Catherine A. Offinger

Catherine A. Offinger, Director of Operations for the Institute for Exploration, has a BA in English from Skidmore College. She began her scientific journey in 1973 as a lab assistant in the sediment lab in the Geology and Geophysics Dept. at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. In 1975, she became the first person hired by the freshly minted Ph.D., Robert D. Ballard. In January of 1976, she accompanied Dr. Ballard to the Cayman Trench as a computer navigator. It was during that trip that she assisted the National Geographic to develop color film taken of the seafloor- the first time color processing had been done at sea. Since that first experience, Cathy has participated in over 60 research expeditions, including the discovery of the deep sea vents in the Galapagos Rift, hydrothermal vents along the East Pacific Rise, the discovery of the TITANIC, BISMARCK, YORKTOWN, the discovery of the oldest preserved wreck in the deep waters of the Black Sea and most recently, the discovery of the remains of PT-109 in the Solomon Islands.

Cathy has been involved with the JASON Project since its founding in 1989 as at-sea logistics coordinator. When the project involves being at sea, Cathy is there; however, since many of the projects are land-based, Cathy is called in now on an emergency basis (one year she had 36 hours to re-arrange her life and be on site for the live broadcasts).

As Director of Operations for IFE, it is Cathy's responsibility to handle all the details of setting up an expedition. This can be anything from conducting a site survey to setting up the infra-structure that will be required to mobilize in foreign ports, determining what ship will be used for an expedition, negotiating the contract, working out all details for personnel, clearances in foreign countries, shipping, travel, insurance and so forth.

Once an expedition is complete, the results need to be published. Cathy, drawing on that English degree, edits IFE's manuscripts and coordinates publication with the journals. In addition, Cathy conducts the first edit of all of Dr. Ballard's books and manuscripts.

JASON Learning: A Partnership of Sea Research Foundation and National Geographic