Dr. Colton is currently the Director of NOAA’s Office of Atmospheric Research’s Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory (GLERL). In this capacity she oversees and directs nearly 100 employees who conduct research in fresh water resources, ecosystems, and modeling of the Great Lakes region from their Ann Arbor, MI location. GLERL also operates several large research vessels based in Muskegon, MI, which support long-term ecosystem observations of the Great Lakes and serve as platforms for new technologies.
In her career with the federal government Dr. Colton has held a variety of positions serving multiple agencies including NOAA’s National Ocean Service and National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service; the Navy at the Office of Naval Research and the Naval Research Laboratory; and NASA at NASA headquarters, the Kennedy Space Center and the Goddard Space Flight Center.
A native of Illinois, Dr. Colton attended Northwestern University and received the B.A. and M.S. degrees in physical oceanography from Florida Institute of Institute of Technology, Melbourne. Dr. Colton received her Ph.D. degree in physical oceanography from the Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, CA, completing a study in which she used tower-mounted radars in Lake Ontario to examine the influence of surface wave and atmospheric effects on remotely-sensed radar measurements of wind velocity.