Dr. Joanna Athanasopoulos Owen was born in California and was raised in Athens, Greece, where she earned her Bachelor’s of Science in Physics from the University of Greece (1987). As a NATO Fellow and a University of California President’s Fellow, she continued her studies in her native California where she earned her Master’s of Science in Geophysics (1989), her PhD in Geological Sciences (1993), and her Master’s in Environmental Science and Management (1999).
Dr. Athanasopoulos Owen has been awarded the Outstanding Teaching Award (UCSB, 1992). Further, she has organized a three-day conference on “Off shore Oil Platform Decommissioning” by inviting all the stakeholders involved to participate (UCSB, 1998). Dr. Athanasopoulos Owen has been funded by NSF and LLNL with various grants to complete and publish her research and she has been invited to attend and present her findings in many international scientific conferences. Recently, Dr. Athanasopoulos Owen participated in the 18th Conference of the National Council for Science and Environment (NCSE — Washington DC, January 2018), which brought together scientists and policy makers to discuss the integration of Science, Business, and Education of Sustainable Infrastructure. In March 2017, Dr. Athanasopoulos Owen was invited to participate in the “Our Task’s Earth 2100” Conference (Washington, DC), which focused on regenerative agriculture and ecosystem restoration solutions to address the future of soil and food.
Combining geophysics and mineralogy, Dr. Athanasopoulos Owen has also studied and, and has given several invited lectures on, Gemology and Gemstone Grading as well as Jewelry Appraising and Designing, earning the Fellow of the Gemological Association Diploma (FGA, 1989) and her Gemological Institute of America Certificates (GIA, 1990-1997). Recently, Dr. Athanasopoulos Owen has completed graduate courses at the University of Virginia’s Curry School of Education to obtain her teaching credentials and Virginia Teaching Licensure.
Raised in Europe, Dr. Athanasopoulos Owen was educated in five languages (English, Greek, Spanish, French, Italian), a great attribute when she advises on development projects and she leads field trips domestically and abroad as a freelance consultant.
Dr. Athanasopoulos Owen has been associated with the Department of State since 2001, living in Argentina, Sri Lanka, and Venezuela. She has been the President of the Associates of the American Foreign Service Worldwide (AAFSW) since August 2016 and the AAFSW Fundraising Chair since December 2016. In January 2018, State Magazine published her article on the “SOSA 2017 Exceptional Volunteers”. Her involvement with the Department of State helps Dr. Athanasopoulos Owen explore her interests in how education, population size, and geo-cultural-politics affect environmental international policy and strategies, development projects worldwide, and practices implemented around the world regarding energy resources, the climate, and waste management.