AGU announces Kristen Averyt, Ph.D., as new EVP, Science


AGU, the world’s largest association of Earth and space scientists, announced Kristen Averyt, Ph.D., will be its next Executive Vice President, Science, effective 3 June 2024.

Averyt joins AGU from the Executive Office of the President, Council on Environmental Quality, where she served as Director for Drought and Western Resilience. At the council, she was part of the team working on strategies, policies, and investments for the White House and federal agencies focused on water resources, drought and extreme heat.

“Beyond her impressive qualifications and experience, Kristen brings a genuine passion and winning spirit for connecting science across academia, policy, research, industry and local communities,” said Janice R. Lachance, Interim Executive Director and CEO, AGU. “Her skill and zeal for collaboration will encourage strong working alliances that bolster and amplify both discovery and solution science.”

Prior to her White House role, Averyt was Senior Climate Advisor to Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak, where she led interagency coordination and policy development to reach the governor’s climate and sustainability goals.

As a subject matter expert on climate, water resources and the impacts of climate change, Averyt marshalled planning, funding and implementation for a wide array of critical state and western region-wide initiatives. This senior position followed her role as Nevada’s State Climate Policy Coordinator.

Kristen Averyt, Ph.D., will be AGU’s next Executive Vice President, Science, effective 3 June 2024.

Averyt is a past president of the Desert Research Institute (DRI), Nevada’s premier environmental research institution. At DRI, she coordinated strategy and budget planning with the Nevada System of Higher Education (NSHE).

“Kristen has been a bold thinker and valued partner for an impressive array of institutions and offices. Now, AGU is so fortunate to have her ambitions and skills as we continue to build an open, diverse, supportive and thriving culture of science,” said AGU President Lisa J. Graumlich, Ph.D.

A research professor at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV), Averyt also served as Associate Director for Science at the University of Colorado Boulder’s Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES).

Averyt served as Deputy Director, then Director, for one of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Regional Integrated Sciences and Assessments (RISA) programs—the Western Water Assessment. She was also notably a staff scientist for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fourth Assessment Technical Support Unit, sharing with hundreds across IPCC scientists in the agency’s 2007 Nobel Peace Prize.

Averyt has been a longtime, active member of the American Meteorological Society (AMS). She was elected by the AMS Council membership, overseeing the business and financial operations of the society, and scientific policy. She recently served as co-chair of the AMS 2024 Annual Meeting.

“I am excited and honored to join AGU. While we maintain the quality and integrity of the Earth and space science enterprise, we can grow greater collaboration across disciplines, reaching outside of traditional circles and building stronger coalitions to ensure lasting impacts,” said Averyt.

Averyt holds a Ph.D. in geological and environmental science from Stanford University. She received a master’s in chemistry from the University of Otago in Dunedin, New Zealand, where she studied on a US Fulbright Fellowship.  Averyt graduated magna cum laude from the University of Miami with dual bachelor’s degrees in chemistry and marine science.

She succeeds Brooks Hanson who retired from AGU last summer.  Averyt will report to Lachance.