Rita Colwell

Dr. Colwell, distinguished Professor from the University of Maryland and Johns Hopkins University’s Bloomberg School of Public Health, is an environmental microbiologist and scientific administrator. Dr. Colwell served as the 11th Director of the National Science Foundation (‘98-’04). As NSF Director, she served as co-chair of the National Science and Technology Council's Committee on Science. She was the 2010 Stockholm Water Prize Laureate. 


Dr. Colwell’s pioneering research on the prevention of waterborne infectious diseases has helped protect the health and lives of millions. She has authored 17 books and more than 700 scientific publications. 

Dr. Colwell holds a BS in Bacteriology, a MS in Genetics, from Purdue University, and a Ph.D. in Oceanography from the University of Washington. She has also received 35 honorary degrees from institutions of higher education. 

"We are establishing a stronger evidence base for our work and continue to involve other organizations to help us measure our effectiveness on people’s lives."
Rita Colwell