ODU hires executive director of coastal institute
Jessica Whitehead joins university from North Carolina
Old Dominion University announced Thursday that Jessica Whitehead has been named the first Joan P. Brock endowed executive director of its Institute for Coastal Adaptation and Resilience (ICAR), launched in 2019. Her first day was Thursday.
Whitehead comes from the North Carolina Office of Recovery and Resiliency, where she served as the office’s first chief resilience officer. In her new position, Whitehead will collaborate with the city of Norfolk to find solutions for sea-level rise and building coastal resilience in the Hampton Roads region.
“Local and state governments all over America are beyond asking if resilience is important — now they want to know what to do and how to do it,” Whitehead said in a statement. “We need innovative and collaborative partnerships between universities and governments to answer this question. I’m so excited to be leading ICAR, because ODU and the city of Norfolk are uniquely positioned to set the national standard for implementing coastal resilience and adaptation solutions.”
She serves on the American Meteorological Society’s Board of Outreach and Pre-College Education, and NC State University’s climate and society master’s program’s advisory board. A Penn State degree holder, Whitehead is an adjunct lecturer for Georgetown University’s emergency and disaster management master’s program, and before joining NCORR, she was the coastal communities hazards adaptation specialist for North Carolina Sea Grant.