John Taber, IRIS Director of Education and Public Outreach, has announced that he will be retiring in early November. During his 21-year tenure as EPO Director, John has been a leader in developing innovative ways to introduce seismology and complex Earth science concepts to educators and learners of all ages throughout the US and across the world.
One of the first programs John guided from pilot stage to an enduring and competitive program, was the IRIS Summer Internship Program for Undergraduates. Each summer 10 to 15 students are selected to work on seismology-related research projects with mentors from IRIS Member Institutions and then present their results at a professional meeting. This program makes positive contributions to the diversity of the field as most alumni of the program continue on to graduate school to pursue careers as seismologists and geophysicists. John and his team also developed the Seismic Monitor, an early real-time display of earthquake locations occurring around the world. Initially created for major museums, the Seismic Monitor is still available to all on the IRIS website and receives more than 4 million unique page views per year. John was also instrumental in partnering with the Seismological Society of America to establish the IRIS/SSA Distinguished Lectureship Series that matched speakers with museums to deliver non-technical talks on current seismology and earthquake science research topics to general public audiences around the US.
There are many other programs and projects that were established or expanded under John’s direction. These include the Seismographs in Schools program, Teachable Moments PowerPoint slide sets, educational software providing easy access to earthquake locations and seismic data, educational posters, professional development for educators, a large collection of animations that illuminate geoscience concepts, and a rigorous evaluation strategy to measure impact. The programs John has led are often referenced as examples of best practices in the field of education and outreach and he has frequently participated in panels, workshops, and reviews to provide his expertise on these topics. John's dedication, enthusiasm, and vision have inspired others and will influence the practice of Earth science education and outreach for years to come.
We thank John for his decades of service and leadership and wish him the very best when he starts his retirement this fall!