March 20, 2017

The Washington State Academy of Sciences is pleased to announce new executive leadership. Donna Gerardi Riordan accepted the position as our Executive Director and officially began working with the Academy on March 1.

As the chief operating executive, Donna is responsible for the operation of the WSAS’s new office in Seattle, including financial management, donor development and fundraising, administrative staffing and strategic planning. She also serves as the principal liaison between the WSAS Board of Directors and Committees and is the spokesperson for WSAS, with responsibility to increase the role and visibility of the Academy and science in the State of Washington. She reports to and is an ex officio member of the WSAS Board of Directors.

Donna comes to the Academy with extensive experience in science policy. After earning a B.S. degree in biology at Georgetown University and a Master’s degree in science and technology policy at George Washington University, she served for 14 years as a staff member at the US National Academy of Sciences in Washington, DC, where she founded and directed its Office of Public Understanding of Science.

In 2000 she moved to Soquel, CA, and worked at the University of California, Santa Cruz, as Assistant to the Chancellor for Science and Technology Policy. From 2005 to 2008, she served as Director of Programs for the California Council on Science and Technology, where she was the co-architect of its groundbreaking Science & Technology Fellows Program, which selects scientists and engineers who serve as fellows in the state legislature.

Beginning in 2008, she established a private firm called DGR Strategies, now headquartered in Eastsound, WA, through which she has consulted with national and state level organizations, primarily on science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education. In addition, she founded and has been directing Research Northwest, a non-profit organization devoted to generating best available science for policy decisions. She is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

We’re looking forward to working with Donna to develop new ways to provide expert scientific and engineering analyses to inform public policy making and increase the role and visibility of research in Washington State. She can be contacted at

WSAS is now co-located in the office suite of WSU Downtown Seattle. The new mailing address is:

Washington State Academy of Sciences
c/o WSU Downtown Seattle
901 5th Avenue
Suite 2900
Seattle WA 98164-1336