ESA Wins Presidential Award for Excellence

As I’m sure you know by now the Ecological Society of America (ESA), largely due to the success of the SEEDS program, just won the 2006 Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Engineering and Mathematics Mentoring (PAESMEM). This is a great honor to the Society, as it is the highest award for science mentoring in the country. It’s been a long journey and a great many people, including the leadership and staff (particularly Katherine Hoffman and Melissa Armstrong) of ESA deserve a great round of applause.

A challenging aspect of an award like this is to ensure that the accomplishments of the grassroots participants are recognized. I firmly believe that it is through the everyday actions of ESA members and SEEDS students that make the program what it is today. You are the ones who work hard, who donate time, who overcome shyness, who push cultural barriers, who cry and laugh. Each and every participant of the SEEDS program over the past 10 years deserves to take a moment, sit back, reflect and revel in this wonderful acknowledgement of your efforts.

While we were receiving the award, I was asked what the ultimate outcome of success was in a mentoring program. I didn’t hesitate to say that it is when a participant takes what they have learned and gives a piece of it back to their community. For all of those who have participated in SEEDS over the past decade, this is the perfect time to seize what you learned and give back. What can you do, right now, to help mentor someone? Is it visiting a k-12 to act as a role model? Is it walking into your Deans office and asking for more mentoring support? Or is it just a random act of kindness to a colleague or peer. Whatever it is, wherever you are, you can do something! It was through everyday actions that this program became strong and it will be from each of you giving back that it will make a difference.

Another vehicle to share your wisdom is to respond to this blog posting with memorable mentoring experiences that you have had through the SEEDS program.

For those who have already passed through the program, be proud that you were part of creating something great; for those just starting, welcome to the family!

Contributed by Jason Taylor, Utah Society for Environmental Education (and former Education Director, Ecological Society of America)

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  1. Today, one of my random act of kindness is to express publicly my invaluable and immense gratitude specifically to the SEEDS Staff that continuously went the extra mile to nurture, mentor, and support me not only financially, professionally, and academically, but also personally with a unique SEEDS family feeling!

    Jason Taylor
    Melissa Armstrong
    Katherine Hoffman
    Jeramie Strickland

    Thank you so much for everything. Muchisimas gracias por todo!

    More to come in the upcoming issues of the SEEDS Dispersal!

  2. The mentoring in SEEDS never ends. Once you join the family the desire to give back simply becomes part of who you are. The first moment I joined SEEDS I knew it was something special since it is a program centered on building community. SEEDS introduced me to the field of ecology, the splendors of research, and to an endless array of career opportunities, but the greatest mentoring gift it gave me was invaluable friends. Whenever I am down or distraught I know I can always count on SEEDS students to give me advice or assistance. We are always there for each other either it be staying up all night critiquing ESA PowerPoint presentations or simply lending a hand in time of need. The family is reliable, supportive and undeniably fun. I am and will always be grateful to SEEDS, and the dedicated and passionate people who compose it.

    SEEDS staff (Jason Taylor, Katherine Hoffman, Melissa Armstrong, and Jeremy Strickland) you are awesome and thank you for all that you do!!!

    VIVA SEEDS!!!!

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