My name is Lisa Collins, and I am the current President of the Board of the Southern California Academy of Sciences. I am a Professor of Geology at Santa Monica College and a biogeochemical oceanographer by training. I joined the SCAS Board in 2013 and have enjoyed serving since then. I have worked on many of the Annual Meeting committees, presented at SCAS, sent students to SCAS, and have had the privilege of serving as Vice-President over the last four years.

We are grateful for your support during this unprecedented year of pandemic and politics. I am especially thankful for the members who reached out this past summer, urging the Board to take a stand and make a statement on the murder of George Floyd (and Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Tamir Rice, Philando Castile, Michael Brown, Trayvon Martin and so many others). As a result of our statement affirming that Black Lives Matter, SCAS has shifted to center our work on promoting the voices of minoritized scientists. We will not always get it right, but we are committed to learning, and we welcome your input and your help. If you are interested in joining our newly formed Committee to Promote Equity and Diversity in the Sciences, please reach out to me.

Over the next two years, the Board and I plan to update our By-Laws to reflect the changes that have happened since 2008 when they were last modified. We plan to hold our first virtual Annual Meeting May 7, 2021 (mark your calendars!), and we have started holding SCAS Spotlights where we highlight the research of our Board members. We are also working to establish a scholarship for minoritized students in the sciences.

In 2020, SCAS canceled the Annual Meeting to keep members safer at home. In spite of the monumental challenges of COVID-19, our Research Training Program high school students were able to complete their projects and SCAS held its first ever virtual poster session thanks to RTP co-chairs Dr. Kimo Morris and Ms. Gloria Takahashi. A new cohort of RTP students is currently working on virtual projects; they will join us for our virtual Annual Meeting May 7, 2021.

Last fall, the SCAS Board decided to move the Bulletin to be hosted online by Allen Press. Look for the new link and new online format starting January 2021. The SCAS Bulletin is always looking for papers, and members do not pay page charges. If you have a great manuscript highlighting science in Southern California, reports of your research activities, or other science of interest to our membership, please submit it.

A big thanks to our outgoing President, Dr. David Ginsburg. Under his strong and steady leadership, we saw our Annual Meeting format change to a single day, we saw our RTP students brought into the poster session with the rest of the Academy, and we had new Board members recruited to the Academy.

If you are interested in getting more involved with SCAS, we welcome you to please get in touch.

Take care,
Lisa E. Collins, President