Commitment to Human Diversity in Ecology Award

The “Commitment to Human Diversity in Ecology” Award (formerly the Diversity Award) is awarded in recognition of long-standing contributions of an individual towards increasing the diversity of future ecologists through mentoring, teaching, or outreach.  Beginning in 2013, the award will be presented at the Awards Ceremony during the opening scientific plenary of the ESA Annual Meeting, as well as celebrated at the Diversity Luncheon during the meeting.

Award Criteria

Dr. Sonia Ortega is presented with the inaugural 2013 Human Diversity in Ecology Award by Julie Reynold, Scott Collins and Alan Hastings.

Dr. Sonia Ortega is presented with the inaugural Commitment to Human Diversity in Ecology Award by Julie Reynold, Scott Collins and Alan Hastings at the 2013 ESA Annual Meeting in Minneapolis, MN.

The award recognizes outstanding contributions in one or more of the following areas:

  • Demonstrated commitment to increasing the diversity of ecology students, professionals, and/or leaders. 
  • Leadership or in the development of diversity-fostering or sustaining programs such as leadership training, research training programs, educational initiatives, travel awards, adult education, distance learning and virtual laboratories, or the development of ecology programs at nature centers, field stations, other non-formal education centers, and education programs for the general public.
  • Demonstrated commitment to mentoring new young ecologists at the undergraduate and graduate level, particularly those who are from underrepresented or marginalized groups.
  • Leading by example by overcoming barriers to research, education, or careers in ecology.

Commitment to Human Diversity in Ecology Award Winners

2013 – Dr. Sonia Ortega, National Science Foundation

Education and Human Resource Committee Diversity Award Winners

2012 – Carmen Cid, Eastern Connecticut State University

2011 – Ivette Perfecto, University of Michigan

2010 – Lawren Sack, University of California, Los Angeles

Return to Education & Diversity ESA Community Page

Award Winner Descriptions

Dr. Ortega is a leader in the development of diversity enhancing programs within ESA while broadening the base of supporters for improving diversity of scientists in all STEM fields. Her liaison work to other professional societies, her talks and guidance for a broad range of scientific conference events, and her promotion of diversity in her work at the National Science Foundation are clear examples of the impact she has had for decades in improving diversity of STEM membership and of ecologists.

In 2008, the Society for the Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science honored her with the Mentor Award for her 20 years of work leading the development and enhancement of the SACNAS mentoring programs. She currently directs NSF programs that fund educational outreach to minorities in science and has led the way in explaining and upholding the importance of demonstrating the “broader impacts” aspect of NSF grants and in providing a diverse panel of scientists to review grant proposals. Her work has enhanced the diversity of students, teachers, and mentors impacted by those programs, and also led to greater recognition of the importance of human diversity in studying the natural sciences.

For more information about the 2013 Pledge Challenge by Dr. Sonia Ortega, read here

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