Xudong Sun

Space Physics and Aeronomy

Secretary Solar and Heliospheric Physics


Assistant Astronomer, University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa, Makawao, HI, 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.

Foreign-born, first-generation college graduates in the U.S. often have to clear extra hurdles to reach similar career success as their peers. These can include financial hardship, language barrier, lack of opportunity due to immigration status, and so on. The pandemic worsened the situation: the number of foreign applicants to our Ph.D. program (and several others that I know) dropped significantly. For a student or earlier career scientist who is navigating life/career in a foreign country, timely advice and support can make a huge difference. I have benefited from the guidance of my mentors/friends over the years. I hope my first-hand experience could be useful to others in a similar way.

Volunteer experience that relates to this position:

Member of NASA Living with a Star Jack Eddy Fellowship Steering Committee; member of the National Science Foundation (NSF)’s Inouye Solar Telescope Science Working Group; judge for AGU Outstanding Student Presentation Award (since 2013); Mentor for the Hawai‘i Student/Teacher Astronomy Research program; Editor of HMI Science Nuggets (2015-2017)


As one of the elected leaders of your section, how will you partner with your president and president-elect to communicate with and engage your members to help implement AGU’s strategic plan including its mission and vision?

 AGU’s strategic plan aims to accelerate both discovery and solution-based science in an inclusive, ethical, and unbiased way. As the secretary of my section, one direct way I can help is to work with the section president and president-elect to make the annual meeting a safe, collaborative environment where scientists from diverse backgrounds can discuss freely. One emphasis should be to support the work of students and early career scientists. Actions include encouraging them to apply for travel/childcare grants, giving priority to their session proposals, working with the Outstanding Student Presentation Awards (OSPA) coordinators to ensure feedback on student papers, and facilitating roundtable discussions on career paths in academia and industry. I would also like to enlist volunteers to give public outreach talks, to encourage interdisciplinary sessions, and to strictly enforce the anti-harassment policy.

Section affiliations:

Space Physics and Aeronomy