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:
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:
ESA Annual Meeting Travel Awards
Applications for travel awards for students, alumni, and SEEDS Chapter advisors to attend the 2007 ESA Annual Meeting are available at http://esa.org/seeds/activities/AnnualMeetingInfo.php. The application deadline is March 12, 2007.
Chapter Maintenance Grants
The SEEDS Campus Ecology Chapter program offers a Maintenance Grant to support Chapters. This grant is intended to ensure that each Chapter has funds to establish itself and/or sustain its presence on campus and beyond. Chapters in good standing may submit a proposal anytime before March 1, 2007. More information and the application are available at http://www.esa.org/seeds/activities/CampusEcologyChapters/MaintenanceGrants.php.
Chris McLaughlin, 2006-07 Undergraduate Research
I am an enrolled member of the Three Affiliated Tribes otherwise known as the Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara Nation. I am also a paternal child of the Hunkpapa Band of Lakota Sioux and long time descendant of McLaughlin’s from Ireland.
I am currently a junior at Sitting Bull College (Fort Yates, ND) in the Environmental Science program through Oglala Lakota College. I first became interested in science at an early age, but it wasn’t until I attended Fort Berthold Community College (FBCC) that the interest was solidified. I graduated from FBCC with an AS degree in Environmental Science. It was there where I was first introduced to SEEDS, and it was FBCC and SEEDS that helped me find the motivation to continue my education in the world of science. Some of my specific interests have been the plants and animals that have traditionally sustained the people of the Great Plains; such as the juneberry, Amelanchier alnifolia, and the American bison, Bison bison.
I am sure that SEEDS has been a positive experience not only for myself, but for other students as well. SEEDS has done this by providing insight to the realm of ecology to those who may not ordinarily have the opportunity to check out such things. This has been accomplished by student awards to field trips, meetings, and the Fellowship. These awards make it possible to see and experience first hand the possibilities in ecology, and formulate ones own thoughts for the direction of their personal future. SEEDS provides an unexplainable, yet definite passion and drive in those who experience it.
My Fellowship research has done this job well, by allowing me to work with the bison that were once, and still are sacred to the Plains Indians. My fellowship research project was conducted at the Konza Prairie long term ecological research site with the help of my mentor Tony Joern of Kansas State University. My fellowship research made it possible for me to actually see how important the bison (and fire) is to the prairie ecosystem in the past, present, and future. This research has made it possible to see the many interactions that happen in an ecosystem, from the insects to the large animal life and what critical roles they play in the environment.
My only advice to those in looking at a career in ecology would be: “If you like it, do what you gotta do to get there.”
For more information on the SEEDS Undergraduate Research Fellowship, visit http://www.esa.org/seeds/activities/FellowshipsInfo.php
Tony Joern, PhD, 2006-07 Undergraduate Research
How did you become interested in science?
Growing up, I was always interested in science-type things, and in nature, and always enjoyed being outside poking around and finding things. I was probably lucky that I always had pretty good teachers in my small-town schools in the Midwest, and supportive parents who encouraged my scientific interests by giving me opportunities to see things. I always lived within close walking distance of woods, creeks, rivers and old fields that were well explored. A lot of camping experience reinforced the natural history angle, so my ultimate decision was probably a done deal. Although biology was always most interesting to me, and I made a pretty early decision that I would do something in this area, any option in biology was open and remained so until I was a senior at the University of Wisconsin – Madison and was trying to decide between neurophysiology and ecology. I decided on ecology because of my interest in being in the field, and an ecology of fish course that introduced the value of mathematical models to understand ecological questions. I was hooked by this combination even if I didn’t know how it all fit together. Of course, I didn’t fully understand what science really was until I had a chance to do my own research in some upper division courses, undergraduate experiences which proved invaluable in showing me how exciting science can be.
What are your specific research interests in ecology?
My research has taken many directions to fill in gaps as they arise, but I am generally interested in species interactions, plant-insect herbivore interactions and food webs. My research uses grasshoppers as a primary model and how these magnificent insects interact with their food resources and with their natural enemies. My research began in deserts and very arid grasslands and is now located at Konza Prairie Biological Station in a mesic tallgrass prairie. In my studies, I employ comparative studies among sites, field experiments at small and intermediate scales, large scale landscape manipulations of fire and grazing, and with assistance, mathematical modeling.
What has been your experience with SEEDS and what effect have you seen it have on students?
It is very clear to me that the SEEDS experience gets students to believe in themselves and their ability to succeed in studying science. Based primarily on my interactions with Chris McLaughlin as well as a group SEEDS visit to Konza Prairie, I see incredible energy and commitment by students, other mentors and the ESA staff to making the goals of the program come alive. SEEDS students are excited, inquisitive and increasingly confident as they progress through the program.
Chris McLaughlin has worked with me to understand the impact of bison grazing to vegetation structure of grassland and how it might influence habitat for grasshoppers. In Chris’ case, he visited the site the summer before writing his proposal to get a sense of possible projects and what it would take to do them, a great help as he was writing his proposal. Chris determined where bison were spending their time by regular censuses and then measured the impact of bison on vegetation structure and the degree of spatial heterogeneity that results from different levels of grazing pressure.
What professional advice would you give to other students thinking of making a career in ecology?
Make sure that whatever you decide to do, really want to do it. You should have deep interest in your chosen area if you want to keep interested over the long term. There are a number of things that one can do early on as an undergraduate to make the road easier. (a) Read as much of the ecological literature as you can as soon as you can. For example, read some actual papers that are the basis of points made in your ecology course whether they were assigned or not. Select a variety of topics to see what you find most interesting and talk to your instructor about each of theses areas. (b) You also need a strong background in organismal biology and natural history, areas that are often deemphasized in today’s undergraduate biology major curriculum. This also means taking time to go experience natural situations in the flesh – put on some old tennis shoes and just walk right into the next pond, river, lake or stream, see what you can find and then go back and identify the stuff. If you hesitate or are uncertain about getting wet and muddy without putting on a whole lot of gear, you need to think about your goals. (c) Make sure to get a broad background in science, including math, geology, geography, astronomy, and make sure you can distinguish questions that have a historical basis from those that do not. (d) Do undergraduate research in the summer, and longer if possible. The more summers you can fit in the better. (e) Pick a graduate program and more importantly, an advisor who is simpatico, maintaining an active research program and still publishing on a regular basis, and most importantly working on questions that also interest you. Early on, this is what you need to do and it is much better to be in an active, supportive group while you are getting started. And, finally, (f) trust your own instincts about what is right for you, but don’t ignore advice from others with experience in the areas you are interested in.
New SEEDS Chapters
SEEDS would like to welcome the University of Puerto Rico at Humacao and Willamette University to the Campus Ecology Chapter network.
Importance of Diversity Study
A recent study by Cedric Herring of the University of Illinois in Chicago provides further evidence on the benefits of a diverse work force. Dr. Herring’s research was covered in the media by National Public Radio morning edition and in the Washington Post. Dr. Herring examined the diversity of workers and the business performance of about 250 companies and found that greater diversity correlates with better business success. The reasons for this could be that businesses whose workforce reflects the diversity of society are more responsive to their customers. Diversity among workers also brings a wide variety of ideas, perspectives, and life experiences that enrich a company. The SEEDS program has long promoted the value of a diverse ecology profession. While this example in the business community provides us with further evidence on the benefits of diversity with regards to both profit levels and overall business success we can also consider these benefits with respect to careers in ecology. The vitality of ecological research and investigations depends upon the strength and diversity of the scientists who decide the questions that are posed. The mission of SEEDS is to increase the relevance of the ecological science by encouraging those not traditionally involved in ecology to ask the questions important to their communities. Imagine what the world will be like when people from diverse areas in the United States and the world to make their voice heard in the ecology research agenda. If you have comments on this article or would like to share your vision of future ecologists, please write to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Studies on the benefits of diversity in business:
Herring, C. (2006). Does Diversity Pay?: Racial Composition of Firms and the Business Case for Diversity. American Sociological Association M eeting, Montreal, Canada.
Madjar, N. (2005). The Contributions of Different Groups of Individuals to Employees’ Creativity. Advances in Developing Human Resources. Vol. 7. No. 2. McLeod, P. & Lobel, S. (1992). The effects of ethnic diversity on idea generation on small groups. Annual Academy of Management Meeting, Las Vegas, NV.
Nemeth, C. (1986). Differential contributions of majority and minority influence. Psychological Review 93: 23-32.
Woods Hole Sabbatical Leave and Student Off-Campus Study Opportunities
The Ecosystems Center at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, MA is seeking applicants for a guest faculty / research appointment during Fall 2007 from qualified professionals on sabbatical leave at a college or university serving under-represented groups in environmental science. The successful applicant is expected to sponsor one or two undergraduates (juniors or seniors) from his/her home institution who will enroll in the Semester in Environmental Science (SES) in Woods Hole during Fall 2007. Through joint participation in the program by both faculty and students at colleges serving under-represented groups in environmental science, the Center hopes to foster development of environmental science programs within institutions serving African-American, Hispanic, Native-American and other minority groups in science.
Semester in Environmental Science (SES)
The SES is a unique, hands on training program for undergraduates (primarily Juniors/Seniors) focused on biogeochemistry and ecosystems science. Students are taught by distinguished faculty at The Ecosystems Center who are conducting research world wide on topics ranging from land use change in urban settings to climate change in the arctic and deforestation in the Amazon. The program stresses field work in coastal forests, freshwater and salt ponds, and estuaries. Students in the SES pursue their own independent research on local ecosystems on Cape Cod during the program.
Location: Woods Hole, Massachusetts
Participation Dates: Fall 2007 Semester
Benefits: More than sixty colleges and universities have approved the SES for credit. Students from non-affiliated colleges and universities may receive credit for the semester through Brown University.
Eligibility: Only undergraduate students enrolled at colleges or universities that are members of the MBL Consortium in Environmental Science are eligible to participate in the program (contact the Off-Campus Studies Office to check the status of your school).
Application: Visit http://courses.mbl.edu/SES/
Application Deadline: March 23, 2007
Contact: Dr. Kenneth Foreman, Program Director, Semester in Environmental Science, Marine Biological Laboratory, 7 MBL St., Woods Hole, MA or email SES@mbl.edu.
Native American and Pacific Islander Research Experience (NAPIRE) Program in Costa Rica
The NAPIRE Program is designed to introduce Native American and Pacific Islander undergraduate students to the biodiversity of the tropics. As part of the program, students will complete a field project, including experimental design, data gathering, and analysis and presentation of results, in collaboration with fellow students and a research mentor. Students will experience the process of applying the scientific method to ecological inquiry and discovery in a collaborative and team-oriented environment. In addition to completing a research project, students will participate in lectures, seminars and field activities that focus on tropical ecology and conservation. Participants will also have the opportunity to interact with indigenous groups of Central America, allowing a first-hand look at the role of native peoples in tropical forest conservation. Each student will be assigned a Research Mentor who will assist them with their independent project as well as provide support throughout the research experience.
Location: Las Cruces, Costa Rica
Participation Dates: June 4 - July 30, 2007
Benefits: The NAPIRE award covers the cost of room, board and travel to and from Costa Rica. Students also receive funds to help cover costs of field equipment and a $3,000 stipend.
Eligibility: U.S. citizens and Permanent Residents who are undergraduate students enrolled in accredited institutions in the United States may apply to the program. Incoming freshmen and graduating seniors are not eligible.
Application: Visit http://www.ots.duke.edu/en/education/application_instructions_napire.shtml
Application Deadline: February 28, 2007
Contact: Dr. Doug Eifler, Haskell Indian Nations University, 785-749-8414, deifler@HASKELL.edu
Amgen Scholars: Undergraduate Summer Research Program
The University of California, San Diego Amgen Scholars Program is an eight-week, full-time research experience for undergraduates, supported by the Amgen Foundation. The objectives of the program are: to provide students with the skills to become research scholars; to stimulate students' serious consideration of graduate study; and to increase learning and networking opportunities for students committed to pursuing a career in science or engineering. Please note that there are 10 Amgen sites and students may apply to more than one program. The other campuses to host Amgen Scholars Programs are California Institute of Technology, Columbia University/Barnard College, Howard University, MIT, Stanford, UC Berkeley, UCLA, UC San Francisco, and University of Washington.
Location: San Diego, California
Participation Dates: June 25 - August 17, 2007
Benefits: A $3,500 stipend for the eight-week program; Room and board: on-campus housing and meals; A $500 travel allowance is offered to non-UCSD students for travel to/from San Diego; Course fees for four units of independent study credit.
Eligibility: U.S. citizens or U.S. permanent residents; Undergraduates enrolled in accredited four-year colleges and universities in the U.S., Puerto Rico and other U.S. Territories; Sophomores (with four quarters or three semesters of college experience), Juniors and non-graduating Seniors (who are returning in the fall to continue their undergraduate experience); And must also have: A cumulative G.P.A. of 3.2 or above; and An interest in pursuing a PhD or MD-PhD.
Application: Visit http://aep.ucsd.edu/amgen/
Application Deadline: February 16, 2007
Contact: Elizabeth Blocker at email@example.com or 858-534-1774
Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU): Ecology and Evolutionary Biology of a Temperate Grassland
Location: Kansas State University and Konza Prairie Biological Station, Manhattan, Kansas
Participation Dates: May 26 - August 4, 2007
Ecological studies in the REU Site program will examine the roles of fire, grazing and climatic variability as interacting environmental factors that shape the structure and function of terrestrial and aquatic habitats in mesic grasslands. Studies in evolutionary ecology will include studies of coevolution between plants and fungal symbionts, evolution of life history strategies in grassland organisms, and their potential evolutionary responses to global environmental change. Conservation issues are emphasized because tallgrass prairie is an endangered ecosystem that has been heavily impacted by habitat destruction and changing land use practices. REU student projects can be conducted at Konza Prairie Biological Station or at nearby sites, such as the Kansas River.
Benefits: Students will have the opportunity to conduct independent ecological research projects under the guidance of experienced researchers working in grassland ecology and conservation biology. Students will receive a $4,000 summer stipend for the 10-week program, accommodation in furnished housing, access to campus resources, and credit for a 3-credit college course in Grassland Ecology. Tuition and book costs will be covered by the REU program.
Eligibility: Applicants must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents, who are currently enrolled in an undergraduate degree program and returning to their studies in Fall 2007. Students should be in good physical condition and possess a valid driver's license. A major goal of the REU Program at K-State is to provide research opportunities for students who have had limited exposure to independent research at their home institution. We welcome applications from students attending 4-year colleges, students that are the first member of their family to attend college, non-traditional students returning to school, and students from ethnic groups under-represented in the sciences.
Application: For application forms and more information on the REU program at K-State, please visit www.ksu.edu/bsanderc/reu. We anticipate offering 8 to 10 internships in Summer 2007.
Application Deadline: March 1, 2007
Contact: Application materials may be submitted by regular mail, e-mail or by fax to Dr. Gail W.T. Wilson, REU Program Coordinator, Division of Biology, Kansas State University, Manhattan, Kansas 66506-4901, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, phone 785-532-2892.
University of Michigan Biological Station Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU)
The UMBS REU is designed to provide "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.
Location: Pellston, Michigan
Participation Dates: June 23 - August 18, 2007
Benefits: A stipend of $4,000 is paid to each student participant. Room and board expenses for the eight-week period are covered and an allowance for travel and research supplies is provided. Students may receive up to 3 semester hours credit for an independent study project (Biology 400: Advanced Research in Biology) by advance arrangement with a mentor/professor and the UMBS Office.
Eligibility: Students must be at least of junior status at the start of the summer program and a permanent resident of the United States.
Application: Visit http://www.lsa.umich.edu/umbs/forms/
Application Deadline: February 15, 2007
Contact: University of Michigan Biological Station, 2014 Natural Science Bldg., 830 N. University Ave., Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1048; Phone: 734-763-4461 Fax: 734-647-1952
If you're interested in posting an opportunity, please visit http://www.esa.org/seeds/activities/newsletter.php
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.
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