Belay Demoz

Belay Demoz

The AMS has a long history of change starting from its segregated 1900s – by becoming a scientifically more diverse professional organization and a place of opportunity and connection to budding future leaders. As a graduate student decades ago, I looked forward to the annual meetings to connect with like-minded professional and network. Later as a professional, AMS provided my students (and I) a place for connection and networking opportunities with scientists, policy leaders, and the private sector. I have viewed AMS as a place of opportunity – for networking, for planning and responding to societal issues together as a profession, for bringing diverse ideas, populations, and careers to its members, for responding as a profession to societal ills. All these are not new and have been part of the AMS’s history in different forms – and yes reflected in its leadership and members. Thus, I have benefited from AMS professional services since my arrival in the USA in mid-late 1980s, and, if elected, I will work hard for AMS to continue this tradition of being a place of opportunity and relevance to all members with renewed commitment.

Our societal discourse today is also full of discussions and policy debates on climate trajectory and what our response should be as a society. AMS has a special Professional responsibility to inform, educate, and ensure that science and associated ethics guide those decisions across the weather-water-climate enterprise and derivatives in policy. I’m particularly cognizant of the impact of the different policy choices in addressing climate on the disadvantaged and underrepresented members of society. AMS policies must continue to be aware of, address and expose inequitable access to resources, reliable information, and safe and sustainable communities through its shared governance structure and diverse leadership. 

I have broad experience that involves private, public, and governmental career and a long history of bringing a very diverse student population to Annual Meetings, and involvement the Colour of Weather reception where I witnessed a professional renewal of many students of Color. I enjoy seeing connections and professional bonds being made by students, government, and private company scientists, and returning to school with renewed momentum.  I have had a lot of experience of building bridges between government, academia, and private companies and in the processes opening doors and opportunities for underrepresented students and early career scientists. In addition to my scientific and administrative history this experience would allow me to bring more inclusivity to the AMS, if elected. I would use my position to help the AMS continue its path towards expanding its reach to underrepresented communities and spreading the opportunities I received throughout the years. It is an honor to be nominated to be a Council for the AMS, my professional home, and a privilege to serve, guide and support our Society as it responds to current societal and professional needs and responsibilities. 


Belay Demoz currently serves as Professor of Physics at UMBC and Director of the JCET and GESTAR, both cooperative centers formed between UMBC and NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. JCET created the space and funded for research scientists to work with university faculty and students expanding the government academia relationships. Prior to joining, he was Professor of Physics at the Department of Physics and Astronomy at Howard University and Director of Graduate Studies for the Department and one of the Principal PIs guiding the Howard University Beltsville Campus work and the Howard University Program in Atmospheric Studies (HUPAS) – the first atmospheric science graduate program at an HBCU and a national leader in the production of minority PhD’s in the atmospheric science. At Howard University Beltsville Campus, Belay led the first demonstration of the 3D-Doppler Lidar Wind concept, organized the first major multi-agency WAter Vapor Experiment Sonde/Satellite (WAVES) at an HBCU, and established the only WMO Certified GCOS Reference Upper Air Network (GRUAN) Observation Site operated by a university. Before joining academia, he worked for the private industry as a contractor and as a Civil Servant at NASA/GSFC in the Mesoscale Dynamics Branch.  His research interests include mesoscale observation and instrumentation in atmospheric physics and climate as well as atmospheric science influence in climate and climate policy. He loves to operate in the boundary of observation, instrumentation, and modeling of boundary layer processes and climate research areas. He enjoys bringing together government scientists and private industry in a university research campus where students learn what their future carriers look like beyond only the science..

Belay received his Bachelor of Science degrees in Physics from the University of Asmara, Eritrea and his master’s and PhD in Atmospheric Physics from the University of Nevada-Reno and the Desert Research Institute in Reno, Nevada.