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NASA Headquarters
Program Role
Program Manager, Capacity Building


Dr. Nancy D. Searby is the program manager for NASA’s Earth Science Applied Sciences Capacity Building Program at NASA Headquarters in Washington DC. She champions applying Earth Science data to decisions that improve society.

Through training, product co-development and relationship brokering, Nancy’s program builds individual and institutional capacity; in the United States, in and through regional networks in Africa, Asia, and the Americas, and globally to improve disaster resilience, biodiversity and ecosystem sustainability, water resources management, public health surveillance and food security and sustainable agriculture. She also leads efforts to develop alliances with non-traditional partners, including North American indigenous people. Nancy has received the NASA Cooperative External Achievement Award for her efforts.

Her program is focused on strengthening skills to use Earth observations and geospatial data in environmental decision and policymaking. Nancy manages a portfolio of three programs (SERVIR, DEVELOP and ARSET), over 20 research projects and pilot initiatives focused on engaging indigenous peoples and mapping NASA activities.

Nancy serves as the chair of the CEOS Working Group for Capacity Building and Data Democracy (WGCapD) and the project scientist for NASA’s Socioeconomic Data and Applications Center (SEDAC). She also supports the USGEO International Activities Working Group, the U.S.’s participation in the regional AmeriGEO initiative and the GEO Capacity Building Coordination Working Group. In 2016, she participated in the International Women’s Forum Leadership Foundation Fellowship.

Nancy began her NASA career at NASA Ames Research Center managing space flight hardware development for the Space Shuttle and the International Space Station. She has conducted space biology research projects and led agency-level studies and analyses.

She has a Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from Stanford University and a bachelor’s and master’s in aerospace engineering sciences from the University of Colorado-Boulder.