Andrea Donnellan is the Deputy Division Manager of the Science Division at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and is a research professor at the University of Southern California. She has been a geophysicist at JPL since 1993 and was involved in establishing the Southern California Integrated GPS Network, a state-of-the-art continuous Global Positioning System (GPS) network used for earthquake hazard assessment and mitigation. Donnellan's current area of focus is in developing the Solid Earth Research Virtual Observatory (SERVO) to use computational technologies to study earthquake physics and fault systems. Donnellan also uses GPS and Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar (InSAR) satellite technology coupled with high performance computer models to study earthquakes, plate tectonics, and the corresponding movements of the earth's crust.
Born in Michigan in 1964 Donnellan was raised in the greater Chicago area. She received a bachelor's degree from the Ohio State University in 1986, with a geology major and mathematics minor. She received her master's and Ph.D. in geophysics from Caltech's Seismological Laboratory in 1988 and 1991 respectively. Upon completion of her Ph.D. she held a National Research Council Postdoctoral Fellowship at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. Donnellan was a Visiting Associate at the Seismological Laboratory at Caltech from 1995 to 1996. In December 1996 Donnellan received the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers, and in 2000, she received the Lew Allen Award for Excellence in Research - the highest honors possible for the US and JPL respectively in recognition of significant leadership and technological innovation performed during the early years of a researcher's professional career. In 2003 Donnellan received the Women in Aerospace Award for Outstanding Achievement. Donnellan received an M.S. in Computer Science from the University of Southern California in 2003.
Donnellan has conducted field studies in California in the region of the Northridge earthquake, the Ventura basin, and on the San Andreas fault. She has also carried out fieldwork on the West Antarctic Ice Streams, in the Dry Valleys, and in Marie Byrd Land of Antarctica, on the Altiplano of Bolivia, in Mongolia, and on Variegated Glacier in Alaska. She has published over 25 articles in several leading journals and has edited or co-edited several special journal issues on earthquake simulations.
Donnellan is an instrument rated commercial land and sea pilot, SCUBA diver, and enjoys photography, ice skating, dancing ballet, and playing the piano. Donnellan has been a finalist in the astronaut selection process three times. She is a resident of Altadena, California and enjoys spending time with her son Alexander.