UC Merced professor Asmeret Asefaw Berhe

Senate Confirms Dr. Asmeret Berhe as Director of the Office of Science

May 11, 2022: U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm issued the following statement on yesterday’s U.S. Senate confirmation of Dr. Asmeret Berhe with a bipartisan vote to serve as Director of the Office of Science at the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE):

“I am so grateful to the Senate for confirming Dr. Asmeret Berhe to serve as DOE’s Director of the Office of Science.Dr. Berhe has been ahead of the curve over her entire career as a biogeochemist, and we need her leadership in scientific collaboration and climate science now more than ever. In her role, she will be leading DOE’s efforts to strengthen America’s national security, competitiveness, and economy through deep investment in scientific research. I am very grateful for Dr. Berhe’s willingness to serve the American people and I’m so excited to welcome her into the DOE family.”

About Dr. Asmeret Berhe:

Asmeret Asefaw Berhe is a Professor of Soil Biogeochemistry; the Ted and Jan Falasco Chair in Earth Sciences and Geology; and Interim Associate Dean for Graduate Education at the University of California, Merced. Her research is at the intersection of soil science, global change science, and political ecology with an emphasis on how the soil system regulates the earth’s climate and the dynamic two-way relationship between the natural environment and human communities. She previously served as the Chair of the US National Committee on Soil Science at the National Academies; was a Leadership board member for the Earth Science Women’s Network; and is currently a co-principal investigator in the ADVANCEGeo Partnership – a National Science Foundation funded effort to empower (geo)scientists to respond to and prevent harassment, discrimination, bullying and other exclusionary behaviors in research environments. Her scholarship on how physical processes such as erosion, fire, and changes in climate affect the biogeochemical cycling of essential elements in the earth system and her efforts to ensure equity and inclusion of people from all walks of life in the scientific enterprise have received numerous awards and honors. She is a Fellow of the American Geophysical Union and the Geological Society of America, and a member of the inaugural class of the US National Academies New Voices in Science, Engineering, and Medicine.

Asmeret was born and raised in Asmara, Eritrea. She received a B.Sc. in Soil and Water Conservation from the University of Asmara, an M.Sc. in Political Ecology from Michigan State University, and a Ph.D. in Biogeochemistry from the University of California, Berkeley. In 2020 she was named a Great Immigrant, Great American by the Carnegie Corporation of New York.


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