AAAS Leadership

Led in 2015 by Chair Gerald R. Fink, CEO Rush D. Holt, and the board of directors,
AAAS fulfilled its mission to advance science and serve society through a variety of programs and initiatives.

Welcome Letter

Portrait of Phillip A. Sharp

Gerald R. Fink
AAAS Chair (2015-2016)
Margaret and Herman Sokol Professor of Genetics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology / Whitehead Institute

Portrait of Rush D. Holt

Rush D. Holt
AAAS CEO and Executive Publisher of the Science Family of Journals

Through microscopes and telescopes, new scientific and engineering insights allow us to see worlds we never knew existed, and drive innovation to improve people’s lives. The blurry microscopes of the 1920s gave way to a revolution in imaging that vividly revealed 46 human chromosomes, making it possible to identify the cause of genetic conditions such as Down’s syndrome. The sequencing of the human genome, coupled with the power of computer-generated pattern recognition, uncovered the genetic flaws that cause diverse childhood leukemias, many of which are now treatable.

AAAS and the Science family of journals are working to further such scientific progress by advocating for the research enterprise, and by bringing scientists and engineers together worldwide to address urgent societal concerns. As part of an ambitious Transformation Initiative, AAAS in 2015 began focusing more intensively on advocacy and service to members. We spoke out against barriers to women in science, for example, and we helped scientists and engineers more effectively communicate key scientific findings. We also worked to improve science education, and we engaged directly with the public, through such events as Family Science Days. AAAS has transformed its journals, too, by adopting digital-first strategies to enhance scientific communication. Trellis, a new digital communication and collaboration platform, is being developed to make it easy for individuals, collaborations, and organizations to work together and share scientific information.


AAAS exerts a unique influence by informing the public and our representatives about the importance of science to our nation and the world. As part of those efforts, the association advocates for science diplomacy and international research collaboration while promoting inclusiveness and diversity in science. In 2015, for instance, the association administered travel awards for women scientists participating in an international Gender Summit, through a National Science Foundation (NSF) program, Mentoring Women in International Research Collaborations (MWIRC) in STEM. Also in 2015, AAAS built upon its historic 2014 agreement with the Cuban Academy of Sciences. Collaboration across three fields of neuroscience, supported by the Lounsbery Foundation and others, will result in a scientist-exchange program between the two countries (see International section).

To further encourage inclusiveness and reward innovation globally, AAAS in 2015 launched the Marion Milligan Mason Awards, honoring early-career women in the chemical sciences (see Giving section), and it again administered the Global Innovation through Science and Technology (GIST) competition, a U.S. State Department effort to encourage young entrepreneurs (see International section). AAAS provided essential recognition for talented journalists who communicate scientific advances and issues to the public, too: For the first time since 1945, the historic AAAS Kavli Science Journalism Awards program (see Awards and Public Engagement sections) expanded to accept international entries, thanks to a generous doubling by The Kavli Foundation of the program’s endowment. The AAAS Mass Media Science and Engineering Fellows program, dating to 1974, also continued to promote excellence in science journalism, by dispatching science and engineering scholars to newsrooms (see Education, Outreach, and Careers section).

Communicating the scientific reality of global climate change was the focus of a policy briefing on Capitol Hill and a related AAAS symposium, hosted by the Carnegie Institution for Science. “Climate Science, 50 Years Later,” supported by the American Meteorological Society and the Linden Trust for Conservation, commemorated the 50th anniversary of the first official climate-change warning to a U.S. President and reaffirmed the 2014 AAAS What We Know report. The symposium also marked the launch of the Alan I. Leshner Leadership Institute, which announced the first cohort of 15 fellows—all climate scientists with an interest in promoting science-society dialogue. The Leshner Leadership Fellows will be supported by the AAAS Center for Public Engagement with Science and Technology, and the association’s popular Communicating Science workshops, which have provided training for more than 6,700 scientists and engineers since 2008 (see Public Engagement section).

AAAS advocacy work in 2015 included strong opposition to ideological attacks on climate-change scientists and their findings, a call for research to better understand the root causes of gun violence, media interviews on the value of federal investments in science, and more (see Public Statements section). Our advocacy efforts were bolstered by programs that help to bring scientific insight to the policymaking process. These included the association’s well-respected analysis of U.S. research and development funding trends (see Government Relations section), and the AAAS Science & Technology Policy Fellowships, which in 2015 sent 280 scientists and engineers to work with Congress and many executive-branch agencies or departments as well as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (see Science, Policy, and Society section). To prepare the next-generation of civic-minded innovators, AAAS also supported a wide range of capacity-building programs, from efforts to improve K-12 science curriculum, to the NSF’s Emerging Researchers National Conference in STEM (see Science Education section).

In 2015, scientific reports published by the growing Science family of journals—including Science Translational Medicine, Science Signaling, the open-access journal Science Advances, and coming soon, Science Robotics and Science Immunology—described a promising new melanoma vaccine trial, an enhanced lithium-air battery design, genetic tools to combat elephant poaching, a new hominin mandible that raised fascinating questions about human evolution, and much more. (Incidentally, a 2015 Science Advances study on the sixth mass extinction made its way into the top 5% of all research outputs ever tracked on, a metrics reporting site for scholarly content.) Every member of AAAS plays an integral role in accelerating such advances, by supporting the association’s nonprofit programs, advocacy work, and scientific communication. AAAS members and donors allow us to serve as a voice and force for science worldwide, helping us to advance science in service to society.

Gerald R. Fink and Rush D. Holt

Board of Directors 2015

Gerald R. Fink
Whitehead Institute/MIT

Geraldine Richmond
University of Oregon

Barbara A. Schaal
Washington University in St. Louis

David Evans Shaw
Black Point Group

Chief Executive Officer
Rush D. Holt (2015)

Bonnie L. Bassler
Princeton University

May R. Berenbaum
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Carlos J. Bustamente
University of California, Berkeley

Stephen P.A. Fodor
Cellular Research, Inc.

Claire M. Fraser
University of Maryland School of Medicine

Michael S. Gazzaniga
University of California, Santa Barbara

Laura H. Greene
National High Magnetic Field Laboratory/Florida State University

Elizabeth Loftus
University of California, Irvine

Mercedes Pascual
University of Chicago

AAAS Management

Chief Executive Officer and Executive Publisher
Rush D. Holt

Chief Operating Officer
Celeste Rohlfing

Center for Science, Policy, and Society Programs
Edward Derrick, Chief Program Director

Digital Media
Rob Covey, Chief Digital Media Officer

Education and Human Resources Programs
Shirley M. Malcom, Director

Executive Office
Andrew Black, Chief of Staff
Beth Rosner, Senior Advisor

Colleen Struss, Chief Financial Officer/Chief Legal Officer

Government Relations
Joanne Carney, Director

Human Resources
Patricia Sias, Director

Information Technology
Michael Savelli, Chief Technology Officer

International and Security Affairs
Tom Wang, Chief International Officer and Director, AAAS Center for Science Diplomacy

Elise Swinehart, Director

Membership Development and Engagement
Beth Bush, Chief Membership Officer

New Business Innovations and Trellis
Josh Freeman, Senior Advisor and Founding General Manager, Trellis

Philanthropy and Strategic Partnerships
Juli Staiano, Chief Philanthropy Officer

Public Programs
Ginger Pinholster, Chief Communications Officer

Bill Moran, Interim Publisher

Project 2061
Jo Ellen Roseman, Director

Science Editorial
Marcia McNutt, Editor-in-Chief
Monica Bradford, Executive Editor

Science News
Tim Appenzeller, News Editor

Association Information

Association Headquarters
American Association for the Advancement of Science
1200 New York Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20005 USA
Tel: 202-326-6400

AAAS Annual Meeting
Dates: 16-20 February 2017
Location: Boston, Mass
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