Thomas Oommen

Natural Hazards



Professor, Michigan Technological University, Houghton, MI, USA

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Thomas Oommen is a Professor in the Geological Engineering Department and the Director of the Computational Science and Engineering Ph.D. Program at Michigan Technological University. He is actively involved in undergraduate and graduate education, research, and service. 

His vision as the President-Elect of the Natural Hazards section will be to promote natural hazards education, research, and outreach. In his observation, students who are engaged in professional societies during their education tend to continue to be active through their professional careers. He primarily aspires to bring awareness to students and young professionals on Natural Hazards section activities and highlight the value of being an active member of the Natural Hazards section in their professional careers.

Over Dr. Oommen’s academic career, he has been involved with technical research efforts on applying remote sensing and big data for natural hazard characterization. Furthermore, he looks forward to working with the AGU - Natural Hazards section to share and refine the educational tools to keep the profession on the leading front to meet the impact the big data revolution would have on our understanding of managing and mitigating natural hazards in the coming decades.

Volunteer experience that relates to this position:

I have volunteer experience both with AGU and other professional societies. I serve on the AGU Natural Hazards Executive Committee since 2017. I am the Chair of the Natural Hazards Award Committee. I also serve as the Chair of the American Society of Civil Engineers - Engineering Geology Site Characterization Committee and the Geological Society of America - Environmental and Engineering Geology Division.


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?

Natural hazards are a societal challenge that we face. The AGU's strategic goal to catalyze discovery and solutions to scientific and societal challenges is highly relevant to the work of the Natural Hazards section. Changes in climate conditions, especially the warming of global temperatures, increase the likelihood of weather-related natural hazards and require discovery and solutions to reduce risk and increase resilience. As the Natural Hazards section president-elect, I plan to communicate these needs to the membership and promote and encourage an inclusive scientific culture. My volunteer experience spans several professional organizations. I plan to partner broadly with these organizations and bridge AGU Natural Hazards section with these organizations to advance to address the scientific and societal challenges effectively.

Section affiliations:

Earth and Space Science Informatics; Natural Hazards; Ocean Sciences