Jon Major

Earth and Planetary Surface Processes



Research Hydrologist, U.S. Geological Survey Cascades Volcano Observatory, Vancouver, Washington, USA

Volunteer experience that relates to this position:

My volunteer experience consists of (1) leadership positions with scientific societies — both on management boards (Geological Society of America (GSA) QG&G Division) and as conference organization chair and co-chair for major international meetings (International Association of Volcanology and Chemistry of the Earth's Interior (IAVCEI), Debris Flow Hazards Mitigation), (2) service on journal editorial boards (Geological Society of America Bulletin, Journal of Geophysical Research: Earth Surface, Frontiers in Volcanology), (3) editor of scientific compendiums, and (4) leadership within a local outdoor organization (Mazamas) as a program chair and climb leader.


Council members play critical roles as communication conduits among AGU members and leaders. How will you engage with members of your section to advance AGU’s new strategic plan? How might you facilitate engagement with other sections and people outside AGU to support our mission?

The strategic plan encompasses three strategic goals.

To advance goal 1, I will:

  • Help AGU leadership promote and accommodate more innovative and virtual attendance at meetings.
  • Engage section leadership and journal editors to seek and publish more “grand challenges” papers, especially those that are multidisciplinary.
  • Engage ongoing discussions with membership, AGU publications, and journal editors on how best to make AGU journals open access.

To advance goal 2, I will:

  • Engage program committee representatives to ensure proposed meeting activities are solicited from, and represent, the diversity of Union membership.
  • Foster annual sessions that are dedicated to showcasing and celebrating contributions of our student/early-career scientists.
  • Encourage, promote and facilitate innovative activities by the student/early-career network within the section.
  • Actively solicit diversity among the various committees that conduct section business.
  • Establish “speed dating” nights for student/early-career scientists to meet and query “seasoned” scientists. Personal stories resonate.

To advance goal 3, I will:

  • Foster innovative uses of public outreach to “humanize” scientists and science. Perhaps AGU can host a monthly Facebook Live “pub night” public seminar on a topic of broad societal interest (and record them for on-demand viewing by anyone).
  • Where practicable, encourage engagement of citizen science in crowdsourced data collection and then show the citizenry (via podcasts, Facebook seminars, other) how those data are used and what they mean. Provide the broader public some “ownership” in science (repeat photos of a site to document change, time series measurements of river temperature).

Section affiliations:
Earth and Planetary Surface Processes; Hydrology; Natural Hazards; Volcanology, Geochemistry and Petrology