J. Marshall Shepherd, a professor of geography and research meteorologist, has been appointed the inaugural Athletic Association Professor in the Social Sciences by the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia.
Director of UGA’s Atmospheric Sciences Program and a faculty member in the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences, Shepherd joined the university in 2006 after 12 years as a research meteorologist in the Earth-Sun Exploration Division at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. At UGA, he conducts research on weather and climate systems using advanced satellites, experimental aircraft, radars and computer models. The research seeks to understand atmospheric and weather processes such as thunderstorms, hurricanes and rainfall and relate them to current weather and climate change.
Shepherd was elected president of the American Meteorological Society in 2012.
“I am very grateful to the UGA Athletic Association and honored to be selected for this professorship,” Shepherd said. “The resources from the professorship will support a synergistic study of how urban landscapes and pollution modify temperature, rainfall, storms and flooding.
“The honor further solidifies UGA as a leader in urban weather-climate research and will enable new perspectives on how atmospheric sciences affect policy, economics, health, urban planning, disaster response, water supply planning and agriculture,” he also said.
Although Shepherd is more of a physical scientist, the geography department blends social, physical and geographic information system science expertise to explore connections between the natural systems and human dimensions.
“UGA is rapidly becoming a leading institution for atmospheric sciences as manifested by significant research funding, high-profile media appearances and publications, recent membership in the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research, and Dr. Shepherd’s work is a key part of these developments,” said Franklin College Dean Alan T. Dorsey. “I thank our partners in the Athletic Association for providing the support for our academic and research missions, especially in the crucial arena of the social sciences.”