13 December 2010
When I learned that AGU was broadening its efforts to reach early career scientists and students to participate in AGU leadership, I was thrilled and immediately jumped at the opportunity to serve AGU in this capacity. I was selected, and yesterday I participated in my first meeting as an AGU Council member. Upon officially joining the Council, I realized how great of an opportunity this is! I’ve always held the impression that opportunities like this were reserved for individuals who were much farther along in their career than me.
My first meeting as an AGU Council member was a great experience. I was most impressed by the passion and energy displayed by the scientists in the group. The Council consisted of a group of volunteers from a cross-section of disciplines across the Earth and Space sciences. The main responsibilities of the group involved thinking futuristically about science-related issues affecting AGU’s membership and ensuring that the Union is adequately positioned to address these issues. The discussions held were quite interactive and organized to encourage dialogue, ensuring that everyone had an opportunity to express ideas and viewpoints. Participating in these discussions was quite invigorating!
Several recurring discussion items came up for discussion which centered around two main themes: 1) society’s ability (or inability) to cope with future changing climate, and 2) making AGU more welcoming to scientists who have interdisciplinary foci. I brought up a disturbing trend that I observed pertaining to the widening gulf between broadcast meteorologists and researchers on their views regarding climate change. I also encouraged AGU to continue making efforts to be as diverse as possible, including structuring itself not only to meet needs of private sector scientists, but also to foster participation of women and minorities.
AGU is run by some very passionate volunteers and staff who are dedicated to making AGU the best Union for scientists and society. It is a great honor to be a part of this group and I thank AGU leadership for this experience.
–Ashton Robinson Cook, Ph.D. student at the University of Oklahoma School of Meteorology and a student intern at the Storm Prediction Center of NOAA’s National Weather Service