Diane E. Pataki is the Associate Vice President for Research at the University of Utah. She was a recipient of the James B. Macelwane Medal in 2008 from the American Geophysical Union for her research on coupled water and carbon cycles. The award is given to “significant contributions to the geophysical sciences by an outstanding early career scientist.”
Diane E. Pataki was born in New York City, NY. She attended Jamaica High School and was included in the first group of students to participate in the Gateway to Higher Education (program) which started in 1986. The Gateway program allowed for students to receive extra exposure and mentorship in science and math. Pataki has cited this as what inspired her to pursue scientific research. Pataki took extra science, research and writing classes at the City University of New York.
Pataki graduated from Barnard College with a major in Environmental Science in 1993. During this time she worked as an intern at the headquarters of the Environmental Defense Fund assisting the executive director, Fred Krupp.
Pataki attended the Duke UniversityNicholas School of the Environment to pursue a M.S. and Ph.D. under Professor Ram Oren. Her dissertation is titled “Water use of co-occurring species in response to environmental conditions at varying temporal scales”. Her two post-doctoral mentors were James Coleman at the Desert Research Institute and James Ehleringer at the University of Utah.