Susan K. Avery is the first woman to become Director and President of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. She has extensive experience as a leader within scientific institutions. At the University of Colorado at Boulder, she served in interim positions as Vice Chancellor for research and Dean of the graduate school, as well as Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor for academic affairs. From 1994-2004, she served as Director of the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES), the first woman and first engineer to hold that position.
Avery is a fellow of both the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers and of the American Meteorological Society, for which she also served as President. She is a member of the advisory board for the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and a past Chair of the Board of Trustees of the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research.
She has also served on numerous advisory panels, committees, and councils for the National Science Foundation, the National Research Council, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and the National Center for Atmospheric Research. Avery earned a bachelor's degree in physics from Michigan State University in 1972, a master's in physics from the University of Illinois in 1974, and a doctorate in atmospheric science from the University of Illinois in 1978.