SSA Announces Candidates for Election to Board of Directors

SSA 2021 Election for the Board of Directors

What matters most to you as an SSA member? Where should we focus our attention? Do you see gaps of knowledge or support in our community?

I encourage you to ask yourself these questions as you prepare to participate in the 2021 Board of Directors election. This is your opportunity to select the individuals who will steer the Society’s course for the next three years. Voting in this election is an important responsibility shared by every member of our community.

The Board of Directors serves as the governing body for SSA. Its members set broad policy and direction for the organization. They ensure that the Society meets your evolving needs and also keeps pace with rapid changes in technology, publishing and government policy.

Good governance by the Board ensures that all members’ voices are heard.

I have watched good governance carry your ideas across the finish line, including The Seismic Record, a new online-only, open-access journal, which fills a gap in scientific communication; a new program of fall conferences designed to explore more subdisciplines within seismology; and an expanding list of career development opportunities, including webinars that support diversity and inclusion in the workplace.

The Board of Directors helps SSA accomplish its mission—one that I know you support–advancing earthquake science. But we can’t do it without your input.

So please vote in the upcoming election and don’t hesitate to contact me to share your thoughts about our community!

Best regards,

Nan Broadbent
Executive Director

SSA members are invited to vote for members of the Board of Directors in the 2021 election. Candidate statements are presented below, in alphabetical order by candidate last name.

The election is open for voting until 5 p.m. PST Friday 8 January 2021. SSA strongly urges members to participate in the Society’s future by casting ballots. For assistance, contact or phone 510‐525‐5474.

For a full list of the current Board of Directors, visit this page.  The date next to the name indicates the end of their current term.

Candidate Statements (in alpha order):

Karen Fischer

Karen M. Fischer: Professor, Brown University

Principal fields: seismology applied to mantle and crustal structure and dynamics

Progress in seismology relies on an engaged and inclusive international community, shared data and instrumentation, advances in theory, and a vigorous exchange of ideas among scientists, engineers and policy makers. SSA plays a pivotal role in enabling this progress through its meetings and publications, and maintaining their excellence is a top priority for the SSA Board. While we all hope that travel restrictions due to COVID-19 will be short-lived, for now we need to be creative in developing virtual and hybrid virtual/in-person formats that enable our community to continue sharing and discussing our research and its applications. Access to effective meetings and their networking opportunities is particularly important for early career scientists. Another challenge is to make virtual meetings tractable for people working from home, particularly in households with children. Working with the new Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Task Force, the SSA Board has a key role in analyzing and improving equity and inclusion in SSA meetings, publications, honors, governance and advocacy activities. Much work remains to be done to make our exciting field a welcoming and supportive environment for everyone, across the diversity of society as a whole. A critical need exists for actions that address career barriers experienced by students and colleagues from ethnic and racial groups underrepresented in STEM. I am honored to be considered for the SSA Board and would look forward to contributing to SSA’s work and the field of seismology.


Zhigang PengZhigang Peng: Professor of Geophysics, Georgia Institute of Technology

Principal fields: earthquake detection/triggering, intraplate and induced earthquakes, deep and slow earthquakes, machine learning, education and outreach

I am honored to be nominated to serve on the SSA Board of Directors. SSA has continuously played an integral part of my professional career, beginning from my student life more than 20 years ago, to recently as the chair of SSA’s Meetings committee. SSA is an internationally recognized community focused on advancing seismology and earthquake sciences for the benefit of society. Its strength lies in its attractive annual meetings and workshops, prestigious peer-review journals, and its government relations and global representations. The challenges that the SSA community is currently facing include peer-reviewed publications impacted by competing open access journals, international collaborations affected by geopolitical tensions, and traditional communication outpaced by near-instantaneous social media. If elected, I would like to contribute to further strengthening the reputations and impacts of two existing SSA journals (BSSA and SRL), as well as nurturing the growth of the newly created open-access journal (The Seismic Record), which publishes short-format articles. I would continue to help SSA to connect with seismological societies in other regions, and ensure that our annual meetings and topical workshops attract a diverse range of disciplines and international participants. Finally, I hope to work with others to better communicate intriguing science results directed towards the public, industries and policy makers, and make SSA a more diverse and inclusive society.


Xyoli Pérez-Campos: Professor and Head of the National Seismological Service Institute of Geophysics, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México

Principal fields: earthquake source, structural seismology, seismic networks

I have been part of the Board of Directors for the last couple of years. I have witnessed and participated in new projects and tough decisions, as well as being part of the Seismological Society of America efforts and commitment to keep engaged its community during these difficult times. I am honored to be nominated for the Board of Directors of the SSA once more. My SSA membership began during my graduate studies with the main interest in learning about state-of-the-art science. Now I appreciate that SSA seeks to offer its community a safe space to share more than science. Therefore, if elected once more, I will continue my focus on engaging the next generation and the international community, particularly from Latin America, where more human resources and synergies are needed. I will also focus and support initiatives on inclusion that improve that safe space for sharing.


Carl Tape

Carl Tape: Associate Professor, University of Alaska Fairbanks

Principal fields: computational seismology, observational seismology, active tectonics

The roots of an organization may bear little resemblance to its current state or future direction. SSA arose from the 1906 San Francisco earthquake, during a time when earthquake observations were compiled from volunteer weather observers who were primarily interested in recording rainfall for crops. This practical side of societal relevance has always been a hallmark of SSA, which regularly features conference sessions and papers on topics such as seismic hazards or global nuclear monitoring. Seismology is now within an era of high-performance computing and massive data sets. When properly harnessed, these two can advance seismology within both academic and societal realms. If elected to SSA Board, I would pursue the general theme of sustainability of SSA. This begins by attracting and sustaining members by making seismology accessible (e.g., online training and workshops), affordable,  exciting, reproducible and relevant. I will work to understand SSA’s optimal role in these efforts, especially in consideration of partners such as IRIS, CIG, SCEC and EERI.


Dennise TempletonDennise Templeton: Research Scientist, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

Principal fields: observational earthquake seismology, microseismicity, induced seismicity

I am honored and excited to be considered to serve on the Board of Directors of the Seismological Society of America. I have been a member of the SSA since I was a graduate student and I have enjoyed the various opportunities, education, collaboration and inspiration that are integral with membership. I have seen first-hand how the SSA can help further both individual professional growth and growth within our discipline, all while fostering a greater sense of community between those of us who are dedicated to the science of seismology. If elected, I would like to help further our commitment to incorporate diverse perspectives into our Society. I would like to promote and enhance our strategies for growing our membership to include a broader range of backgrounds and personal experiences. I look forward to working constructively with and implementing recommendations from the newly formed Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Task Force within the SSA. I feel that my previous experience working on the Board of Directors of the Association for Women Geoscientists can aid me in helping to promote strategies for growing our membership and meeting the needs of our current membership. I appreciate that I am being considered for this opportunity and would be honored to be elected to the Board of Directors to further the work of the SSA.


Elizabeth Vanacore: Associate Research Professor, University of Puerto Rico, Mayagüez

Principal fields: structural seismology, observational seismology, seismic and tsunami hazard, real-time seismic networks

I am honored to be considered to serve on the Board of Directors of the Seismological Society of America. The SSA has always been a vibrant community that both highlights and promotes the cutting edge of earthquake science and advocates for science policy and science communication. Critical to the success of this goal is the diversity of experiences and expertise of its members on an international scale. While earthquake science is global, it is critical to recall that earthquakes and their related hazards will always impact communities on a local level. Bearing witness and experiencing the impact of the recent earthquakes of the 2020 Southwestern Puerto Rico Seismic Sequence on my community and neighbors has highlighted the great importance of not only performing scientific research but also making that research available and accessible to the communities it is supposed to benefit. If elected, it would be my goal to help strengthen the bridge between the SSA community’s scientific expertise to the communities vulnerable to earthquakes, with the ultimate goal of empowering those communities to become better prepared for future earthquakes. A strong bridge between scientists and communities vulnerable to earthquakes may also serve as a route to inspire and promote geosciences and seismology to future generations of scientists. The SSA is uniquely positioned as a respected source of scientific expertise and as an incubator for future earthquake scientists to create such a bridge by fostering international collaborations, nurturing early career scientists and students, and acting as an authoritative voice in earthquake science and hazard.  The SSA plays a vital role in promoting earthquake resiliency as well as supporting future generations seismologists to which I would hope to contribute as a member of the Board of Directors.