Van den Heever Receives 2016 Atmospheric Sciences Ascent Award

Susan C. van den Heever will receive the 2016 Atmospheric Sciences Ascent Award at the 2016 American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting, to be held 12–16 December in San Francisco, Calif. The award recognizes “research contributions by exceptional mid-career scientists in the fields of atmospheric and climate sciences.”

Citation for Susan C. van den Heever

For fundamental advances to our understanding of the influence of microphysical processes on atmospheric convection, and feedback processes

Susan has pioneered our understanding of the effects of aerosol on convection and firmly established herself as the recognized world’s foremost authority on aerosol-convection interactions, even at a relative early stage of her career. Her work and influence on aerosol-cloud interactions go beyond cloud scales, but extend to larger domains and climate relevant time scales such as radiative-convective equilibrium. Her meteoric rise in scientific stature is evident in her very impressive publication record, number of funded research grants, invited presentations, community service, and graduate students she has mentored, all within the last 10 years. Susan currently serves as member, chair or co-chair of no less than five national and international committees, working groups, and advisory panels. Among many awards she has received for her outstanding achievement in research, teaching, and mentoring, she was awarded the prestigious Monfort Professor Award in 2015, presented biennially to only 2 (out of 1400) professors at Colorado State University.As stated in one of her support letters, “She is a talented scientist, an outstanding educator, an inspiring mentor and role model, and a person of the highest integrity. Perhaps the most impressive trait of all is the quality of mentoring she provides to her graduate students—the hall-mark of someone who will influence and shape our science for years to come.”

On behalf of the AGU Atmospheric Sciences section, I am pleased to present a 2016 ASCENT Award to Prof. Susan van den Heever.

—William K. M. Lau, President, Atmospheric Sciences section, AGU


I am grateful to Dr. Bill Lau and the Atmospheric Sciences section awards committee for selecting me, as well as to those who nominated me. I feel very honored to have won this award.

I would like to thank my dissertation advisor Bill Cotton for imparting his knowledge of cloud systems, encouraging me to become an independent scientist, and for his strong support of my professional development. I am grateful to Graeme Stephens for his mentorship and significant contributions to my career, for teaching me to think big and then bigger still, for sharing his visions of the role of convection in climate, and for providing guidance on the “business” of science.

Sonia Kreidenweis is a trusted colleague and friend. She has provided great insights into aerosol processes and ice structures, and the ways that aerosols and storms regulate one another. Ed Zipser has inspired me through his questions about convection. His love of observations has kept me honest as a numerical modeler. I value Jeff Collett’s thoughtful responses and wisdom, and for supporting my professional development. Thank you to my colleagues at Colorado State University, as well as my other national and international colleagues from whom I have learned much. Special appreciation goes to Liz Page for her support. Finally, it has been my great honor to work with many remarkable students, postdocs, and research scientists who have provided daily inspiration.

I thank my parents, both caring educators, who instilled in me a love of the sciences. I also thank my children, Nikki and Matt, who constantly inspire me with their insightful questions and for their unconditional love. Finally, my greatest appreciation goes to my husband Steve, my lifelong mentor and ultimate supporter, who sees me at both my best and worst and loves me in spite of it.

—Susan C. van den Heever, Colorado State University, Fort Collins