First awarded in 1962, only 42 citations have been presented to Explorers Club members in 50 years. Dr. Shaw commented, “I am thrilled and honored to receive this year’s Citation of Merit. The Explorers Club has a worldwide membership and this attention helps to promote MERI’s work on behalf of conserving the world’s oceans to an influential audience.”
A marine toxicologist, explorer, author, and passionate ocean advocate, Shaw’s work came to international attention in 2010 when she became the first scientist to make an exploratory dive into the Gulf of Mexico oil slick following the BP Deepwater Horizon rig blow out. As a member of the U.S. Department of Interior’s Strategic Sciences Working Group, she has investigated consequences and advised policy on the largest environmental disaster in U.S. history.
Shaw was elected a Fellow of the Explorers Club five years ago. Their membership can claim an illustrious series of famous firsts: first to the North Pole, first to the South Pole, first to the summit of Mount Everest, first to the deepest point in the ocean, and first to the surface of the moon. Women were first admitted to the Club in 1981 and presently comprise about 20% of the membership.
Dr. Shaw is the founder and chair of the Explorers Club State of The Oceans Forums focusing world attention on the threats to the health of the oceans and calling for protective actions. She believes that this is the new frontier for exploration.
Says Dr. Shaw: “Saving our oceans is not a political issue; it’s a survival issue for all of us.”
About Dr. Susan Shaw
A marine toxicologist, explorer, author, and passionate ocean advocate, Susan Shaw is widely known for her pioneering research on the toxic legacy of man-made chemicals in the ocean environment. She is credited as the first scientist to show that flame retardant chemicals used in consumer products have contaminated marine mammals and commercially important fish stocks in the northwest Atlantic.
An outspoken and influential voice on ocean pollution, Shaw dove in the Gulf of Mexico oil slick in May 2010 and has informed the national debate on the hazards of chemical dispersants. She currently leads an investigation on the effects of oil and chemical dispersants in the Gulf ecosystem and serves on the U.S. Department of Interior’s Strategic Sciences Working Group, a team of scientists charged with assessing consequences of the oil spill and recommending policy actions. She appears in several documentary films on the Gulf disaster including Animal Planet’s Black Tide: Voices of the Gulf and Green Planet’s The Big Fix, the Official Selection documentary at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival.
Shaw chairs The Explorers Club State of the Oceans Forums highlighting solutions to the crisis facing the world’s oceans.
A Fulbright Scholar with dual degrees from Columbia University in film and public health/environmental health sciences, Shaw published Overexposure, the first book on the health hazards of photographic chemicals, in 1983 with Ansel Adams. She is the director and founder of the Marine Environmental Research Institute in Maine, and Professor at The School of Public Health, Department of Environmental Health Sciences, State University of New York, Albany.
The recipient of numerous awards, Dr. Shaw is a Woodrow Wilson Visiting Fellow and was named Gulf of Maine “Visionary”
In March 2012, Dr. Shaw will receive the Citation of Merit Award for “extraordinary feats of exploration and research” at the Explorers Club Annual Dinner ceremony at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, New York City.
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