UGA Expert Receives National Award

Feb 7, 2020

A University of Georgia science expert is being honored at the national level. Dr. Marshall Shepherd is the 2020 recipient of the Award for Public Engagement from the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

“It’s moving science beyond the ivory tower, beyond the publications and journals and conferences into the public sphere.”

Dr. Marshall Shepherd
Credit Photo courtesy Nancy Evelyn

Shepherd is being recognized for his ability to break down complicated scientific topics to nonscientists.

“I take it very seriously because we don’t train young scholars and scientists to do it,” according to Shepherd. “There are a generation of scientists that are very good at what they do as scientists, but now you have Congress and the President and policy makers asking about science.”

He says it’s important to be able to help nonscientists across a broad range of industries to understand their work.

“The public, though tax payer dollars, funds the National Science Foundation, NASA and other organizations that support our research and they need to understand why this matters to their lives.”

The award ceremony is this weekend in Seattle, Washington but Shepherd won’t be there to accept it in person.

“I just try to minimize my carbon footprint and that’s a meeting that I normally wouldn’t go to and I just can’t justify using all that carbon footprint to go there to receive an award” Shepherd said.” I’m humbled to receive the award but I’m thankful the organization is allowing me to receive it remotely.”

The award spans all science, not just meteorology or climate.

In addition to his duties as the Georgia Athletic Association Distinguished Professor and director of the Atmospheric Sciences Program at UGA, Shepherd also hosts the Weather Channel show, Weather Geeks, and writes a column for Forbes.