Nick Schmerr

Study of the Earth's Deep Interior



Associate Professor, University of Maryland, College Park, MD, 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.

As a cisgendered, non-ethnic, white male of European descent, I have focused my efforts on being an ally to the less well-represented voices and identities that are present in our field. It is important to me to do what is within my power to help improve the equity, diversity, inclusion, and accessibility of our community. I am interested in hearing about and learning from all types of voices and perspectives, and in innovating on ways to make those voices and perspectives better heard so that individuals from those groups feel included into our deep-Earth community. It is my feeling that the AGU community has a lot of power to make this happen in concrete ways by giving support to our early career members and providing them with new and exciting opportunities to find a professional place for growth in their scientific interests. The Study of the Earth’s Deep Interior is a small section within the overall AGU community, but it is no stranger to being able to transcend disciplinary boundaries and I believe that it can provide exciting ways to bring less-well represented individuals into the field through our natural propensity for cross-disciplinary inclusion.

Volunteer experience that relates to this position:

Study of the Earth’s Deep Interior Section Representative to the AGU Fall Program Committee from 2009-2012. Study of the Earth’s Deep Interior Section Executive Committee, both as a Member and Web Editor from 2013-2020. Vice-Chair of the Geophysics Division of the Geological Society of America (GSA) from 2014-2015. Elected Chair to the Geophysics Division (GSA) from 2015-2017. Past Chair of the Geophysics Division (GSA) from 2017-2019.


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?

The Study of the Earth’s Deep Interior Section (DI) exists owing to the wide diversity of scientific interests represented within AGU. DI is multidisciplinary by nature, bringing together scientists from a wide community of interests with a focus on understanding the connections between planetary evolution and the deeper processes that drive our planet (and others). As president-elect, I would seek to grow those connections to other parts of the AGU community by sponsoring high profile meeting sessions, especially in the socially relevant areas of climate change and human resilience that are tied to deep-interior processes and planetary evolution. I would strive to continue DI’s efforts to develop an award to recognize excellence within our section through an Early Career Award and increased support for our student awards. I view an early career award as essential part in furthering AGU's goal to promote and exemplify a more inclusive scientific culture, and a recognition of excellence among scientific colleagues who study the deep interior of planets. I would also like to further foster a meeting mentorship program that brings together new Fall Meeting attendees with more experienced volunteers to facilitate early career participation and inclusion into DI activities; this would create opportunities for underrepresented minorities and disadvantaged groups within AGU meetings. I would build on connections to the broader geophysics community, including industry and other scientific societies, such as the Geological Society of America (GSA) and SEG, by developing joint sessions that tap into DI research and open opportunities for cross-disciplinary research.

Section affiliations:

Cryosphere Sciences; Earth and Planetary Surface Processes; Mineral and Rock Physics; Planetary Sciences; Seismology; Study of the Earth's Deep Interior; Tectonophysics; Volcanology, Geochemistry, and Petrology