Andrea Donnellan has been a geophysicist at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory since 1993. She is the Deputy Division Manager of the Earth and Space Science Division at JPL. She has also held positions as the Deputy Section Manager of the Exploration Systems Autonomy Section at JPL, the supervisor of the Data Understanding Systems Group, and as a research scientist in the Satellite Geodesy and Geodynamics Group. In that group she was involved in establishing the Southern California Integrated GPS Network, a state-of-the-art continuous Global Positioning System (GPS) network used for earthquake hazard assessment and mitigation. Donnellan's current area of focus is in developing general earthquake models using computational technologies to study earthquake physics and fault systems. Donnellan also uses GPS and Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar (InSAR) satellite technology to study earthquakes, plate tectonics, and the corresponding movements of the earth's crust.
Born March 30, 1964, in Bay City, Michigan, Donnellan was raised in the greater Chicago area. She received a bachelor's degree from the Ohio State University in 1986, with a geology major and mathematics minor. She received her master's and Ph.D. in geophysics from Caltech's Seismological Laboratory in 1988 and 1991 respectively. Upon completion of her Ph.D. she held a National Research Council Postdoctoral Fellowship at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. Donnellan was a Visiting Associate at the Seismological Laboratory at Caltech from 1995 to 1996. In December 1996 Donnellan received the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers. In 2000, she received the Lew Allen Award for Excellence in Research - the highest honor possible at JPL in recognition of significant leadership and technological innovation performed during the early years of an employee's professional career.
Donnellan is currently a research professor at the University of Southern California and is also pursuing an MS in Computer Science there.
Donnellan has conducted field studies in California in the region of the Northridge earthquake, the Ventura basin, and on the San Andreas fault. She has also carried out field work on the West Antarctic Ice Streams, in the Dry Valleys, and in Marie Byrd Land, Antarctica, on the Altiplano of Bolivia, in Mongolia, and on Variegated Glacier in Alaska. She has published in Nature, Science, The Journal of Geophysical Research, Geophysical Research Letters, and The Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America.
Donnellan is an instrument rated commercial pilot, SCUBA diver, and enjoys dancing ballet and playing the piano. Donnellan has twice been a finalist in the astronaut selection process. She is a resident of Altadena, California and enjoys spending time with her son Alexander.