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Science Diplomacy and Inclusion Leaders Join AAAS Staff

Travis York speaking at a Hope Center for College, Community and Justice meeting prior to joining AAAS. | Courtesy of Travis York

The American Association for the Advancement of Science has hired two new program directors to lead its ongoing work promoting international scientific relationships and diversity, equity and inclusion in higher education and the wider STEM community.

Kimberly Montgomery, a science policy expert with more than a decade of experience on Capitol Hill and at international organizations, will serve as AAAS’s director of international affairs and the Center for Science Diplomacy. Travis York will apply his background in higher education administration and policy as the association’s director of Inclusive STEM Ecosystems for Equity and Diversity. Both began their roles in the AAAS Office of Science, Policy and Society Programs on Feb. 16.

“I am thrilled that Drs. Montgomery and York are joining AAAS at such a vital time for each of their portfolios,” said AAAS Chief Program Officer Julia MacKenzie. “Dr. Montgomery is bringing years of experience as a scientist, policymaker and science diplomat. Her insights at the intersection of science and international affairs will allow AAAS to contribute to a productive international science landscape during politically and socially turbulent times.”

“Dr. York’s deep expertise in higher education, his collaborative spirit, and eye toward transformational institutional change will help increase the impact of our programs,” MacKenzie added. “This is definitely the time to redouble our efforts to raise diversity, equity and inclusion in STEM.”


Kimberly Montgomery and Travis York began their roles in the AAAS Office of Science, Policy and Society Programs on Feb. 16. | Courtesy of pictured

Montgomery earned a Ph.D. in psychology and neuroscience from Princeton University in 2007. After spending two years as a postdoctoral researcher at Columbia University, she stepped into U.S. science policy as a AAAS science and technology policy fellow at the National Science Foundation. She later took on roles in the office of New Jersey Congressman Rush Holt, who would go on to serve as CEO of AAAS, and the U.S. House Committee on Science, Space and Technology.

In 2016, Montgomery moved to Vienna, Austria, to work for the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA), where she managed relationships with international members, advised the director general and developed an external relations strategic plan. From 2019 to 2020, she stayed in Vienna as a scientific consultant in the International Atomic Energy Agency’s nuclear security division, writing a technical report highlighting the role of nuclear forensics in the context of nuclear security for the agency’s member states.

Directly prior to her role with AAAS, Montgomery returned to Washington to serve as a senior program officer at the Nuclear Threat Initiative. There, she coordinated the Third Cyber-Nuclear Forum, a meeting designed to strengthen the protection of civilian nuclear facilities from cyberattacks in the U.S. and around the world.

“I am thrilled to join AAAS,” Montgomery said. “I am eager to manage the organization’s international relationships and direct the AAAS Center for Science Diplomacy, which provides thought leadership in science diplomacy, trains future science diplomats and demonstrates how science can build bridges between nations even if diplomatic ties are strained or nonexistent.”

After earning a Ph.D. in higher education administration from Pennsylvania State University in 2013, York began his career by serving in various professorial and administrative roles at Penn State, Geneva College and Valdosta State University. In 2016, he joined the Association of Public & Land-grant Universities in Washington, D.C., as director of student success, research and policy.

In 2019, York became APLU’s assistant vice president for academic and student affairs, a position in which he co-authored a report on strengthening pathways to STEM faculty careers for underrepresented groups. Over his career, he has also produced educational research through grants from numerous federal and private entities, such as the U.S. Department of Education and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, publishing papers on gender diversity in engineering programs, institutional practice around financial aid completion grants, and service-learning experiences for low-income, first-generation college students.

In addition to his role at APLU, York served from 2018 to 2020 on the analytics advisory board of SEA Change, a AAAS program that supports colleges and universities as they work to increase diversity, equity and inclusion on their campuses.

“Dr. York is a great addition to the AAAS program team,” said SEA Change Director Shirley Malcom. “He already knows many of our initiatives and has worked extensively with SEA Change. His scholarly interests in institutional change are also well aligned, as is his deep commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion in STEM.”

“Advancing science and serving society – AAAS’s mission – is right in line with the work that I have been engaged in throughout my career,” York said. “I could not be more excited to lead an incredibly talented team at AAAS as we partner with our institutional leaders, other professional societies, funders and, most importantly, AAAS members to build a better tomorrow through a richly diverse, global and culturally responsive STEM ecosystem.”