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Maitri Erwin is a scientist who loves rocks.

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


Geoscience: Maitri has over 20 years of experience in applied geophysics and technology for energy and resources development.

Maitri thinks about how big compute can improve the practice of earth science, helping young global geoscientists become the visionaries and architects of the future, and increasing science literacy. She is a recipient of the GRIT Award, which recognizes women leaders in energy and their allies. Maitri’s ideas on the future of geoscience innovation have been featured in publications and invited talks. She is available for select speaking engagements on topics such as cloud computing in earth science, the role of geoscience and technology in constructing sustainable futures, and how successful scientific communities require a strong foundation of diversity, inclusion, and equity.

Geoscience Outreach: Maitri is a co-founder of the Society of Exploration Geophysicists Women’s Network, which powers participation and leadership by women in applied geophysics worldwide. She also serves the SEG on its Honorary & Distinguished Lectures committee.

Maitri was a member of the Society of Exploration Geophysicists Foundation board of directors (2019-20), and First Vice President of the Geophysical Society of Houston (2017-19). Maitri is also an emeritus member of the University of Wisconsin Department of Geoscience alumni board (2005-present). She has won the Experience Energy GRIT Award (2018) and the Association for Women Geoscientists Special Commendation (2017) for her technical and community leadership.

Project Gutenberg: Maitri is a board member of the Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation. Project Gutenberg is the oldest publisher of free electronic books. Most free books to the most people!

New Orleans Blogging: Between August 2005 and March 2009, Maitri’s 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 Maitri’s 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. From 2010 to 2013, Maitri published Back Of Town, a blog-community dedicated to the New Orleans-based HBO television series Treme.

A list of writing and press and awards and service.


Maitri has 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.

Maitri and her spouse are fans and owners of the Green Bay Packers football team. Together, they have lived in Madison, New Orleans, and Houston.


You can contact Maitri through email and her resume is on LinkedIn. Any opinions expressed here and elsewhere online are Maitri’s and not those of her employer unless otherwise stated.