Meteorology professor becomes co-chair of the NSF committee on diversity and inclusion

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pennsylvania – Jose D. Fuentes, Professor of Meteorology and John T. Ryan Faculty Fellow, has been named co-chair of an external advisory committee to the National Science Foundation tasked with evaluating and visioning the future of the Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR) produced by the NSF.

Fuentes is one of 19 experts asked to review the efforts of the NSF’s EPSCoR, a subcommittee of the NSF Committee on Equal Opportunities in Science and Technology (CEOSE). Fuentes is the chairman of CEOSE.

The group, made up of a wide range of experts from across the country, will participate in a year-long exercise to understand the historical and current impact of the EPSCoR. It will solicit input from stakeholders in the United States and identify new areas of success and impact. Ongoing updates will be available online and a final report of the results will be presented to CEOSE for approval and distribution to NSF leadership.

The committee will work to measure the effectiveness of the EPSCoR’s research investment efforts while identifying new strategies or changes to current strategies that would allow EPSCoR to more effectively achieve common goals in the context of the changing STEM research landscape in the country.

“I am excited to have the opportunity to contribute with ideas that can influence the national STEM research agenda,” said Fuentes. “This is a rare opportunity for me to expand on some of the activities I have done with Penn State on issues related to diversity and inclusion in states with limited research infrastructures.”

This is Fuentes’ latest attempt to influence STEM fields. He leads, through the office of the Senior Vice President for Research, a new Diversity and Social Justice Committee focused on Penn State’s research institutes. He was also Director of Research Experience for Penn State’s Undergraduate Program (REU) in Climate Science.

Fuentes mentors underrepresent students and work with student clubs and organize workshops to attract and retain more underrepresented students in academia.

“The work of the Advisory Committee will provide advice and guidance for future investments in EPSCoR countries that will remain competitive in STEM-related areas,” said Fuentes.

The American Meteorological Society presented Fuentes with the 2016 Charles E. Anderson Award “for outstanding, sustained efforts to promote diversity in atmospheric and environmental sciences through education, research, and community service.” He was a member of boards and committees of NASA and the NSF. Prior to joining Penn State, he was a founding member of the University of Virginia’s Excellence in Diversity program, which aimed to attract and retain underrepresented faculties.

Fuentes is an expert in climate science and air quality. His research focuses on physical, biological and chemical processes that control trace gases, particles and the exchange of energy between the earth and the atmosphere. His most notable work showed that air pollution reduced the bees’ ability to find food.

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