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 Ph.D. 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) and, by inviting all the stakeholders involved to participate, she has organized a three-day conference on «Off shore Oil Platform Decommissioning» (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.
Combining geophysics and mineralogy, Dr. Athanasopoulos Owen has also studied 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 been completing 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, Venezuela, and more, and she has been an active AAFSW member since 2014. Her involvement with the Department of State and AAFSW helps Dr. Athanasopoulos Owen to explore her interests in how 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 manangement.
As AAFSW President, Dr. Athanasopoulos Owen will work to expand its members’ awareness regarding everybody’s duties, rights, and responsibilities within the diplomatic life and beyond. Dr. Athanasopoulos Owen wants everyone in the Foreign Service Community to feel included and its members to consider AAFSW their anchor wherever in the world they are, whatever stage of their lives they may be.