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My name is Maitri. I am a geoscientist, writer and maker, interested in fast and global access to data, information and literacy, science education, the recruiting and retention of women in science professions, and the growth of the public domain.

About this blog: What became VatulBlog in the late 1990s started with essays, BBS messages and emails and continues as a record of thoughts on 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.


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.

 Advisor to and board member of Project Gutenberg, the oldest publisher of free electronic books. Most free books to most people!

 Publisher of Back Of Town, a blog-community dedicated to the New Orleans-based HBO television series Treme. Prior to that, between August 2005 and March 2009, VatulBlog actively chronicled the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, The 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 were published in Gallatin & Toulouse Press’s A Howling In The Wires: An Anthology of Writing from Post-Diluvian New Orleans.

 Founding member and treasurer of the Society of Exploration Geophysicists Women’s Network and University of Wisconsin Department of Geoscience alumni board member. My essay on integrative innovation in the geosciences was published in Agile Libre’s 52 Things You Should Know About Geophysics.

 Chief Englitterment Officer of  MaitriLAB, which showcases things I enjoy making like Carnival masks, costumes, The Beaded Cheesehead™ and jewelry.

 Contributor to B2L2.com, 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, and a Masters in structural geology [paper] and an interdisciplinary Masters in computational sciences and geophysics from the University of Wisconsin.

I was born in Kuwait to Indian parents. As a result, 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 D. Erwin and I are fans (and Owners) of the Green Bay Packers football team. Together, we have lived in Madison, Wisconsin, the city of New Orleans and now Houston, Texas.


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.