Ruth K. Varner




Professor, University of New Hampshire, Durham, New Hampshire, USA

Volunteer experience that relates to this position:

My volunteer experience has been in support of scientists of all ages to succeed and be recognized for their achievements. For more than a decade, I was the chair and committee member for the University of New Hampshire’s annual Interdisciplinary Science and Engineering Symposium for undergraduates. For the past three years, I have served AGU as chair of the Biogeosciences Section Awards Committee. Additionally, for the Girl Scouts of America, I created, organized and led STEM-focused events.


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?

AGU’s new strategic plan identifies the importance of an inclusive scientific culture and our role in addressing scientific and societal challenges. As president of the Biogeosciences section, I will promote an inclusive culture that values all voices by encouraging all of our members to serve on committees, participate in meetings and discussions and lead inclusive sessions. As biogeoscientists, we have an opportunity to recruit more inclusively into the geosciences from more diverse allied fields such as the biological sciences. I will champion efforts to diversify section award nominations, membership and representation on section and AGU-level committees. Through recognition at our annual meeting and the development of co-sponsored sessions across the AGU sections, I will  encourage our members to participate in education and outreach to engage the public, increase our reach to diverse communities and recruit the next generation of biogeoscientists. 

The Biogeosciences are uniquely situated at the nexus of multiple disciplines that positions us to work closely with other sections and organizations outside AGU to address societal challenges. Members of our section collaborate globally with scientists, communities, governments and with the private sector. I will encourage our members to present examples of these collaborations at our annual meetings and to publish their best practices so that we can all learn the skills needed for success. These actions we lead as a community will make AGU an organization that advocates for a diverse, inclusive and equitable society that values scientific expertise. 

Section affiliations:

Atmospheric Sciences; Biogeosciences; Education; Global Environmental Change; Hydrology