Esri chief scientist Dawn J. Wright has received the Distinguished Teaching Honors of the Association of American Geographers (AAG), the highest award offered by the association. Redlands, Calif.-based Esri provides more than 7,000 universities worldwide with GIS software for teaching and research.

This is the second time in the past year that AAG has recognized Wright's contributions to science and education. She also received the organization's Presidential Achievement Award for making long-standing and distinguished contributions to the discipline of geography.

"AAG has been a force in advancing geographic science,” said Wright. "I am inspired by my fellow professors who are using geographic technologies in the classroom to help students understand the world's diverse cultures, environments, and challenges. These educators are laying the foundation for the next generation to design plans for a more balanced, harmonious planet."

While serving as Esri's chief scientist, Wright retains her position as professor of geosciences at Oregon State University. She views herself as a scientist working within and between the areas of geographic information science, marine science, and ocean informatics. She is a leader in her outreach to a larger community, including her interactions with schoolchildren and her interest in encouraging more young women to pursue careers in science.

In December, the AAG Honors Committee announced nine nominees to receive 2013 honors for outstanding contributions to the advancement or welfare of the geography discipline. The committee specifically recognized Wright's classroom teaching and mentoring of students in geographic information science, marine science, and ocean informatics and her recruitment of young students into geographic sciences.