Association of American Geographers
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(one to be elected)

Sheryl Luzzadder-Beach

SHERYL LUZZADDER-BEACH. Professor and Chair, Fellow of the C.B. Smith Centennial Chair in U.S.-Mexico Relations, Department of Geography and the Environment, The University of Texas at Austin. Ph.D. and M.A., Geography, University of Minnesota, 1984 and 1990; B.A., Geography, California State University at Chico, 1982. Email;

Professional Experience: Professor of Geography and the Environment, The University of Texas at Austin (2014-present); Affiliated Faculty the Bernard and Audrey Rapoport Center for Human Rights and Justice (2015-present); Associate Faculty, the Teresa Lozano Long Institute of Latin American Studies (2014-present), and Affiliated Faculty Center for European Studies(2014-present), The University of Texas at Austin. Assistant Professor to Full Professor of Geography (1993-2014), Associate Provost for General Education (2000-2003), Acting Chair (2001; 2013-14), Associate Chair (2008-2013), Director of Ph.D. Program in Earth Systems and Geoinformation Sciences (2008-2013); Director of Academic Programs Geography and Geoinformation Science (2008-2014); Elected Chair, College of Science Faculty (2011-2014), Elected Senator, George Mason University Faculty Senate (2006-2013). Temporary Assistant Professor of Geography: University of Georgia (1991-1993), Humboldt State University (1990-1991); Instructor: University of Minnesota Geography (1987-1989), U of MN Composition Program (1987-1988).

Service to Geography and the AAG: AAG’s Representative to the American Association for the Advancement of Sciences (AAAS) Science and Human Rights Coalition (2011 to present) including SHR Coalition Steering Committee, SHR Council, and SHR co-Chair of the Education and Information Resources Working Group. Hydrology Section Editor for the AAG International Encyclopedia of Geography (2011-present). Elected service: AAG Vice President (AAG Executive Committee and Council 2017—present); AAG Council (Regional Councilor, Middle Atlantic Division, 2003-2004); Chair of the Regional Councilors (2003-2004); Committee on Committees (2003-2004). Middle Atlantic Division of the AAG: elected Chair (2005-2006), Vice Chair (2004-2005), Secretary (1999-2000), Treasurer (1998-1999), and Events Chair (1996-1997), (Also a Life Member); AAG Nominating Committee (2008); and AAG Water Resources Specialty Group Director (1998-2000, 2001-03). Appointments: AAG Awards Committee (2015-2018); Wilbanks Award Committee (2017-pres); Finance (2006-2009); AAG-IGU Travel Grants (2004); AAG-NGS Joint Relations (2001-2004); Constitution and Bylaws (1996-1999); and Tellers (2001). Additional Service to AAG: organizing numerous meetings, panels and sessions at the regional and national level, most recently co-Organizer of “Mainstreaming Human Rights in Geography” featured as a major theme of the AAG Annual Meeting in Boston in 2017. Dr. Luzzadder-Beach was PI on a grant awarded to the AAG in by NASA in 2006-2007 for Project Geo-START: Geo-Spatial Thinking Activities and Resources for Teachers of Geography and Earth Science, a multi-institutional project aimed at increasing diversity in science. Selected Service Beyond the AAG: (2012-2016) Section Co-Editor for Geomorphology and Hydrology, Geography Compass (Wiley); (2016-present) Associate Editor for Geoarchaeology, Hydrology, and Geomorphology, Arabian Journal of Geosciences (Springer, Germany); and (2016-present) Guest Editor, Special issue on Physical Geography, Anthropocene (Elsevier). Boards: Binghamton Geomorphology Symposium Steering Committee; National Geographic Society Committee for Research and Exploration; and Shanghai Archaeology Forum Advisory Committee.

Awards and Honors: AAG Honors: awarded, (along with Dr. Tim Beach), the 2010 AAG G.K. Gilbert Outstanding Research Award in Geomorphology for their 2009 AAG Annals article. Other honors beyond AAG: 2018 Distinguished Alumni, College of Behavioral and Social Sciences, California State University at Chico; Fellow of the C.B. Smith Centennial Chair in U.S.-Mexico Relations at the University of Texas (2014-present); the 2013 GMU College of Science Outstanding Publication Award (for 2012 PNAS article); Sigma Xi in 2013; and the 2013 Evelyn L. Pruitt Annual Lecturer at Louisiana State University’s Department of Geography and Anthropology. Twice honored with the University of Minnesota’s Ralph Hall Brown Outstanding Graduate Student Publication Award (1987, 1989).

Research and Teaching: Research Specialties: physical geography, hydrology and geomorphology, water chemistry, geoarchaeology, spatial statistics, gender and geoscience, and science and human rights, with field research in Mesoamerica, California, the Mediterranean and Near East, and Iceland. Funding: National Science Foundation, National Geographic Society, and National Aeronautics and Space Administration, resulting in more than 60 peer reviewed book chapters and articles, including such journals as the Annals of the AAG, Professional Geographer, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Geomorphology, Antiquity, Catena, and Geographical Review, among others. Course Taught: Physical Geography, Human Geography, Spatial Analysis, Water Resources, Environmental Hydrology, Geoarchaeology, History of Earth Systems Science, Geographic Thought and Methodology, Climate and Weather, Dynamic Atmosphere and Hydrosphere, Latin America, American-Canadian Landscapes, Freshman Writing Practice, Writing in the Quantitative Social Sciences, Senior Seminar in Geography. Advised or co-advised seven completed Ph.D. dissertations at UT and GMU, and committee member on 21 completed Ph.D. dissertations at UT and GMU. Director (2014-present), Environmental Hydrology and Water Quality Lab, Geography, University of Texas at Austin.

Public Engagement, Curricular, and Synergistic Activities:

  • As Associate Provost at George Mason University, Dr. Luzzadder-Beach led creating and implementing the new core University General Education curriculum.
  • One of the principle creators of the interdisciplinary M.S. in Earth Systems Science and Ph.D. in Earth Systems and GeoInformation Sciences at GMU.
  • Instrumental, with Geography colleagues, in launching and locating the B.A. in Sustainability Studies in the Department of Geography and the Environment at UT Austin in 2016.
  • In the area of broadening underrepresented groups in the sciences, Dr. Luzzadder-Beach has engaged in research and published on Gender and Science; co-organized the 2002, 2004, 2006, 2009 and 2011 Sally Ride National Capital Science Festivals for Girls at GMU; and led a NASA pilot project as PI focusing on middle school earth science education resources for teachers of underrepresented students in DC and NYC.
  • As co-chair of the AAAS Education and Resources Working Group for Science and Human Rights, and representing the AAG to the AAAS-SHR group on the Steering and Executive Committees, Dr. Luzzadder-Beach created a college level teaching module on Science and Human Rights, and maintains the AAAS Bibliography on Human Rights Project.
  • Led and engaged with interdisciplinary teams doing sponsored field research activities in Hydrology and Geoarchaeology in California, Belize, Guatemala, Italy, Mexico, Turkey, Syria, and Iceland. 

Statement: It is humbling to be nominated to a national leadership position in my beloved field, Geography. Thank you to the nominators and the nominating committee. I am writing this statement having just returned from an international forum and field trip on Water, Society, and Civilization in Shanghai and Hangzhou China. These collaborative, international scholarly exchanges and field explorations are part of the joy of Geography that we all share, and reminders that we also share a great responsibility to the future condition of our planet, working alongside of our international colleagues. I have held a number of leadership positions in the academy both past and present and I am grateful to my mentors and their legacies, and to my students for their promise for the future. In the position of AAG President I invite you all to join me to focus on how Geography can lead problem-solving for the planet’s most difficult challenges in environmental security and human rights. This starts with focusing on preparing our students for the workforce of the 21st century, to be in place as educators, scientists, and advisors in all professional sectors to meet these challenges both at home and on the international stage. Our most pressing global problems are best solved by the range of talent Geography has to offer. These challenges include climate change, water pollution and scarcity, soil erosion, habitat loss, human health, food security, and human rights. I grew up in California, where I was fascinated by river floods and their effects on human and physical landscapes of the Central Valley, and observed the ravages of drought as California’s other extreme. From those experiences grew my main expertise, Water Resources, a field that requires input from human and physical geographers and geospatial scientists to solve complex physical, economic, and social geographical problems. Environmental problem solving, in turn, requires geographers to communicate effectively with policymakers. What distinguishes Geography therefore is its ability to see problems in a spatial light at multiple scales, and to address complex, interdisciplinary issues with our growing STEAM toolkit from qualitative methods to big data analysis. As President of the AAG I will challenge Geographers to mainstream human rights in their research, most specifically building upon the work of the AAG in the Coalition on Science and Human Rights, to work towards improving environmental security, the human right to benefit from science, and the right for scientists to practice and communicate their results. We are called to not only do quality research and educate the next generation with engaging, intellectually rigorous geographical work, but to also make broader impacts to science, society and the environment. It is also my mission to not only do rigorous research in my own specialties, but to empower those who are underrepresented in the sciences, from my activities as a member of the Women and Gender Studies program at GMU, to my work as a local organizer of the Sally Ride Science Festivals for Girls in the National Capital region, to Project GEOSTART at AAG, to my current leadership role as the first woman to chair the Department of Geography and the Environment at the University of Texas at Austin in the Department’s 68 year history. All of these activities are intended to inspire the next generation of diverse students to study, join, and enrich Geography and its contributions. I expect Geographers to continue to break barriers and cover new intellectual ground as we journey together into the future.