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
November 2006 Field Trip
The destination for the November 2006 SEEDS Field Trip has been announced - the Coweeta LTER! The field trip will take place November 2-5, 2006 at the Coweeta Long Term Ecological Research site based in the eastern deciduous forest of the Blue Ridge Physiographic Province of the southern Appalachian Mountains. Applications will be available by early July at http://esa.org/seeds/activities/FieldtripsInfo.php.
Graduation Message from Dr. Laura Huenneke, SEEDS Advisory Board Chair
Congratulations on your graduation. All of us associated with the SEEDS program are thrilled you have completed this major milestone in your career. All of your hard work has paid off, and we wish you the very best of luck in your next steps and throughout your journey in life. As Dean of the College of Engineering and Natural Sciences at Northern Arizona University, I see many students enter and graduate the college every year. Graduation is always a time of celebration and of reflection over the undergraduate career, and simultaneously anticipation about the next steps. I wanted to share with you some comments from my discussion with the SEEDS Fellowship students at the leadership workshop in March 2006.
I have been immensely impressed by the passion and inspiration of SEEDS students to use their knowledge to make the world a better place. The ecology profession has not always viewed its role in that way. When I began graduate study in the late 1970s, the focus of the field was studying pristine, 'natural' ecosystems, but people started to realize that this research could not be generalized to the increasingly abundant human-impacted ecosystems. A growing number of ecologists felt that ecology should not draw distinction between “natural” and human-dominated systems, and this movement really accelerated with the Sustainable Biosphere Initiative (SBI) in the early 1990s. Along with questions the SBI initiated regarding the relevance of ecology, questions were also raised about who was studying ecology and what type of professional training they were receiving. SEEDS is part of this same movement, ensuring that people doing the science and then communicating about that science are connected to the societal and community setting. SEEDS is not just about doing more relevant science, or giving scientific tools to a larger number of scientists, but bringing in the best and most diverse minds to ensure that the science is relevant to society and the world.
The public needs ecological information and SEEDS students recognize this need. Some professional ecologists used to subscribe to the line of thought that a scientist needs to make a name for himself or herself, becoming recognized as part of the system before making change within the larger science community or taking responsibility for communicating outside the profession. More recently, though, the ecological community has recognized that it may not be necessary – or appropriate – to wait for that “senior” level of recognition. Indeed, there is increasing recognition that communicating broadly and effectively about the science and the implications of that science for society is an important and valuable role for ecologists in many settings.
We’ve also recognized, though, that communication does not always come easily. We may have excellent technical understanding but lack the language and communication skills to explain or translate that understanding to non-specialists. We are often naïve about when or where our information might have the greatest impact – not understanding the role of scientific information in the decision-making process. Communicating science is more complicated than bringing information to the people; it needs to be brought to the right people. Whether neighborhood residents or local decision-makers, you may indeed have the contacts to bring information to the right people at the right time.
Remember that there are multiple ways to communicate, each fitted to a particular personal style and a particular audience: letters to the editor of a local paper, local radio shows, town meetings, public school volunteering, talking with science reporters. Pick your battles; find out the ways you are best at communicating. Identify those who can help you, partnerships that you can make in reaching the people who need to know what you know. It is important to be credible, to be able to demonstrate you are speaking from authentic knowledge and a valid perspective. Stick close to this area of credibility when speaking to the public. However, some scientists are paralyzed by not knowing everything and don't want to seem like a “pseudo-scientist” – and because of that they are over-reluctant to communicate. Remember, you do have knowledge that many others don't have. You have now completed your Bachelor’s degree, you do understand both the basic principles of ecology and the nature of scientific evidence -- you can share your perspective without feeling uncomfortable.
Continue doing what SEEDS students are so good at – being inspired and hopeful, supporting one another, helping in your own communities, and being active in issues important to your communities. Ecologists have long recognized the need for your talent to energize and strengthen the profession. We hope you will continue to remain involved in ESA and SEEDS, and will use our resources should you ever need help. Again, congratulations on your graduation and, on behalf of the many ESA members involved in SEEDS, we wish you the very best of luck as you continue on your path.
What Some SEEDS Graduates Are Doing Now
A big, hearty congratulations to all SEEDS graduates. We are proud of you and your accomplishments and wish you the very best of luck in your next steps. We promise to keep in touch and hope you will remember that we are here to help as your career unfolds. SEEDS graduates are going on to many exciting endeavors and below is just a sampling of what some students are doing.
Noemi Baquera – graduate of the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP)
Noemi completed her BS in Environmental Science at UTEP and will be attending New Mexico State University for graduate school studying restoration ecology in the fall.
James Costello – graduate of Clarkson University
James Costello - graduated from Clarkson University, Potsdam, New York, in 1998 where he received his BPS degree in Environmental Science and Policy. He is currently pursuing an MS degree in Ecology and Conservation Biology from the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry in Syracuse, New York, while employed as the Scientific/Legislative Researcher with the Haudenosaunee Environmental Task Force (HETF), located on the Akwesasne Mohawk Nation Territory. James has been involved with SEEDS since 2002, first as a student and a SEEDS mentor from 2003-2005.
Julie James – graduate of Haskell Indian Nations University
Julie completed her Bachelor's degree in December 2005 and is currently working for the Natural Resource Conservation Service in Kansas.
Lauren McGee – graduate of North Carolina A&T State University
Lauren is currently working in Washington, DC, with the USDA: Rural Development - an agency which gives grants and loans to rural communities and residents for housing, economic development, and public facility projects. In June, she is heading to Columbus, Ohio, to begin research at Ohio State University. Lauren was accepted into their Environmental Science Graduate Program and will work under the guidance of Dr. Virginie Bouchard. Most of her summer’s research will be geared toward preparation for her Master’s thesis, which will encompass monitoring biogeochemical and ecological processes in agricultural-dominated watersheds.
Lucero Radonic – graduate of the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP)
Lucero completed her BS in Environmental Science at UTEP and will be attending the University of Arizona for graduate school in the fall, where she will be studying anthropology with a focus on ecology.
Alexis Javier Villegas – graduate of the University of Florida
After graduating last December with a BA in Geography and Zoology from the University of Florida, Alexis started working as a Geographic Information Systems Specialist at the City of Gainesville's Community Development Department. Next fall he will be attending Florida Institute of Technology (FIT) to pursue a Master's degree in Ecology.
Amber Walker – graduate of the University of Missouri-Columbia (BS) and Northern Illinois University (MS)
Amber is originally from East Saint Louis, Illinois, but is now living in DeKalb, Illinois. She received her Bachelor's of Science in Fisheries and Wildlife from the University of Missouri-Columbia in May of 2004, and graduated this May from Northern Illinois University with a Master's of Science Education in Curriculum and Instruction. Amber plans on becoming an environmental educator working with urban youth to expose them to nature and teach them how to conserve nature in the city as well as in the woodlands.
David Zaya – graduate of the University of Illinois at Chicago
David is planning to attend graduate school to study ecology (although he hasn’t decided which field) in the near future, but not yet. This month he will start a summer job working for the Lake Michigan Ecological Research Station in northwestern Indiana (part of the U.S. Geological Survey). In the meantime, he will be working with a professor from UIC on a manuscript related to the topic of seed dispersal, which he is trying to prepare for publication.
New Venture for Jeramie Strickland, SEEDS Coordinator
My name is Jeramie Strickland. Currently, I am the Student Coordinator for the SEEDS Program of the Ecological Society of America (ESA). My interest in ecology goes beyond the science; I am also committed to spreading the word about ecology so students can see it as a viable career, and hopefully attract these talented students to the ecology profession. I have been doing this through an EnvironMentors program and through my current position at ESA. Several years of undergraduate coursework, internships, and work experiences have helped define my varied interests in the field of ecology including natural reptile populations and ecological and evolutionary herpetology and have solidified my decision to pursue an advanced degree in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology beginning in August 2006.
My exposure to the study of ecology began at the Chicago High School for Agricultural Sciences. The exposure to agriculture motivated me to continue my education at Delaware State University (DSU). Upon enrolling in DSU, I became a Forage Laboratory Research Intern in the Agricultural Department, studying forage digestibility, moisture contents, and rumen samples in beef cattle. For 2 years, I performed water quality tests measuring pH levels and dissolved oxygen content while with the Aquaculture Department at DSU. I also did quantitative experimental work analyzing ecological changes in pond water after applying different kinds of fertilizers. During the summer between my sophomore and junior year, I interned with the United States Department of Agriculture as a Natural Resource Conservation Technician.
During the early summer of 2003, I participated in a study abroad research program in Namibia, Africa. I was able to assist Dr. John Graham in establishing an educational partnership between the University of Namibia and DSU. In addition, I also conducted a study entitled An Assessment of Namibia’s Agricultural Economy and its Impact on Marginalized Farming. Upon my return to the U.S., I worked with Dr. John Patterson and the Animal Science Department at Purdue University as a Summer Research Scholar, where I studied the effect of stress hormones on the growth of gastrointestinal bacteria.
In May 2004, I earned my Bachelor of Science degree in Animal and Poultry Science from DSU. Following graduation, I returned to Namibia to perform fieldwork for a study entitled The Importance of Conservation and Biodiversity for the Development of Namibia. In the summer of 2004, I participated in the Ronald E. McNair Post-Baccalaureate Summer Research Opportunity Program at Michigan State University (MSU). I worked with Dr. Adroaldo Zanella and the Animal Behavior and Welfare Group (ABWG), orchestrating a study entitled Lameness in Dairy Cows: A Pilot Study on Behavioral Indicators Observed During Milking. During the fall 2004 semester, I was hired by MSU’s ABWG as a Laboratory Research Assistant. While working with the ABWG, I was able to assist a Ph.D. candidate with the methodology of an experiment entitled Pain Assessment in Dairy Cows. Furthermore, I helped analyze physiological, molecular, and behavioral indicators of lameness in dairy cows. I also conducted an experiment examining cytokines in lame and healthy cows, and measured oxytocin in dog plasma samples.
It was during a meeting with Dr. Zanella when I began to realize my talent in communicating effectively with peers and colleagues. ABWG lab members expressed their admiration for my attitude and communication skills with Dr. Zanella. Shortly after my meeting with Dr. Zanella, I had been notified that I was not accepted to any of the graduate schools to which I had applied. Dr. Zanella heard the news and was able to provide some constructive criticism regarding my graduate school application packet. She mentioned that I should not give up on graduate school and that it may be best that I take some time off and strengthen my graduate school application and discover the area of research that fascinates me the most.
I found out about SEEDS during a career fair exhibit at the 2004 Minorities in Agriculture Natural Resources and Related Sciences (MANRRS) Conference. I received an email from SEEDS announcing the Student Coordinator position, for which I applied and was blessed to be offered the position. I am thankful for my experience with SEEDS/ESA for providing me with a well-rounded professional and educational experience which helped shape my career in ecology and create opportunities for me to pursue advanced degrees in ecology.
I am thrilled to announce that I will be attending Iowa State beginning with the Fall Semester, 2006! I will be pursuing a Master’s of Science Degree in the Department of Ecology, Evolution and Organismal Biology. I will work closely with faculty researchers such as Dr. Anne Bronikowski and/or Dr. Fred Janzen, to further engage in interdisciplinary research, training, outreach, and teaching. These opportunities will allow me to share an extensive history of experience and unique viewpoints that will enrich the university community.
My SEEDS experiences, along with my background in ecology and evolutionary biology, have sparked my interest in two potential research projects that I wish to develop as a thesis; these are outlined below. I feel that these research projects will expand my job marketability as well as serve as venues to present and publish my data, which is priceless with a research project. These projects tie well with some of my previous experiences during my undergraduate career. I will narrow down my specific project interests after I learn more about each project.
1) I plan to use garter snakes in the Sierra Nevada mountain range to investigate the population consequences of fluctuating life histories. Several garter snake populations are declining and I plan to work with Dr. Bronikowski on a field study to investigate genetic, population dynamics, and computational questions. I will analyze the differences in predation rates and population dynamics between garter snake populations.
2) I plan to collaborate with Dr. Fred Janzen to study conservation genetics of Blanding’s turtles in McHenry County, Illinois. I will take part in performing microsatellite DNA work with tissue samples from these turtles. I also plan to become involved with a long-term project to perform research on sex determination in turtle populations along the upper Mississippi River near Savanna, Illinois.
Following my graduate studies at ISU, I will pursue my doctoral degree in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, and continue to teach and conduct research at a major university. My ultimate career objective is to become an ambassador for the U.S. to a developing country in an effort to help strengthen the agricultural profile and animal husbandry practices in that country. I will use my knowledge to collaborate with others to identify behaviors that may impede progress in animal welfare and to develop practical applications that facilitate improvements on farms and in laboratories. I also plan to become active in both fundamental research and environmental conservation and management.
Thanks SEEDS for making my dream come true! Even though I will be away in graduate school, I plan to continue to be involved with SEEDS through recruitment, field trips, and annual meetings.
ESA Annual Meeting
Thank you to all the ESA members who volunteered to be meeting mentors for SEEDS students in Memphis. We have matched ESA members with students and encourage all to communicate over the summer. We look forward to seeing everyone in Memphis.
Konza Prairie Field Trip
The SEEDS Kansas field trip will be held this month from June 4-9. Stay posted for the summary of the always successful SEEDS field trip in the July newsletter. Many pictures will also be posted on our web site, so if you are not able to join us, you can still feel a part of the trip!
The current SEEDS fellowship group will be traveling to their field sites this month to begin their summer fellowship research. Summer is the time for fellows to finally work in person with their mentors, as they have been mainly communicating at distance during the school year. SEEDS fellows can be found in Tahiti, Honduras, Mexico, Kansas, Gulf of Maine, Arizona, and North Dakota. Good luck fellows on your research!
Ecology Bulletin Board
Location: Silver Spring, MD Participation Dates: Full employment begins in late July.
Background: Founded in 1915, the Ecological Society of America (ESA) is a is a nonpartisan, nonprofit membership organization of scientists to promote ecological science by improving communication among ecologists; raise the public's level of awareness of the importance of ecological science; increase the resources available for the conduct of ecological science; and ensure the appropriate use of ecological science in environmental decision making by enhancing communication between the ecological community and policy-makers. Education and diversity are central to ESA’s overall mission and ESA’s SEEDS program is the cornerstone of this effort. SEEDS (Strategies for Ecology Education, Development, and Sustainability), a core ESA education program, promotes ecology opportunities to underrepresented undergraduate students. Position Description: The Education Coordinator reports to the Director of Education, however, in this role the incumbent works directly with several staff to track SEEDS program participants and coordinate program activities. Specific responsibilities include: maintaining contact with SEEDS participants and documenting student career paths both formally (maintaining database, sending surveys, contacting graduates) and informally (remembering and/or developing relationships with students met); organizing and attending two field trips per year, including recruitment, logistics and arrangements, and facilitating the event; helping with the SEEDS portion of the ESA Annual Meeting, including organizing and presenting workshops to promote the program; helping maintain SEEDS Chapters through, in part, visiting schools in the Chapter network and presenting about the SEEDS program, and checking on the status of any SEEDS funded Special Projects; attending up to four minority serving conferences per year, exhibiting and promoting the program; tracking 300+ participants that have directly participated in SEEDS in the past. Requirements: articulate in written and oral communications, a natural communicator; capable of working independently as needed while communicating status of various tasks and projects underway; willingness to travel frequently; ability to work well with students from a wide variety of cultural and geographic backgrounds; ability to work within a multifaceted program that involves organizing the many details of program events, to assessing the big picture of SEEDS participant career paths; ability to cooperate within a team environment to work toward department goals and to support colleagues as needed; detail-oriented and organized in order to stay on planning timelines and follow through on action items; complete comfort in Word and other MS Office applications (PowerPoint, Excel, Outlook); resourceful, taking initiative to make improvements to processes; college degree (BA/BS, Masters) or equivalent experience desired; positive can-do attitude, ability to work efficiently under pressure to manage multiple priorities, strong work ethic.
Application & Deadline: Send cover letter and resume to email@example.com - June 10, 2006
Archbold Biological Station Internship
Location: Lake Placid, Florida
Participation Dates: Internships generally run for 4-6 months but are flexible in their starting dates and durations
Openings are available for research internships at Archbold Biological Station in south-central Florida. Research in the plant ecology laboratory of Eric Menges emphasizes conservation biology, plant demography, population viability assessment, fire ecology, landscape ecology, and fire management. We study many species of endemic vascular plants in endangered Florida scrub and related communities, at Archbold's 2000-ha preserve and other preserves on Florida's Lake Wales Ridge. Active fire management provides outstanding opportunities for short-term comparative studies in fire ecology. Our long-term (12-year) datasets on dozens of scrub plants gives context to short-term, focused, field projects. Archbold Biological Station is active in research, conservation, and education. Our facilities include an outstanding regional library and a GIS lab running ARCINFO. We have a staff of about 50 with many visiting scientists, an active seminar program, and a relaxed biological station atmosphere. Staff research is varied, with particular strengths in population biology, behavioral ecology, geographic ecology, systematics, landscape ecology, and conservation planning. Study organisms include plants, invertebrates, birds, mammals, and herptiles.
Benefits: Interns receive room, board, and a weekly stipend of $100.* They work 20 hours per week as research assistants and the remainder of the time on their independent research project. *Partial travel expenses may be available based on need.
Eligibility: Ideal for students with undergraduate degrees contemplating graduate school
Application & Deadline: www.archbold-station.org/abs/internvol/internrevres.htm
Contact: Dr. Eric S. Menges, Archbold Biological Station, P.O. Box 2057, Lake Placid, Florida 33862 USA, 863-465-2571, EMenges@archbold-station.org
Dauphin Island 2006 Summer Internship
Location: Dauphin Island, Alabama
Participation Dates: June 20 - August 20, 2006
Benefits: $2,000 (Intern will be paid $10/hour, $250/week, for 25 hours of work each week)
Eligibility: College students with programming skills in C and VB; knowledge of NT server and relational database; experience with GIS and knowledge of ArcCatalog, ArcMap, will be a plus
Application & Deadline: There is no application form. Send in resume before June 15, 2006.
Contact: Lei Hu, email at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 251-861-7508
Student Pugwash USA
Location: Nationwide (and globally through www.student-pugwash.org)
Participation Dates: Our programs and conferences run throughout the year
Student Pugwash USA enables students to think independently about how the development of cutting-edge science and technologies affect society—issues that range from international security to public health, from global warming to the development of U.S. science policy. With chapters on more than 25 campuses across the country, Student Pugwash USA hosts regional and national conferences throughout the school year, currently focused on the issue of scientific integrity. The best way to get involved in our programs is to join our email list, which offers weekly updates on science issues, upcoming events, exciting job and internship opportunities, and resources to help students take socially responsible steps on campus.
Benefits: There are no membership fees associated with Student Pugwash, and we offer free regional conferences nationwide on a number of provocative science and society issues. SPUSA enables students to organize a wide range of science and society events on their campuses. Student Pugwash USA presents issues from a variety of different viewpoints, acting as a catalyst for ethical debates on campuses nationwide. We also provide our members with information about upcoming events in the scientific community, such as professional conferences and science and ethics meetings, job and internship postings, and other student resources.
Eligibility: Our programs are for high school, undergraduate, and graduate students. We also have opportunities available for young professionals and alumnae/i.
Application & Deadline: www.spusa.org/forms/listserv.html
Contact: Sharlissa Moore, Program Coordinator, email@example.com, 202-429-8900
If you're interested in posting an opportunity, please visit http://www.esa.org/seeds/activities/newsletter.php
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. Send mail to: SEEDS Program, Ecological Society of America, 1400 Spring Street, Suite 330, Silver Spring, MD, 20910.