Dr. Stephen G. Wells has been President of the Desert Research Institute (DRI) of the Nevada System of Higher Education for the past thirteen years, administering one of the world’s largest multidisciplinary environmental research organizations with approximately 500 scientists, technologists, students, and other support staff.  Dr. Wells oversees two state-of-the-art facilities in Las Vegas and Reno, as well as satellite research facilities in Boulder City and Stead, Nevada, and Steamboat Springs, Colorado.  DRI consists of three core divisions and four interdisciplinary science centers that serve the State of Nevada and every continent in the world.

Dr. Wells is also a graduate faculty member in the Hydrologic Sciences Program and Department of Geological Sciences at the University of Nevada, Reno, and Visiting Professor at the Institute of Earth Environment, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Xian, China.  Dr. Wells has served as President of the Geological Society of America, the largest professional society within the geosciences in North America In addition, he is on the Board of Advisors of Biosphere 2, as well as a board member on two economic development agencies and a research park in Nevada, and a former board member of UNESCO/IUGS International Year of the Planet Earth.  Dr. Wells has served on numerous professional editorial boards in the earth sciences and published more than 70 referred journal articles and edited volumes.

During his career, Dr. Wells has been an executive director (university dean equivalent) of a science division at DRI, and a faculty member and administrator at the University of New Mexico and University of California-Riverside. He has held joint appointments at U.S. Air Force Office of Research, U.S. Geological Survey, Los Alamos National Laboratory, and The University of Liverpool in England.  Dr. Wells is the recipient of three national awards for research excellence in earth surface processes and history from the Geological Society of America, including the Kirk Bryan Award for best scientific paper and the Farouk El-Baz award for desert research.

Dr. Wells has a B.S. (Geology) from Indiana University as well as a M.S. and Ph.D. in Geology from the University of Cincinnati.  In 2007, Dr. Wells received distinguished alumni awards from the Department of Geology at Indiana University and from the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Cincinnati. He serves as President of the Board of Directors for Gathering Genius, a non-profit organization founded in 2006 to increase student interest, excellence, competitiveness, and participation in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields in the State of Nevada.