciting travel.”
After working in a staff position for several years, Kathryn was promoted to deputy director of the Office of Coast Survey, a department established in 1807 by Thomas Jefferson. Her department is responsible for maintaining the nation´s nautical charts. The Office of Coast Survey also collaborates with friendly maritime nations by offering technical assistance, funding and training.