The Ecological Society of America's SEEDS program promotes opportunities to diversify and advance the profession of ecology.
To learn more about SEEDS, visit www.esa.org/seeds/
In this issue:
Upcoming Opportunities & Deadlines
January 27, 2006: Campus Ecology Chapter Special Project Grant Proposal
If you're a member of a Chapter in good standing, the next Special Project Grant proposal deadline is January 27, 2006. For more information and applications, please visit www.esa.org/seeds/activities/CampusEcologyChapters/SpecialProjectGrants.php
If you're interested in starting a Chapter, please visit www.esa.org/seeds/activities/CampusEcologyChapters.php
“A SEEDS Success” by SEEDS Alumnus, Felixcia Mendoza-Jones
I am from the Maryland/DC area and my exposure to ecology started from the first grade before I even knew it. I attended an elementary school in Washington, D.C. that required each class, K-8, to take part in camping trips in the Shenandoah Valley, Virginia. It was in these beautiful mountains that I began to fall in love with being outside and observing nature.
While growing up, I often visited the country where my parents are from, Trinidad and Tobago. There, my fascination for nature expanded from the mountains of the Shenandoah to the beaches and tropical forests of Trinidad and Tobago.
As I continued to encounter these places over the years, I never realized that I was learning about ecology until I took an ecology course my junior year of college. I was introduced to the concept of ecology, the different fields of ecology, and the number of career opportunities ecology offered. With that, I dropped pre-medicine as my concentration and transferred to ecology as my major and as my passion. In 2005 I completed my undergraduate studies from Howard University, receiving a Bachelor of Science in Biology.
Initially I was not sure if I wanted to go straight to graduate school, join the Peace Corps, or become a field/lab technician for a year. While finishing up my last semester, I decided that I would apply to at least one school that I really wanted to attend. With encouragement from my advisor, Dr. Michael Paul, for whom I am truly grateful to have had as a mentor, I applied to Louisiana State University (LSU). After trying to contact several professors at LSU in the School of Renewable Natural Resources, I received a response from my current graduate major advisor, Dr. Megan LaPeyre. She expressed a desire to me to discuss my interests and so, I traveled to Baton Rouge, Louisiana to meet with Dr. LaPeyre and several other graduate students. I thoroughly enjoyed my time with them and I knew that this was where I wanted to be. Having been accepted at LSU, I am now working towards a Master's of Science Degree in Fisheries with a focus on wetland ecosystems and how they are being affected by new wetland restoration methods.
So, why did I choose to study in Louisiana? My interest in studying Louisiana ecosystems is partly due to my experience as a SEEDS student. I heard about SEEDS through a friend of mine, and I applied to the November 2004 field trip to Lafayette, Louisiana. That trip was very influential in many ways; it enhanced my exposure to Louisiana's beautiful wetlands, sparking even more excitement for the field of ecology.
Meeting and getting to know professional ecologists in the field and hearing their success stories was very inspiring, but, most importantly, meeting other students from around the country who also had a passion for our environment confirmed by desire to work in this field. After the trip I learned about an education intern position with SEEDS, located in ESA 's Silver Spring, Maryland office. I applied, wanting to be a part of such a great program that helped to inspire me to continue in the field of ecology.
While working as the ESA education intern, I began preparing the Education Section Newsletter. I made drafts for the new Careers in Ecology brochure and assisted other Education staff members with various tasks in the office. I also attended the University of Michigan Biological Station SEEDS Field Trip and the 2005 ESA Annual Meeting in Montreal, Canada. I also designed the 2005 “Profiles of Ecologist” posters for the Annual Meeting. Working with SEEDS/ ESA helped me incorporate my interests and creativity while gaining new skills. I would like to say thank you to ESA as a whole, but especially to the Education staff!
2005-06 Undergraduate Research Fellow Profile: Noemi Baquera mentored by Jefff Herrick (Jornada Basin LTER)
My name is Noemi Baquera. I am from the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP), where I am majoring in Environmental Science. Even as a child I was interested in ecology, but back then it was known to me as playing in the dirt, not as a multifaceted and intricate concept. However, the versatility and freedom in ecology is what attracted me to this field, making it the focus of my education. My main interest in ecology is in the restoration of damaged ecosystems, where I can develop methods to monitor and return ecosystems to their natural state.
I was introduced to the SEEDS program by my advisor, Cindy Edgar, who has always encouraged me and thanks to her I was able to take advantage of this great opportunity. My first SEEDS experience was a field trip to the University of Calgary's Kananaskis Field Station in Calgary, Canada in June 2004. This field trip was an absolutely amazing and important experience for me. I was exposed to so many aspects of ecology that I had not yet explored. It was at this field trip that I heard of the SEEDS Undergraduate Research Fellowship, where I would be allowed the opportunity to pursue and create a research project of my own. I knew that this was the next step in accomplishing my future goals in research, and, upon notification of my selection, I was overcome with joy and felt that I was truly on my way. My research for this fellowship revolves around the Quensungual Slash and Mulch Agroforestry System. This modified technique increases the water retention capabilities of the soil which ultimately decreases the amount of land depleted by agriculture, helping to conserve natural ecosystems.
Through this fellowship I was given the opportunity to attend the 90th ESA Annual Meeting in Montreal, Canada. I was able to see important research and converse with prestigious scientists from all over the world. I was able to gather information about graduate school and learn about the different opportunities available to minority students. Through these experiences I have seen and done so much, and I encourage other students to take advantage of this program because it is so exceedingly dedicated to the students.
For more information on the SEEDS Undergraduate Research Fellowship, visit http://www.esa.org/seeds/activities/FellowshipsInfo.php
Campus Ecology Chapter Highlight: Haskell Indian Nations University
The Haskell Ecology Club SEEDS Chapter hosted a conference: “Native American Pathways: Research and Careers in Ecology, Environmental Issues and Conservation” on their campus, November 11-12, 2005. The goal of the conference was to introduce students and local communities to the diverse careers and research experiences attained through the sciences.
At the conference, the scientific researchers and professionals in conservation and environmental areas also presented. A panel made up of Haskell Indian Nations University alumni who graduated from the Environmental Science program provided a look at what careers and opportunities await rising seniors in the same program. Another important aspect of this conference was the poster presentations. Students from Haskell and other universities presented their scientific research. SEEDS staff Katherine Hoffman also attended the conference.
Haskell's club membership has grown this semester from about 5-10 members attending weekly meetings to about 13-20 members attending each week. Haskell has been an active club. A number of members participated in a weekend camping trip to a lake in the Ozarks. Members also participated in the World Water Monitoring Project, volunteering their time to plant 25 trees on campus during homecoming week activities, and the Monarch tagging project at the Haskell-Baker wetlands, and in the Kansas University-Ecological Reserve Field Day.
Campus Ecology Chapters
SEEDS welcomed nine new chapters in 2005: American Samoa Community College, Johnson C. Smith University, LeMoyne-Owen College, San Diego City College, Southwestern Indian Polytechnic Institute, United Tribes Technical College, University of Hawai'i at Manoa, University of New Mexico, and Yale University. Our Chapter network has grown to 28! For more information or to start your own chapter, visit www.esa.org/seeds/activities/CampusEcologyChapters.php
Undergraduate Research Fellowship
The 2004-05 cohort presented their research at ESA's Annual Meeting in Montreal. The 2005-06 cohort is well underway with their research proposals. And, due to a new timeline, three new fellows have already been selected for the 2006-07 cohort.
2004-2005 SEEDS Fellows presented their research findings during the Annual ESA Meeting in Montreal. Posters highlighting the 2004-2005 fellows can be viewed at http://www.esa.org/seeds/activities/FellowshipsInfo.php.
The five new fellows for the 2005-2006 academic year: Noemi Baquera (University of Texas at El Paso ); Chris McLaughlin (Minot State University); Jorge Ramos (University of Texas at El Paso); Andrea Rivera (University of Hawai'i at Manoa); and, Christina Wong (Occidental College) are all well under way with their research proposals and building relationships with their mentors.
Due to a restructuring of the fellowship timeline, the 2006-2007 fellows have also been selected: Marla Striped Face Collins (United Tribes Technical College); Colibri Sanfiorenzo (University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras); and Ku`ulei Vickery (University of Hawai'i at Manoa).
For more information on the SEEDS undergraduate research fellowship, visit http://www.esa.org/seeds/activities/FellowshipsInfo.php
SEEDS Event Recaps
Sevilleta LTER Field Trip, November 2005
SEEDS sponsored a Student Field Trip from November 10-13, 2005 to the Sevilleta Long Term Ecological Research (LTER) Project. “I think this trip was the epitome of a soldier trained for years, who finally goes to war and finds out that the front line is nothing like conventional training. The exposure to field work is tremendously valuable. You can see it in a book but nothing beats hands-on connections. Thanks SEEDS for bringing me to the front line.” (Fabian Faulknor, Johnson C. Smith University).
Attendees of the field trip included twenty-five students from sixteen schools across the country, two SEEDS faculty, and four faculty representatives and team leaders. Faculty representatives included Mike Collins (United Tribes Technical College), Joe Fail, Jr. (Johnson C. Smith University), Stacey Mortensen (Fort Berthold Community College), and Sashi Sabaratnam (Livingstone College). Scott Collins, Professor and Lead Principal Investigator of the Sevilleta LTER and Nancy Grimm, CAP LTER and ESA President, hosted the field trip.
The primary goals of the field trip were to further students’ knowledge about the field of ecology; provide students with an overview of several interesting and ecological important sites; enable students to build a network among professionals and students sharing the same interests; expose students to the practical applications of ecology; and build student awareness of various ecological internships, degrees, and career options. Many ecologists volunteered their time to show students their research or tell them about their pathway to a career in ecology during a panel discussion.
The Sevilleta LTER is part of the National Science Foundation’s LTER Network established in 1988 to study ecological systems over long intervals. The Sevilleta LTER, which has the primary research goal of understanding how abiotic drivers and constraints affect dynamics and stability in an aridland ecosystem, is managed by the Department of Biology, University of New Mexico (UNM) in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Interior Fish & Wildlife Service. Funds from the NSF LTER Program and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation helped support travel and other costs of the field trip.
Ecologists from UNM, Sevilleta LTER, and Arizona State University exposed students to research being conducted at several sites in New Mexico including the Chihuahuan Desert grasslands and shrublands of the south, the Great Plains grasslands to the north, Piņon-Juniper woodlands in the upper elevations of the neighboring mountains, Colorado Plateau shrub-steppe to the west, and riparian vegetation along the middle Rio Grande Valley. The full student-generated field trip report and photo album can be found at www.esa.org/seeds/activities/FieldtripsInfo/pastfieldtrips.php.
ESA Annual Meeting, August 2005
This year's ESA Annual Meeting took place in Montreal, Canada from August 7-12, 2005 and drew more than 4,000 professionals from around the world to participate in scientific presentations, symposia, field trips, and mixers. The meeting provided an excellent venue to engage students and faculty in one of the most important facets of science - communicating ideas and new knowledge with the scientific community.
This year a record was set for the number of SEEDS participants at the Annual Meeting. Travel awards were awarded to 35 students and 20 faculty members. SEEDS specific events at the Annual Meeting included an orientation and meeting dinner; a mixer; a diversity luncheon; and a breakfast for participants and their mentors. An Annual Meeting SEEDS student participant wrote, ”I came here believing that graduate education in ecology would be impossible for me, but since I attended the Annual Meeting and spoke with SEEDS mentors, I now know I want to be an ecologist when I grow up.”
The 2006 ESA Annual Meeting will take place August 6-11 in Memphis, Tennessee with the theme "Icons and Upstarts in Ecology." For more information on the meeting, visit www.esa.org/memphis. Applications for SEEDS travel awards for the 2006 ESA Annual Meeting will be available in early Spring 2006.
Jeramie Strickland, SEEDS Student Coordinator, and Jason Taylor, Education Director, both exhibited in Ann Arbor, Michigan at the Minority Environmental Leadership Development Initiative (MELDI) National Summit on Diversity in the Environmental Field in August and at the Society for the Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS) in September in Denver, Colorado. SEEDS Fellow, Chris McLaughlin of Minot State University, and Jeramie attended the America Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES) Annual Conference in November. Katherine Hoffman, Education Program Manager, attended a conference on Native American Pathways at Haskell Indian Nations University in November (see story). In early December, Jeramie and Melissa Armstrong, SEEDS Coordinator, conducted three visits to SEEDS Chapter schools in North Dakota – Fort Berthold Community College, Sitting Bull College, and United Tribes Technical College.
These opportunities are shared with the mission of promoting ecology. Inclusion of announcements does not indicate endorsement by SEEDS. Please direct questions to each individual program.
Arizona State University IGERT
Arizona State University offers an Integrative Graduate Education and Research Training (IGERT) fellowship program in the pioneering field of Urban Ecology. This IGERT program, which the National Science Foundation recently renewed for another five years, is educating a new kind of research scientist—one who is more collaborative and adept at linking issues in the life, earth, and social sciences, as well as engineering, planning, policy, and economics. (Visit www.igert.org for more information on IGERT programs nationwide.) This prestigious interdisciplinary fellowship program is housed within ASU’s Global Institute of Sustainability (http://sustainability.asu.edu), which brings together faculty and students from multiple disciplines to focus on issues of international importance. For more information, visit http://sustainability.asu.edu/igert/
University of Michigan Biological Station "Biosphere-Atmosphere Studies in a Changing Global Environment" REU
This National Science Foundation Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program provides a summer of mentored research in either ecology or atmospheric science. The program, designed to provide a truly interdisciplinary experience in scientific research in biosphere-atmosphere studies in a changing global environment, provides "hands-on" experience and training in field biology and atmospheric science with all phases of research, from hypothesis formulation, through data gathering, to analysis, interpretation and communication of scientific studies. All expenses (travel, meals & housing) are paid and students for 2006 will receive a stipend of $3,750. This is a competitive program, so interested students should apply early. For more information, visit www.lsa.umich.edu/umbs/umbs_detail/0,2529,11186%255Farticle%255F20657,00.html
University of Michigan Biological Station Summer Courses
The summer term, June 17 to August 12, 2006, offers a variety of course opportunities including Rivers, Lakes, & Wetlands; Forest Ecosytems; Field Mammology; and, Behavior Ecology. Spring courses are also available. In a world that is undergoing unprecedented changes in land use, climate, resource extraction and species distributions, a major goal of the University's Biological Station must be to produce biologically knowledgeable graduates who are prepared to understand, deal with and solve environmental problems. For more information visit www.lsa.umich.edu/umbs/courses/summer/
University of Michigan Biological Station Biosphere-Atmosphere Research & Training (BART)
BART is a National Science Foundation-funded PhD training program developed to provide doctoral students with enhanced interdisciplinary training in the skills required for conducting research in biological and atmospheric sciences. It provides graduate fellowships for interdisciplinary biosphere-atmosphere research for students admitted to PhD programs. Students (citizens and US residents) from any PhD-granting university in the US may apply. Students who are accepted into the BART program receive up to two years of support including an annual stipend of $30,000, plus equipment and supply monies, support for travel to national conferences and two summer sessions at the University of Michigan Biological Station. For more information, visit www.lsa.umich.edu/umbs/umbs_detail/0,2529,11186%255Farticle%255F15564,00.html
Help Support SEEDS
We invite you to contribute to ESA's SEEDS Program to help support and encourage greater diversity in the ecology profession. Contributions to the SEEDS program are tax deductible and are used to support special initiatives for underrepresented students. To contribute, visit www.esa.org/seeds/supportSEEDS.php
Please contact us at email@example.com. Send mail to: SEEDS Program, Ecological Society of America, 1400 Spring Street, Suite 330, Silver Spring, MD, 20910.