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World-renowned seismologist Dr. Lucy Jones to keynote Mount Saint Mary’s University 2016 Commencement ceremony on May 9

Contact:Phillip Jordan

LOS ANGELES, April 8, 2016 – Dr. Lucy Jones, who defied gender stereotypes to become one of the world’s most recognizable and influential seismologists, will deliver the keynote address at Mount Saint Mary’s University’s 2016 commencement ceremony, which will be held at 3 p.m. on Monday, May 9, at the Shrine Auditorium.

Jones retired last month after a 33-year career with the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). As part of a partnership between the USGS and the City of Los Angeles, she also had served as Mayor Eric Garcetti’s science advisor. Her work in that role led to the adoption, in 2015, of groundbreaking regulations mandating the retrofitting of nearly 15,000 high-risk structures in the city. 

A fourth-generation Southern Californian, Jones is now focusing her efforts on establishing a nonprofit organization that will help government agencies develop science-based policies related to climate change, tsunamis and other natural disasters. She will remain a scientist emerita with the U.S. Geological Survey, as well as a visiting research associate in the Seismological Laboratory at the California Institute of Technology. 

She most recently served as a science advisor for risk reduction in the USGS Natural Hazards Mission, leading long-term science planning for natural hazards research. Jones also led the SAFRR Project (Science Application for Risk Reduction), which sought to apply USGS science to reduce disaster risk in communities across the country. 

From 2006 to 2011, she was chief scientist and founder of the Multi Hazards Demonstration Project in Southern California that integrated hazard science with economic analysis and emergency response. The project’s efforts led to a comprehensive ShakeOut Earthquake Scenario that laid out the possible consequences of a 7.8 magnitude earthquake along the San Andreas fault; the annual Great ShakeOut disaster drill that last year involved more than 21 million Americans; and the ARkStorm scenario based on a massive storm that could produce up to 10 feet of rain and extensive flooding. In partnership with the National Weather Service, the project also created the Southern California Debris Flow Warning System.

Previously, Jones was scientist-in-charge of the Pasadena office of the USGS' Earthquake Science Center and earlier served as a geophysicist on the Earthquake Hazards Team.

Considered an expert in the field of foreshocks, Jones’ research has been the basis of all earthquake advisories issued by the State of California. A former member of the California Seismic Safety Commission, she has authored more than 100 papers on research seismology with primary interest in foreshocks and earthquake hazard assessment, especially in Southern California.

Her early research focused on the approximately 500 foreshocks that preceded a 7.3 magnitude earthquake that struck Haicheng, China, in 1975. Four years later, she was one of the first American scientists to enter China when its government opened the country to Western researchers.

A resident of Pasadena, Calif., Jones earned a PhD in geophysics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a bachelor’s degree, magna cum laude, in Chinese language and literature from Brown University.

She has received numerous awards, including the Samuel J. Heyman Service to America Medal, the Ambassador Award from the American Geophysical Union, Lifetime Achievement Award from the Western States Seismic Policy Council, Woman of the Year honors from the California Science Center and the Shoemaker Award for Lifetime Achievements in Science Communication from the USGS.

About Mount Saint Mary's University
Mount Saint Mary's is the only women's university in Los Angeles and one of the most diverse in the nation. The University is known nationally for its research on gender equity, its innovative health and science programs, and its commitment to community service. As a leading liberal arts institution, Mount Saint Mary's provides year-round, flexible and online programs at the undergraduate and graduate level. Weekend, evening and graduate programs are offered to women and men. Mount alums are engaged, active, global citizens who use their knowledge and skills to better themselves, their communities and the world.

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