Wendy Calvin

Planetary Sciences



Professor, University of Nevada, Reno, NV, 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.

AGU was the first professional society I joined as a graduate student, and I became a life member in 2018. The society, at the intersection of Earth science and physics, has always been one of the best places to present my science. We have made tremendous strides in the inclusion of women in the field since I joined thirty-five years ago and are poised to make similar gains for people with different racial, religious, and other backgrounds. I have always tried to exemplify and promote excellence, integrity, and inclusivity in my research group and organizations where I have a leadership role. Over time, 50% of my graduate students have been women. My current research group includes a first-generation Ph.D. woman of color, a Muslim, and a non-traditional undergraduate who is Hispanic. I have actively supported many undergraduates who are the first in their families to obtain bachelor’s degrees, including a member of the Northern Paiute Tribe who went on to complete M.S. and Ph.D. degrees at other institutions. Thus, I have long been engaged in promoting an inclusive scientific culture.

Volunteer experience that relates to this position:

I have been Chair of my department for 7 academic years (2015-2022). For AGU I volunteered as Secretary for the Planetary Sciences section (2004-2005) and served on the meetings committee (2008-2010). I served on the National Academies Committee for Planetary and Lunar Exploration (COMPLEx, 1998-2000) and the Committee on the Origin and Evolution of Life (COEL, 2002-2004). I participated in both the 2003 and 2013 Planetary Science decadal surveys (New Frontiers and Vision and Voyages).


This leadership position is a liaison role; it is one that aims to catalyze community and build AGU as envisioned by the strategic plan. How will you engage with members of your section to advance AGU’s strategic plan? How will you facilitate engagement with other sections and people outside AGU to support our mission?

Planetary Sciences is strongly interdisciplinary. I estimate that members of our section could have additional affiliations with at least 15 of AGU’s 25 sections, and members of those sections may have secondary affiliations with Planetary Sciences. Spacecraft missions, both large and small, most with some international partnership, form one cornerstone of our science and incorporate hundreds of scientists and engineers with a wide range of perspectives to be successful. We are also a highly publicly visible field, with millions tuning in to the latest launch, landing, or flyby. As President of our section, I would partner with NASA and our industry supporters in promoting inclusivity in our science and how our work is addressing current societal challenges. Discoveries in our field can catalyze engagement of the public with science and scientists, and I would work to assure the annual meeting showcases the latest discoveries in our field and that these become a regular feature of the section newsletter and articles in Eos. I would collaborate with sister organizations such as the Planetary Society, and make sure we complement community bulletin boards such as the Planetary Exploration Newsletter (PEN) put out by the Planetary Science Institute and Planetary News from the Lunar and Planetary Institute to showcase items from across our AGU section membership. Nascent commercial capabilities in space are rapidly creating the dawn of a new space age. I would work to ensure that “new space” careers, technology, events, and activities are also highlighted, when relevant to our membership.

Section affiliations:

Cryosphere Sciences; Earth and Planetary Surface Processes; Near Surface Geophysics; Planetary Sciences; Volcanology, Geochemistry, and Petrology