The AMS began in the early 1900s as a segregated organization connecting a select group of individuals engaged in fledgling scientific endeavors. It has grown into a scientifically diverse professional organization that reflects a myriad of people, applications, careers, and opportunities. These changes in AMS have slowly followed broader societal transformations led by those most excluded from full participation in national life in the US and beyond. Nonetheless, one of our greatest societal challenges continues to be inequitable access to resources, reliable information, and safe and sustainable communities in which to live. The AMS must continue to grow in relevance to a more diverse national population while also serving those in greatest need globally. Continuing to reduce barriers to equity within the AMS will help us better achieve these broad goals by taking advantage of the full scientific capacity available. Equity means more than opening the doors of membership to all – it means opening the doors to shared governance and senior level leadership. Equitable inclusion means more than listening. It means incorporating voices that have been muted in the articulation of a renewed vision for the society. I have been working toward these goals during the entirely of my participation in the AMS. This includes 25 years of bringing students of color to participate in Annual Meetings, organizing the annual Colour of Weather reception that celebrates the diversity of our scientific community, and serving on the Board of Women and Minorities. In addition to my own scientific expertise, I would bring this is the body of experience to the Council. I would use my position to help the AMS better draw on the experiences and intellect of institutions, individuals and communities that have been historically marginalized in order for our collective scientific endeavors to have the broadest possible impact.
Dr. Vernon Morris is a professor of chemistry and atmospheric sciences and the director of the NOAA Cooperative Science Center in Atmospheric Sciences and Meteorology. He is the founding director of the Howard University Atmospheric Sciences Program (HUPAS), the first Ph.D. program in atmospheric sciences at a minority-serving institution. HUPAS is a national leader in the production of minority Ph.D.’s in its field, producing 50% of the African American Ph.D.’s in the atmospheric sciences between 2006 and 2016. Beginning with an NSF CAREER award in 1997, Dr. Morris has raised more than $60M in research funding as principal investigator. The research questions that guide his research are 1) How does the evolution of particulate composition and structure during its atmospheric life cycle influence regional atmospheric chemistry and climate?, and 2) How does the chemical processing of aerosols affect their aerobiology and regional environmental health? Dr. Morris has led 12 trans-Atlantic science expeditions aboard the NOAA class-1 research vessel, Ronald H. Brown. Each time he led an international team of scientists in a multidisciplinary study of the long-range transport and influence of atmospheric particles emitted from the Saharan Desert on the regional atmosphere and ocean. He completed his Ph.D. in Earth and atmospheric sciences from the Georgia Institute of Technology in 1991 and B.S. degrees in chemistry and mathematics from Morehouse College. Dr. Morris is deeply committed to equitable access to career and educational opportunities in the geosciences. To this end, he created national network weather camps for secondary school students to explore academic and professional opportunities in weather, climate, and environmental sciences. These camps operated in 11 locations within the continental U.S. and Puerto Rico. Over 700 high school and middle school students participated in his camps, with over 65% being African American or Latinx. Dr. Morris has won numerous academic and scientific honors and awards including the Charles Anderson Award from AMS (2017), and the A. T. Weathers Technical Achievement Award from the National Technical Association (2018). He was selected to be a Fulbright Specialist in 2013 and was elected an AMS Fellow in 2016. He is currently a member of the Charles Anderson Award Committee and previously served on the Board on Women and Minorities and the Committee on Atmospheric Chemistry.