Dr. Virginia Burkett, who graduated in 1997 with a doctoral degree in forestry, was serves as the associate director for climate and land use change for the U.S. Geological Survey.
Burkett previously served as the USGS chief scientist for the climate and land use change mission area and co-chaired the strategic science planning team responsible for developing the mission area’s 10-year science strategy. Burkett formerly served as chief of the Wetlands Research Center located in Lafayette, Louisiana, and as associate regional chief biologist for the USGS Central Region. In addition to serving as the deputy secretary, director and secretary of the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, Burkett also directed the Louisiana Coastal Zone Management Program and served as assistant director of the Louisiana Geological Survey.
Burkett was a lead author of the United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s third, fourth and fifth assessment reports published in 2001, 2007 and 2014, respectively, as well as the IPCC Technical Paper on Water in 2008, and all three U.S. National Assessments of Climate Change Impacts produced by the U.S. Global Change Research Program. She is a senior editor of the journal, Regional Environmental Change, and serves on the editorial board of the journal Ethics in Science and Environmental Politics. During the span of her career, she has been appointed to more than 60 commissions, committees, science panels and boards. In addition to her scientific contributions, Burkett also serves on the advisory board of the Arthur Temple College of Forestry and Agriculture.