Home  /  SCEC Communication, Education and Outreach (CEO) Program

SCEC Communication, Education and Outreach (CEO) Program

SCEC’s Communication, Education, and Outreach (CEO) program addresses the final element of SCEC’s mission: Communicate understanding to end-users and society at large as useful knowledge for reducing earthquake risk and improving community resilience. The theme of the CEO program in SCEC5 is Partner Globally, Prepare Locally preparing people and organizations to make informed decisions (split-second as well as long-term) that reduce loss improve safety, and advance overall prosperity and welfare, and also preparing the next generation of scientists via research opportunities and support through career transitions.

SCEC CEO is a global leader in expanding knowledge about earthquake science, risk, and preparedness among a wide range of stakeholders, through bold and creative activities such as the global Great ShakeOut Earthquake Drills which saw record-breaking participation in 2019 California (10.8 million), nationwide (21.7 million) and globally (67.9 million). CEO also fosters collective impact through partnerships (inspired by the success of the SCEC Community) that accelerate innovation and provide new capabilities for risk reduction, such as California’s Earthquake Country Alliance. These activities and networks have developed our communication channels (via email, social media, and the press) to reach public, private, non-profit, and community leaders across the nation to inspire new ways of thinking and responding to the challenges that earthquakes and their impacts pose to the nation and the world. This was put to the test in 2019 when SCEC coordinated news media outreach and social media after the Ridgecrest earthquakes, greatly expanding our followers). As many of these activities involve educators (both in the classroom and in venues such as museums and science centers), we offer resources and opportunities that expand learning and pique scientific curiosity, including about awareness of careers in the geosciences and other STEM fields.

SCEC also has more than 25 years of broadening participation of underrepresented groups in STEM through its innovative programs that enrich educational experiences, including more than 700 internship opportunities since 1994, and growing set of activities under the Transitions program that support students and early career scientists with mentoring, and networking opportunities, and provided research or conference travel funding for 12 students in 2019.

SCEC CEO is organized into two interconnected focus areas spanning six focus areas:

  • Public Education and Preparedness informs broad audiences about earthquakes and how to improve resilience via four main programs: annual Great ShakeOut Earthquake Drills involve millions of people worldwide in learning about earthquake hazards and how to reduce losses, while practicing self-protective actions; the Earthquake Country Alliance is a partnership of organizations and advocates that promote earthquake and tsunami education, mitigation, and preparedness; Science, Risk and Crisis Communication coordinates media relations, social media engagement, and interactions with practicing engineers and other decision makers; and the highly-rated Quake Heroes documentary (featuring stories from the 1994 Northridge earthquake and advancements in earthquake science and policy) will motivate preparedness actions at large community events, trainings, museums, and schools nationwide.
  • Experiential Learning and Career Advancement provides research opportunities, networking, and other resources to support students and early career researchers/scientists to enhance diversity in STEM fields, via two main programs: the Undergraduate Internships Program, which has provided rewarding research experiences to more than 700 undergraduates since 1994, and Transitions Program, which vigorously promotes workforce diversity by providing students and early-career scientists with resources and mentoring at major steps in their careers.

SCEC CEO is led by SCEC’s associate director for CEO Mark Benthien and an experienced, highly effective team at SCEC headquarters on the USC campus. The CEO Planning Committee is comprised of SCEC stakeholders including representatives of the SCEC Board, Planning Committee, and Advisory Council. Several contractors for ECA and ShakeOut activities complement the SCEC CEO team, along with a legion of USC student assistants and interns each year.  Several other SCEC scientists also are regularly involved in program development, intern mentorship, and other roles.

CEO Staff Team:
Mark Benthien
Associate Director for CEO
Gabriela Noriega
Director of ELCA
Jason Ballmann
Communications Manager

Sharon Sandow
Asst Dir of Strategic Partnerships for CEO

John Marquis
Web Manager for CEO

CEO Planning Committee:
Danielle SumyIRIS
Kate LongDr. Lucy Jones Center
Vice Chair
Timothy DawsonCGS
SCEC Board Representative

Arrietta ChakosUrban Resilience Strategies
SCEC Advisory Council Representative

Sally McGillCSUSB
Experiential Learning & Career Advancement

Ricardo TabordaEAFIT
SCEC Planning Committee Representative