We are excited to announce Dr. Samantha E. Simmons as the Marine Mammal Commission’s new Scientific Program Director. In February, Dr. Simmons moved from her previous role as the Assistant Scientific Program Director, which she had occupied since 2009, into her new position. Dr. Simmons earned an M.S. in marine science and then a Ph.D. in ecology and evolutionary biology at the University of California Santa Cruz, where her research focused on the behavior of seals and sea lions in relation to oceanography. Dr. Simmons replaces Dr. Dennis Heinemann, who has transitioned into the role of Senior Adviser for Fisheries Policy & Ecology. As Scientific Program Director, Dr. Simmons will continue to coordinate the Commission's use of the best available science in policy decisions and oversee the Commission’s research grant program. Sam is particularly interested in working with other Federal agencies and stakeholders to improve the science behind marine mammal stock assessments as required by Section 117 of the Marine Mammal Protection Act and integrating emerging scientific methods and technologies into effective research and management of marine mammals.