Zombies, Sports, and Cola:
What Do They Mean For Communicating Weather and Climate?

The title of this talk may be a head-scratcher upon first look, but Dr. Marshall Shepherd will use his 25 years of experience as a NASA scientist, University Professor and Host of The Weather Channel's Weather Geeks talk show to weave together a coherent discussion of some of the most pressing topics facing the atmospheric sciences and broader community. The talk explores key grand challenges of communicating extreme weather events and climate change in an era of social media, policymaking, and denial. Using contemporary events, Dr. Shepherd not only lays out the challenges but offers solutions to move the discourse forward.





About Speaker Dr. Marshall Shepherd

Dr. J. Marshall Shepherd is a leading international expert in weather and climate and is the Georgia Athletic Association Distinguished Professor of Geography and Atmospheric Sciences at the University of Georgia. Dr. Shepherd was the 2013 President of American Meteorological Society (AMS), the nation’s largest and oldest professional/science society in the atmospheric and related sciences. Dr. Shepherd serves as Director of the University of Georgia’s (UGA) Atmospheric Sciences Program and Full Professor in the Department of Geography where he is Associate Department Head. Dr. Shepherd is also the host of The Weather Channel’s Award-Winning Sunday talk show Weather Geeks, a pioneering Sunday talk show on national television dedicated to science and a contributor to Forbes Magazine. In 2017, he was honored with the AMS Brooks Award, a high honor within the field of meteorology. Ted Turner and his Captain Planet Foundation honored Dr. Shepherd in 2014 with its Protector of the Earth Award. Prior recipients include Erin Brockovich and former EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson. He is also the 2015 Recipient of the Association of American Geographers (AAG) Media Achievement award, the Florida State University Grads Made Good Award and the UGA Franklin College of Arts and Sciences Sandy Beaver Award for Excellence in Teaching. In 2015, Dr. Shepherd was invited to moderate the White House Champions for Change event. He is an alumni of the prestigious SEC Academic Leadership Fellows program. Prior to UGA, Dr. Shepherd spent 12 years as a Research Meteorologist at NASA-Goddard Space Flight Center and was Deputy Project Scientist for the Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) mission, a multi-national space mission that launched in 2014. President Bush honored him on May 4th 2004 at the White House with the Presidential Early Career Award for pioneering scientific research in weather and climate science. Dr. Shepherd is a Fellow of the American Meteorological Society. Two national magazines, the AMS, and Florida State University have also recognized Dr. Shepherd for his significant contributions. Dr. Shepherd was the 2016 Spring Undergraduate Commencement speaker at his 3-time Alma Mater, Florida State University. He was also the 2017 Graduate Commencement speaker at the University of Georgia.

Dr. Shepherd is frequently sought as an expert on weather, climate, and remote sensing. He routinely appears on CBS Face The Nation, NOVA, The Today Show, CNN, Fox News, The Weather Channel and several others. His TedX Atlanta Talk on “Slaying Climate Zombies” is one of the most viewed climate lectures on YouTube. Dr. Shepherd is also frequently asked to advise key leaders at NASA, the White House, Congress, Department of Defense, and officials from foreign countries. In February 2013, Dr. Shepherd briefed the U.S. Senate on climate change and extreme weather. He has also written several editorials for CNN, Washington Post, Atlanta Journal Constitution, and numerous other outlets and has been featured in Time Magazine, Popular Mechanics, and NPR Science Friday. He has over 90 peer-reviewed scholarly publications. Dr. Shepherd has attracted $3 million dollars in extramural research support from NASA, National Science Foundation, Department of Energy, Defense Threat Reduction Agency, and U.S. Forest Service. Dr. Shepherd was also instrumental in leading the effort for UGA to become the 78th member of the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR), a significant milestone for UGA and establishing UGA’s Major in Atmospheric Sciences.

Dr. Shepherd currently chairs the NASA Earth Sciences Advisory Committee and was a past member of its Earth Science Subcommittee of the NASA Advisory Council. He was a member of the Board of Trustees for the Nature Conservancy (Georgia Chapter), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Science Advisory Board, Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed’s Hazard Preparedness Advisory Group United Nations World Meteorological Organization steering committee on aerosols and precipitation, 2007 Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) AR4 contributing author team, National Academies of Sciences (NAS) Panels on climate and national security, extreme weather attribution, and urban meteorology. Dr. Shepherd is a past editor for both the Journal of Applied Meteorology and Climatology and Geography Compass, respectively.

Dr. Shepherd received his B.S., M.S. and PhD in physical meteorology from Florida State University. He was the first African American to receive a PhD from the Florida State University Department of Meteorology, one of the nation’s oldest and respected. He is also the 2nd African American to preside over the American Meteorological Society. He is a member of the AMS, American Geophysical Union, Association of American Geographers (AAG), Sigma Xi Research Honorary, Chi Epsilon Pi Meteorology Honorary, and Omicron Delta Kappa National Honorary. He is also a member of the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. and serves on various National Boards associated with his alma mater. Dr. Shepherd co-authored a children’s book on weather and weather instruments called Dr. Fred’s Weather Watch. He is also the co-founder of the Alcova Elementary Weather Science Chat series that exposes K-5 students to world-class scientists. Dr. Shepherd is originally from Canton, Georgia. He is married to Ayana Shepherd and has two kids, Anderson and Arissa.