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Program Role
Program Manager, Disasters


Dr. Shanna N. McClain is the Disasters Program Manager for NASA’s Earth Science Applied Sciences Program. She and her team promote the use of Earth observations to support decisions made across the disaster cycle and at the intersection of human-environment-climate dimensions. McClain endeavors to define new and innovative opportunities for applying Earth science information through the development of partnerships and projects in fragile and crisis-affected communities in order to build a more risk-informed global society. McClain is the Global Partnerships Coordinator for NASA’s Earth Science Division, where she manages private sector engagement with partners such as Mercy Corps, Google, Conservation International, and Microsoft. She also serves as the Manager of Socioeconomic Assessments for Applied Sciences, where she manages the assessment of the value of Earth science information for the benefit of society and the economy.

She currently serves as the Co-chair with the Australian Red Cross to the International Federation of Red Cross Red Crescent Society’s Anticipation Hub Working Group on “Earth Observation for Humanitarian Action.” She also  serves on the Committee on Earth Observations (CEOS) and the Group on Earth Observations (GEO) Disasters Working Groups. McClain joined NASA after working with the Environmental Law Institute since 2009 to support policy development and programming on environmental and climate-related migration and displacement and programming on environmental conflict and peace. She previously held consultancies with the Joint UNEP/OCHA Environment Unit focused on the integration of environmental considerations in sudden-onset and protracted humanitarian crises, including developing guidelines for how to prepare for and respond to technological, industrial, and nuclear disasters.

McClain holds a Ph.D. in Environmental Resources and Policy from Southern Illinois University. Her doctoral research examined the challenges of integrating three policy priorities – climate change adaptation, response to disasters, and resilience – into multilevel governance frameworks of international river basins. She was awarded a National Science Foundation IGERT Fellowship (2013-2016), which provided her the opportunity to work with the International Commission for the Protection of the Danube River (ICPDR) in Vienna, Austria. She was also awarded the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Science and Technology Policy Fellowship (2017-2019), which offered the opportunity to contribute evidence-based scientific knowledge and skills to the development of federal government policies and actions.