Eva Pell to Step Down As Smithsonian’s Under Secretary for Science

January 8, 2014
News Release

Eva Pell, Under Secretary for Science at the Smithsonian Institution, announced that she will retire from the position in March. Pell joined the Smithsonian in January 2010.

As Under Secretary for Science, Pell oversees the operations of the Smithsonian’s science museums, research centers and the National Zoo. In her efforts to foster and increase scientific research at the Smithsonian, Pell led the creation of the four “Grand Challenges Consortia” that develop interdisciplinary collaborations across the Smithsonian. She was also key in creating the Smithsonian’s Tennenbaum Marine Observatories Network―the first worldwide network of coastal field sites to standardize measurements of biological change.

“It was my good fortune to hire Eva as Under Secretary for Science,” said Smithsonian Secretary Wayne Clough. “She brought world-class credentials as a scientist and extensive experience in administering a major research program at Penn State. Importantly for me and our strategic plan, she was already a national leader in building cross-disciplinary research programs and became the driving force for us in our new efforts in our science consortia initiatives, a number of which are already thriving and creating a new intellectual vibrancy for the Smithsonian. We are in her debt and will miss her for her talent, humor and integrity.”    

Before coming to the Smithsonian, Pell worked for more than 35 years at Pennsylvania State University―first as a professor in the department of plant pathology, and later as senior vice president for research and dean of the university’s graduate school.

Clough has named John Kress as interim Under Secretary for Science. Kress is director of the Smithsonian’s Consortium for Understanding and Sustaining a Biodiverse Planet and the curator of botany at the National Museum of Natural History. He is an expert on tropical biology, with interests in the evolution and ecology of tropical plants and animals.

The Smithsonian will form a committee in the near future to search for a permanent Under Secretary for Science.

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