Maitri Erwin thinks about rocks, books, how computing can improve the practice of geoscience, and the future of earth.
Maitri Erwin is a geoscientist, writer, maker, and digital transformation specialist for the energy industry at Microsoft.
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 is an award-winning industry pioneer in applied geo-computing, the empowerment and advancement of women and minorities in geoscience and STEM, and the mentoring of future leaders. An accomplished earth scientist and technology programs leader, Maitri has 20+ years of experience in energy exploration, subsurface/upstream technology development, teams’ leadership, and technical writing.
Maitri is always thinking 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. Maitri’s ideas on the future of geoscience innovation have been shared in 52 Things You Should Know About Geophysics, the CSEG Recorder, and invited talks. Maitri is available for select speaking engagements on cloud computing for energy, the role of geoscience in constructing sustainable futures, and diversity, inclusion & equity in scientific communities.
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, and currently serves as professional advisor to the SEG WN’s Global Student Communities. 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.
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.
Born in Kuwait to Indian parents, she speaks and reads 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.
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.