Union of Concerned Scientists Appoints Environmental Scientist Kim Waddell Acting President

Board to Launch National Search for Permanent President

Published Feb 12, 2024

The Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) appointed Kim Waddell as its acting president succeeding Johanna Chao Kreilick. UCS is a leading organization that puts rigorous, independent science into action, and advances practical solutions to build a healthy, safe and just future.

“The stakes have truly never been higher, and the role of organizations like the Union of Concerned Scientists have never been more important. With exceptional people serving in every level of our organization, UCS is well-positioned for the future. We have a new strategic framework that is guiding our efforts, a clear mission, and a strong financial foundation,” said UCS Board Chair Anne Kapuscinski.

“Our board is grateful for Johanna Chao Kreilick’s leadership over the past three years as she led a significant organization-wide change. She and the UCS senior team strengthened our commitment to science-based advocacy and elevated our focus on justice and equity. The board has begun a thoughtful selection process to identify a new permanent president for UCS. In the meantime, Dr. Waddell has our full faith and confidence. We trust that he and the senior team will ensure that UCS’s voice continues to carry the respect it has earned from more than a half century of independent, scientific advocacy.”

Dr. Waddell, a prominent environmental scientist with deep expertise in natural hazard mitigation, coastal and marine ecosystems, and other issues at the intersection of climate change and resource management, has been involved with UCS for nearly two decades, including the last eight years as a member of the UCS board. Dr. Waddell is the project lead for the next US Virgin Islands Hazard Mitigation and Resilience Plan Update with support from FEMA and the Virgin Islands Emergency Management Agency (VITEMA). He is also the director for the Virgin Islands Established Program for Stimulating Competitive Research (VI-EPSCoR)—a National Science Foundation-supported research capacity building program based at the University of the Virgin Islands that focuses on coral reef ecosystem monitoring, health, and resilience, as well as STEM education research and opportunities for underrepresented minority students from K-12 through MS degrees.

Dr. Waddell will oversee the organization while the board of directors conducts a comprehensive and rigorous search for a permanent president.

“I study and develop programs to help people work with natural systems in sustainable ways—from agriculture to fisheries. UCS shares this approach and has always stood out to me as one of the world’s most dynamic, respected, and impactful science-based advocacy organizations,” said Dr. Waddell. “I am excited to serve as acting president of UCS while the board completes its search for a permanent leader. During this interim, I will work closely with our staff, scientists, donors, and partners to advance innovative, practical solutions that secure a sustainable future.”

“Kim Waddell is an exceptionally talented scientist and a widely respected advocate. His academic and professional passion for environmental and community resiliency in the face of climate change is unwavering,” said Kreilick. “I am grateful for the time I have spent at UCS. I am proud of the progress we have made. UCS is stronger and more vibrant today than ever and I wish nothing but the best for the entire organization.”

Kreilick resigned from UCS earlier this month to pursue other professional opportunities. She joined UCS in 2021, after three decades of experience with social movements, science policy, equity, and working to combat climate change.