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Ralph Ferraro

Interim Director - Earth System Science Interdisciplinary Center (ESSIC)

Ferraro is a proud University of Maryland alumnus, having graduated in 1982 with a Master of Science degree in Meteorology. Immediately after graduation, he began working for consulting contractor companies in the local area that supported federal agencies like NASA and NOAA. In 1991, Ferraro joined NOAA as a Physical Scientist where he researched the development of advanced retrieval algorithms for hydrological products with passive microwave sensors. Ferraro was one of the original group of five scientists in SCSB that was formed in 2003. In 2005, Ferraro took on the role of SCSB Branch Chief, which has been co-located with the ESSIC-administered Cooperative Institute for Satellite Earth System Studies (CISESS) (then known as the Cooperative Institute for Climate and Satellites) since 2003. In 2021, he took on the role of Associate Director of ESSIC. In 2023, he began serving as ESSIC’s Interim Director.

Dr. Ellen Williams smiles in a red blazer

Ellen D. Williams

Distinguished University Professor
Executive Director - Cooperative Institute for Satellite Earth System Studies (CISESS)

Professor Ellen Williams received her bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Michigan State University in 1976 and her Ph.D. in chemistry from the California Institute of Technology in 1981. Williams came to UMD in 1981 for a postdoctoral fellowship and rose to the rank of professor by 1991. At Maryland, she established an internationally recognized research program in experimental surface science, exploring fundamental issues in statistical mechanics and nanotechnology. She also pioneered the use of powerful scanning tunneling microscopy to study the surface of materials such as silicon at the atomic level. In 1996, Williams founded the University of Maryland Materials Research Science and Engineering Center, serving as its director until 2009.Williams served as the chief scientist for British Petroleum (BP) from 2010 to 2014. In 2014, she was confirmed by the U.S. Senate as the director of the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E).

In January 2017, Williams returned to UMD and was anointed as a Distinguished University Professor. She took on the role of ESSIC Director in 2020 and retired from the position in 2023. 

Hugo Berbery's portrait photo

Hugo Berbery

Deputy Director - CISESS

E. Hugo Berbery is a Research Professor at ESSIC and Deputy Director for CISESS, the Cooperative Institute for Satellite Earth Systems Studies. Dr. Berbery, a Fellow of the American Meteorological Society, has research interests in regional hydroclimate variability, monsoon systems and land surface-atmosphere interactions. He is currently serving as co-chair of the International CLIVAR’s Variability of the American Monsoon Systems (VAMOS) Panel and as a member in other international panels.

Andy Negri

Assistant Director - ESSIC

Andrew Negri received his Bachelor’s degree in Atmospheric Science from SUNY-Albany in 1975 and his Master’s degree in Atmospheric Science from Colorado State University in 1978. From 1979-2008, he was a Research Meteorologist at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, MD, using remote sensing to study severe storms and precipitation. He received numerous NASA/GSFC awards including the Exceptional Achievement Award, the Laboratory for Atmospheres Staff Support Peer Award, the Laboratory Award for Outstanding Research paper, and a NASA Acquisition Improvement Award. In 2008, he joined ESSIC as Assistant Director where he is the point-of-contact for new scientist hires, promotions/appointments and strives to execute and enforce ESSIC operational policies.