Dana Peterson

AGU Council Student and Early Career Positions

Early Career Scientist III


Geophysicist, U.S. Geological Survey, Denver, CO, 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.

Woman in science; first-generation college graduate; U.S. national; originally from the upper Midwest (Wisconsin) but currently living in Colorado

Volunteer experience that relates to this position:

As an AGU Meeting session co-chair and co-creator of the Denver U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Early Career Science Network I’ve gained valuable skills in group decision-making, organizing and planning events, and soliciting feedback from group members. As Treasurer/Vice-president of Cornell’s geoscience graduate student organization and co-organizer of our department seminar series I worked to improve the social structure of our department and the diversity of speakers. Mentoring via AGU’s Mentoring365 program has expanded my scientific outreach toolkit.


This leadership position is a liaison role; it aims to catalyze community and build AGU as envisioned by the strategic plan. How will you engage with other students and early career scientists to share, and solicit inputs to, important strategic discussions and actions being undertaken by the Council? Relating to AGU’s strategic plan, what features of the plan do you think are most exciting for the student and early career communities to engage with and advance?

My experience working with early career scientists through AGU’s Mentoring365 program and as an organizer of the USGS Early Career Science Network (ESCN) enables me to engage with and solicit feedback from a large group of students and early career scientists, bringing a flow of fresh perspectives to the council. If elected to the council, I would introduce AGU updates to our ESCN events calendar, providing a platform for discussion of pertinent AGU Council actions with the USGS early career community.

I’m excited by the strategic goal to promote and exemplify an inclusive scientific culture. Mentoring and co-chairing meeting sessions have highlighted issues of inequality based on nationality. A Nigerian student I’m mentoring faces university closures, works several jobs, and lacks the finances to attend international conferences. As session co-chair, our invited speaker from Argentina had to decline because she couldn’t afford a flight to AGU. I’d love to explore ways to equalize access to scientific meetings, especially for early career scientists from underrepresented and less advantaged countries.

Equally exciting is cultivating a culture of trust in evidence-based science. Programs such as AGU’s Thriving Earth Exchange are wonderful opportunities to expose a larger population to the scientific process, build trust on the side of the public, and improve science communication by experts. I hope to become involved in these initiatives and find ways to expand their reach to a larger group of scientists and the public by partnering with organizations with similar goals, such as the Letters to a Pre-Scientist program.

Section affiliations:

Earth and Planetary Surface Processes; Geodesy; Geomagnetism, Paleomagnetism and Electromagnetism; Global Environmental Change; Natural Hazards; Near Surface Geophysics; Nonlinear Geophysics; Science and Society; Seismology; Study of the Earth's Deep Interior