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Maitri’s VatulBlog


I am a geoscientist, writer and maker. My interests include geophysics, science outreach, the recruitment and retention of women in science professions and making costumes, headdresses and jewelry.

About this blog: What became VatulBlog in the late 1990s started as paper essays, BBS posts and emails. It continues as a record of my thoughts and experiences in geoscience, the internet, disaster, diaspora, travel and craft. The site is named Vatul for my South Indian clan, which you can read more about here.


Geoscience: With a background in geology, geophysics, scientific computing and project management, I work in energy exploration, specifically the interpretation of seismic data and hydrocarbon reservoir characterization.

I have also led scientific software development, 3D visualization environments and knowledge-sharing and data-management projects. My ideas for integrative innovation in the geosciences have been published in 52 Things You Should Know About Geophysics and the CSEG Recorder.

I am a founding member and finance chair of the Society of Exploration Geophysicists Women’s Network and University of Wisconsin Department of Geoscience alumni board member.

Project Gutenberg: I am advisor to and board member of the oldest publisher of free electronic books. Most free books to most people!

Back Of Town: I publish this blog-community dedicated to the New Orleans-based HBO television series Treme. Previously, between August 2005 and March 2009, VatulBlog actively chronicled the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, The Federal Flood and the recovery of the city of New Orleans, and has been used as an example of disaster communication during a time of rapidly evolving media. A number of my posts from the first post-Katrina year are featured in A Howling In The Wires: An Anthology of Writing from Post-Diluvian New Orleans and Please Forward: How Blogging Reconnected New Orleans After Katrina.

MaitriLAB: A blog that showcases things I enjoy making like Carnival masks, costumes, The Beaded Cheesehead™ and jewelry.

B2L2.com: I am an occasional contributor to an online “bark-eating” monthly, where I experiment with writing in vignettes.

 A list of writing and interviews.


I have a B.S. in geology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign [thesis], and a Masters in structural geology [paper] and an interdisciplinary Masters in computational sciences and geophysics from the University of Wisconsin at Madison.

Born in Kuwait to Indian parents, I speak and read English, Tamil, Hindi, French, Spanish, Arabic and Sanskrit in that order of fluency. An impending move to the United States was hastened by the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in 1990.

My husband (referred to here as D) and I are fans and owners of the Green Bay Packers football team. Together, we have lived in Madison, New Orleans and now Houston.


You can contact me through email or Twitter and my resume is on LinkedIn and Vizualize. Any opinions expressed here and elsewhere online are mine and not those of my employer unless otherwise stated, obviously.


–Maitri Erwin