Jenny Whitten

Planetary Sciences



Assistant Professor, Tulane University, New Orleans, LA, 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.

I identify as a white cisgender woman. I live in New Orleans, LA. I represent those who identify as female in a still male-dominated profession, and I bring my experiences of exclusion into each meeting I participate in. I do my best to recognize when someone has an idea and make space for them to express that opinion. My own experiences in similar situations have made me more aware that when other underrepresented minorities are in similar situations, they may be more hesitant to share their ideas. I also bring a regional perspective to the table, coming from Louisiana and an area with a small population of planetary scientists. I offer a perspective and can represent voices of researchers who continue to succeed in our field, but in isolation.

Volunteer experience that relates to this position:

Volunteering is central to me as a scientist. In this vein, I've served as AGU Planetary Science section (PSS) Secretary and a committee member of the Venus Exploration Analysis Group (VEXAG). My AGU PSS responsibilities include sending the newsletter and collecting information on section initiatives. For VEXAG, I work towards the larger goal of catalyzing Venus science and exploration. I’ve also participated within conference organizing committees, most recently in support of the Lunar and Planetary Institute’s (LPI) upcoming Ancient Venus conference.


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?

As the president-elect for the AGU Planetary Science section (PSS), I would make it a priority to listen to community wants and needs, and work to implement those suggestions. During my time as AGU PSS secretary our committee started many initiatives focused on supporting early career scientists and broadening the AGU PSS membership by reaching out to international scientists, supporting travel and care expenses, and expanding and diversifying section committees.

Going forward, I will work with the AGU PSS leadership team and our section committees to implement and support the AGU strategic plan and continue the initiatives we put in place the last few years. Planetary science has a particularly important role to play in supporting AGU’s mission of inspiring “a global community of individuals and organizations” and “educating and inspiring the next generation of scientists.” Planetary science is an exciting field that can inspire students to pursue STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) fields and broaden and diversify the pool of individuals interested in science and science policy. More specifically, the PSS can partner with other AGU sections (like Earth and Planetary Surface Processes) to create joint Fall Meeting sessions that publicize the broader impacts and interdisciplinary nature of planetary science. To foster a more inclusive environment at the AGU Fall Meeting, I will work to firmly establish a convener mentorship program that connects early career researchers with senior scientists. I will work to strengthen and increase opportunities for networking and mentorship at other conferences and workshops through formal and information events.

Section affiliations:

Earth and Planetary Surface Processes; Planetary Sciences