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Estelle Dodson

Associate Director of the Science Directorate, Ames Research Center

Professional Background

Estelle Dodson is the Associate Director for Science. Prior to that, she was the Ames Science Directorate’s Associate Director for Management Operations. Her career at NASA began in the early days of the internet, as a science writer and web developer, writing experiment and hardware descriptions for NASA’s Life in Space. It was in this interdisciplinary research environment that ignited her passion for using technology as a tool to bring diverse, collaborative science teams together in virtual environments. In her current role in Associate Director for Management Operations, Estelle oversees the operations of the Science Directorate at Ames, encompassing three divisions with researchers and staff.

Previously in 1999, Dodson was the technical producer for the Sustainable Seas Expedition (SSE), which broadcast webcasts from ocean submersibles and research vessels in partnership with NASA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and National Geographic, led by Dr. Sylvia Earle, National Geographic’s Explorer in Residence. Following SSE, she joined a team to establish NASA’s first virtual institute: the NASA Astrobiology Institute (NAI). While at NAI, Estelle supported – and later led – the development of its collaborative infrastructure, and connected widely distributed and interdisciplinary research teams across the country. The NAI model was used to launch three additional institutes supported by the Ames collaboration team led by Dodson. In 2011, the team created and developed “Workshops Without Walls” (WwW), an interactive, multi-day virtual science conference – with no travel required. Since the creation of WwW, hundreds of virtual conferences and training programs have been conducted, such as the successful NASA’s Virtual Executive Summit, in 2012. 

Dodson also worked as Chief Technology Officer on the Lockheed Martin NASA Ames contract, bringing innovative technologies and management approaches to Lockheed projects. She has a Bachelor of Science degree in Integrative Biology from UC Berkeley and enjoys hiking, mountain biking and backpacking with her family and friends.