Skip to Main Content

Spotlight Archive Items

Quake expert Lucy Jones to speak at Commencement

She’s been called the Beyoncé of earthquakes, the Meryl Streep of government service and a woman breaking barriers in a man’s world, according to a recent Los Angeles Times story. But to millions of Southern Californians, she’s most often the first person they see on television following an earthquake. She is Dr. Lucy Jones.

One of the world’s most recognizable and influential seismologists, Jones will be the keynote speaker at Mount Saint Mary’s University’s 2016 commencement ceremony, which will be held Monday, May 9, at the Shrine Auditorium near the Mount’s Doheny Campus.

Jones retired last month after a 33-year career with the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), where 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. She 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.

As part of a partnership between the USGS and the City of Los Angeles, she served as L.A. 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. 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 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.

From 2006 to 2011, Jones was chief scientist and founder of the Multi Hazards Demonstration Project in Southern California. The project’s work generated a comprehensive ShakeOut Earthquake Scenario that laid out the possible consequences of a 7.8 magnitude earthquake along California’s San Andreas fault and led to the annual Great ShakeOut disaster drill that last year involved more than 21 million Americans. 

Read the full news release.

Home  |  Resources & Culture  |  Spotlight Archive Items