The Global Change Center at Virginia Tech is delighted to announce that their Distinguished Public Lecture Series will return this fall on October 3rd, featuring Dr. Asmeret Asefaw Berhe. Dr. Berhe, a prominent soil biogeochemist and the Director of the Office of Science for the U.S. Department of Energy, will present her public lecture titled "From the Ground Up: A Soil Scientist Goes to Washington, D.C." at the Moss Arts Center.

Hailing from early life and education in East Africa (Eritrea), Asmeret Asefaw Berhe's journey has taken her to the forefront of soil science and science policy. Dr. Berhe's research covers a spectrum of perspectives, from studying the disruption of soils due to landmines in conflict zones to investigating the repercussions of environmental changes like fires, erosion, and drought on soil processes. Dr. Berhe is currently on leave from the University of California, Merced where she holds the Ted and Jan Falasco Chair in Earth Sciences and Geology; is a Professor of Soil Biogeochemistry; and previously served as Associate Dean for Graduate Education. Her research focus lies 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. Dr. Berhe is a member of the National Academy of Engineering, a Fellow of both the American Geophysical Union and the Geological Society of America, and a member of the inaugural class of the U.S. National Academies’ New Voices in Science, Engineering, and Medicine.

The lecture will trace Dr. Berhe's career trajectory, spanning from her foundational research in earth science as a soil biogeochemist to her present role as the Director of the Department of Energy’s Office of Science, where she leads the nation's largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences. Infusing the perspective of an earth system scientist into the realm of science policy, Dr. Berhe's presentation will delve into how the Office of Science works to drive the frontiers of science across disciplines; enable solutions to some of the grand challenges of our time; and expand participation of folx from all walks of life in science.


  • Date: Tuesday, October 3, 2023
  • Time: 5:00 PM, Doors open at 4:30 PM
  • Location: The Moss Arts Center, Fife Theater
  • Free and open to the public. 


Campus parking is available in the North End Parking Garage on Turner Street. Virginia Tech faculty and staff possessing a valid Virginia Tech parking permit can enter and exit the garage free of charge. Visitors may park in the garage by taking a ticket at entry and paying with Visa or Mastercard upon exit. Virginia Tech has also partnered with ParkMobile to provide a convenient, contactless electronic payment option for parking, which may be used at any parking meter, campus parking space, or lot with standard F/S, C/G, or R parking.

Parking in downtown Blacksburg is free after 5:00 PM. Before 5:00 PM, payment for on-street parking is available via meter or pay station and is $1/hour. 


If you have any questions about the services at the Moss Arts Center or desire an accommodation, please contact us by email at or call 540-231-5300 at least 10 business days prior to an event. Learn more about accessibility at the Moss Arts Center


The Distinguished Public Lecture Series

The Global Change Center's Distinguished Public Lecture series, initiated in 2015, is a cornerstone of our mission to foster awareness about imminent global challenges, such as climate change. This platform brings together leading thinkers from across the globe to engage with the Blacksburg community in open discussions surrounding pivotal environmental and societal challenges. By promoting an open exchange of ideas, this series underscores our commitment to elevating collective awareness of issues that threaten our environment and societal well being.