Volume 5, Issue 5
E-newsletter of the Ecological Society of America's SEEDS program - www.esa.org/seeds
|In this issue:||Upcoming Opportunities||ESA Meeting||Staff Updates|
California Field Trip ESA MEETING
ES & Tech. Conf.
SEEDS Dispersal is published online ten times a year by the SEEDS program. SEEDS promotes opportunities to diversify and advance the profession of ecology. ***************
California Field Trip|
The fall SEEDS field trip will take place October 25-28, 2007 to Santa Barbara, California, hosted by the Santa Barbara Coastal Long Term Ecological Research Project. The application deadline for both students and Chapter advisors is August 15, 2007. To apply or learn more about the field trip click here.
ESA Student Membership
If you are a student studying and/or working in ecology and the life and environmental sciences, there are many reasons you should join the Ecological Society of America (ESA). For just $25 per year, you can become part of a network of 9800 professional ecologists worldwide, including fellow students. As an ESA member, you'll also receive ten issues per year of ESA’s top ranked journal Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, a first look at internships and employment opportunities posted online, discounted registration for the ESA Annual Meeting, and more. For additional information, please visit: ESA Student Membership.
Each year, the SEEDS program gives travel awards to SEEDS alumni, students who have participated in SEEDS and have gone on to graduate school in ecology. The alumni will attend the ESA Annual Meeting and serve as near peer mentors to the undergraduates. This year, six alumni were granted travel awards: Noemi Baquera, Amber Finley, Lauren McGee, Lewis Reed, Raynelle Rino, and Jeramie Strickland. Each month until the Annual Meeting we will highlight two of the alumni mentors.
I feel that the SEEDS Program is the ideal program for building lasting relationships with students, faculty, researchers, and professionals. I am proud to say that thanks to SEEDS and the ESA, I was fortunate enough to have received opportunities to attend graduate school and build on my professional endeavors. I am so excited about being a mentor to SEEDS students because it will allow me to give back to SEEDS and ESA. Also, my mentors are the primary reason for my success and I promised my mentors that I would follow in their footsteps and give back to the next generation of professionals and scientists. Mentoring is not just a temporary relationship; I feel that a mentoring relationship lasts a lifetime because the mentor and mentee help each other to grow. As a mentor, I will reach out to my mentees and help them feel comfortable about attending sessions, asking questions, and expressing themselves. I plan to build mentor/mentee relationships that will continue to nurture beyond San Jose. This will be my third ESA Annual Meeting! During my first meeting, I was somewhat intimidated by the title of the presentations, the abstracts that were submitted, and the high-profile scientists that were participating in the meeting. After arriving in Montreal and interacting with the students and meeting participants, I soon began to realize that the scientists and students are very nice, pleasant, and approachable. In addition, I was amazed that many of the scientists were extremely passionate about mentoring, bringing more diversity into the ecology profession, and last but not least, fun to be around. In summary, ESA Annual Meetings allow participants to network and build personal and business connections with diverse audiences. Secondly, the meeting gives students a chance to practice speaking in public and communicate their research and project ideas. I was able to get some valuable feedback on my future endeavors, which at the time was applying to graduate school and obtaining funding for graduate school. As a result, I was able to successfully compete for a full scholarship to attend Iowa State University (ISU). Currently, I am a graduate research assistant receiving a tuition waiver through the Graduate Minority Assistantship Program of ISU. Last but not least, the ESA Annual Meeting is fun and thrilling! Time will fly and before you realize it, the meeting will be over. The meeting may come to an end, but the relationships and bonds that are formed will last a lifetime. Best wishes.
This is who I am. This is who I want to be. A scientist. A socialist. A lover of nature and music. Of people and what they have to give the world. I am in love with the process and interaction and the beauty of organisms, adaptations, survival, and what makes it all possible. Through experiences, mistakes, and accomplishments my passions have remained resilient, enforcing the drive to become me. I am currently an MS student at San Francisco State University studying plant-animal interactions, specifically the interactions between sawfly galls on willows, aphids, and ants. I was born and raised in San Jose, California, and experienced firsthand “a changing world” in this environment. I received my BS from Humboldt State University in Arcata, California, where my experiences broadened my perspective of the world and gave me significant training as an ecologist. As I continue through this journey I hope to cross paths with others who share similar passions and take them along for the ride! Being around me means experiencing positive energy, good conversation, good food, good fun, and I must include good soul music, as I am a soul music enthusiast! I am Raynelle Rino.
Farewell from Jason Taylor|
This will be my last opportunity to converse with all of you as the Director of the SEEDS program. On May 25, I’ll sling a backpack over my shoulders and start hiking the Appalachian Trail, spending six weeks trekking though Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine. It’s been an honor and privilege to be associated with this wonderful program and as I prepare to move on to the next phase of my life, I’ve been reflecting on the past six years working with SEEDS. I have met so many incredible people and been blessed to watch as students graduated and moved into new stages of their lives, ESA leadership made diversity and SEEDS a priority for the Society, member volunteers offered their precious time and energy, funders provided the needed resources, and staff put their heart and soul into making the program a success. SEEDS is like a family to me, and the thought of losing that family is what I fear most about this transition. There have been innumerable great experiences with students, faculty members, and volunteers that have literally changed how I perceive the world, but there is one story in particular that I keep coming back to and I would like to share. About a year after I started working at ESA, I was visiting Sheldon Jackson College in Sitka, Alaska, and was asked to speak on some of the issues between Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) and Western science. I felt quite unqualified and was very nervous (especially when I noticed that the local public television station was there to tape it), but everything seemed to go pretty well. After the talk, an older gentleman in the audience, whose name I have long forgotten, came over and gave me some feedback on my presentation. First, he mentioned that my way of communicating (lecture style) was very Western science; if there was someone else with me who spoke in stories, we would perhaps meet the different needs of different audiences. Second, prayer and spirituality is important and can help overcome communication barriers. Third, that through daily activities (like offering tobacco over religiously significant sites) environmental degradation comes clear over time (for instance, observing lichen die-off due to acid rain). Fourth, TEK is, and has been, often shared between cultures and should continue to be shared with the scientific culture. I welcomed these comments and I asked how he thought I could better communicate with different cultures. He became quiet and reflective for a few minutes (I wasn’t sure if he was even going to answer me) and then he told me this story:
I grew up with my grandmother who was very knowledgeable about plants and we would go and collect them. Every night before I went to bed she would tell me to clear my head. She told me to think only good thoughts about other people and most importantly myself. When I woke up in the morning she would get me to wash my face and hands in cold water and tell me to think about the plants I was going to collect that day. I should think about the plant and know that the moment I woke up, that this plant knew that I was collecting it today. By thinking of this plant and waking up with a clear head, when I went to collect the plants I would be able to walk right to the plant and we would know. My grandmother told me that by collecting plants this way, I would begin to understand the health of people. I would be able to tell by their skin, hair, and sweat what plant they needed to heal. But that was just my grandmother.
At the end of the story he thanked me and quickly left the building. It was a
very abrupt end to our exchange and I thought to myself, ‘I have no idea what he
was trying to say!’ However, over the years I keep coming back to his words and
how I, in some cases inadvertently, took this story to heart. First, I have
learned that before communicating it is important to clear your head, focus on
what you want to say, think about who your audience is, and let that dictate how
you communicate with them. Second, it is important to know what you want to get
accomplished in a day; by acting deliberately you become more perceptive to what
audiences need and want. Over my time at ESA and with SEEDS I have tried to use
these communication skills with various levels of success. I’ve attempted to
relate to as many of the diverse participants as possible: students, faculty,
mentors, funders, and advisory boards. We're all a big family, and the way that
we communicate and relate to each other is one of the aspects that make this
program special. I look forward to stepping into my new role as SEEDS alumni.
Please feel free to contact me any time at email@example.com. Best wishes.