Lea Shanley directs the Commons Lab within the Science and Technology Innovation Program (STIP) of Woodrow Wilson Center. The Commons Lab seeks to advance research and independent policy analysis on emerging technologies that facilitate collaborative, science-based and citizen-driven decision-making, with an emphasis on their social, legal, and ethical implications.
In 2010, Lea was a Postdoctoral Fellow on the Mapping Science Committee of the National Academy of Sciences, where she co-directed two reports: Precise Geodetic Infrastructure: National Requirements for a Shared Resource; and New Research Directions for the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency. These reports recommended strategic science and technology priorities for geodesy, hazards monitoring, and national security.
In 2009, Lea was an American Association for the Advancement of Science/Agronomy Society of America-Crop Science Society of America-Soil Science Society of America Congressional Science Fellow and primary science adviser to the Chair of the Senate Subcommittee on Science and Space. She managed the Senator's priorities for federal R&D and crafted and negotiated legislation addressing earth observation, oceans issues, and hazards research and mitigation.
Previously, Lea conducted community-based participatory action research in geographic information science at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. This research engaged local and tribal communities in the development and use of GIS-based decision support systems, enabling collaborative decision-making for improved land use planning, natural resource management, coastal management, precision agriculture, and emergency management.