Brandon Jones

AGU Board of Directors



Program Director, National Science Foundation, Alexandria, VA, USA

AGU embraces the global community and welcomes diverse leaders from around the world, representing various identities, voices, and perspectives. List any identities, voices, and perspectives you would bring, including but not limited to nationality, regional representations, racial and ethnic backgrounds, and any other identity you feel comfortable sharing.

- Black American
- Christian

Volunteer experience that relates to this position:

AGU: Board of Directors, Talent Pool Task Force, Leadership Development and Governance Committee, and Strategic Plan Writing Team; National Science Foundation (NSF): Geoscience Education and Diversity Team Lead; Environmental Leadership Program: Board of Directors; University of Delaware College of Earth, Ocean and Environment: Dean's Advisory Council


The AGU strategic plan presents a bold and visionary direction for the organization. The President and President-elect are key partners in leading the Board and Council in implementing the strategic plan. What aspects of the strategic plan do you find most exciting? What do you see as the challenges in implementing the strategic plan and how would you approach these challenges?

A key feature of the strategic plan that excites me is the goal that focuses on partnerships. A necessary factor that will ensure the development and sustainability of equitable partnerships is the need for co-creative space that elevates community needs in learning, research designs, and implementation planning. The design of those spaces will serve to empower disproportionately impacted communities to have direct involvement in the regenerative efforts where science can be applied and where they can benefit and thrive. In thinking about these new spaces, we must advance beyond sustainability (which is a key step), but towards the restoration of the many interlocked natural and physical systems that make up the original infrastructure for viable communities. The democratization of the Earth and space sciences will require inclusive and equitable science innovation with an eye to ensuring that the “fruits of science and technology are fully shared across all of America and among all Americans” — adapted from President Biden's 2021 letter to the incoming Office of Science and Technology Policy Director.

A significant challenge to strategic plan implementation is promoting the vision so that it empowers members to re-imagine the status quo. For AGU’s plan to be successfully scaled and sustained there has to be an emphasis on addressing societal needs in the places where learning and research occur. This will require an institutional shift in thinking about what has been valued as intellectual and career capital — mainly discovery science. The application of science for societal benefit will need to be centered in such a way that people will be free to imagine new methods for learning, training, and discovery research. However, the existing system may not be prepared to assess these new methods. One thing that can be done to address this issue is to make adjustments in the valuation systems needed for societally relevant work to be impactful as well as counted towards professional advancement (e.g., academic currency).

Secondly, communicating the importance of the plan in the bolstering of the green workforce (GW) will be essential. The geosciences are natural areas for GW learning and research experiences however, re-imagined science activities must intentionally stretch beyond trans- or interdisciplinary work, which rely on traditional modes of evaluation, tracking, gatekeeping, etc., to nondisciplinary ideation, which allows open space for full innovation and new ways of defining success. Additionally, there must be space for the equitable inclusion of adequate expertise, coupled with intentional co-designed evaluation and assessment approaches. With this in mind, the engagement of social science expertise will be key for understanding the needs of communities, therefore informing the methodologies and approaches in training of individuals who can “walk” in multiple worlds to achieve both science and societal outcomes.