Advisory Board Biographies
SEEDS is delighted to present our advisory board, many just beginning their two year term. Here are descriptions of what each member of the board is doing in their current positions and their hopes for SEEDS students and the program in general.
As Education Coordinator for Stanford’s Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve (JRBP), I am responsible for the Jasper Ridge education program, including Stanford university classes, teacher professional development, community education, and K12 outreach with local schools http://jrbp.stanford.edu/. Since 1998, I have worked closely with members of the Muwekma Tribe on various projects and workshops at JRBP and I advise the SEEDS Stanford chapter which was established in 2007.
Currently, I am working together with Professor Rodolfo Dirzo, SEEDS alum Raynelle Rino, Stanford SEEDS students and others with the Redwood Academy of Leadership (REAL) program at Redwood Continuation high school in Redwood City, CA. The REAL program is an ecology-based education program funded by the Stanford K12 Initiative. The REAL program provides experiential learning focused on the restoration of the Cordilleras Creek and the understanding of riparian ecosystems.
I also live part of each year in Chicxulub Puerto, Yucatán, Mexico, working with Proyecto Itzaes http://www.proyectoitzaesusa.org providing educational resources to Maya communities.
I am honored to be part of the SEEDS Advisory Board and hope that through my participation I will be able to further the mission of SEEDS and strengthen connections for SEEDS students in research opportunities and graduate school.
I work as an environmental education and interpretation consultant and my clients include universities, and governmental and non-profit organizations. My consulting work encompasses the development and evaluation of environmental education programs, feasibility studies of conservation programs, center planning and development, long-range planning, and exhibits and interpretive materials design. I am also the Executive Director for a new non-profit organization, Plan C Initiative, whose mission is to empower communities to develop ecological landscapes in urban areas.
The energy and vision brought by the SEEDS students and alumni at the ESA meeting this year was incredible. I am confident this support network will continue to expand to motivate and serve many future ecology students. I am looking forward to contributing to refining the niche and focus of the program, and to see its continual growth. I am particularly excited about the potential of the many initiatives that SEEDS alumni continue to develop, and about their mentoring of other students. I am also looking forward to the development of the Mexico Program and the High School chapters.
I am pursuing my PhD at Arizona State University in Sustainability Science. I am interested in biogeochemistry, ecosystem services, ecological economics, and land-use change. The sustainability program allows me to simply examine environmental problems with an interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary approach. My hope is that SEEDS provides students from diverse backgrounds with a supportive and intellectually challenging community that allows them to thrive in the field of ecology. Also I think SEEDS can greatly help the ecological community by offering new perspectives, leadership, and innovative techniques towards tying research to local communities.
I am recently retired from United Tribes Technical College and have relocated to Durham, NH, the site of UNH, one of the top five universities in the U.S. in the application of Remote Sensing to environmental studies, especially the science of ecology. My wife, Marla Striped Face-Collins is the recipient of a NASA Research Fellowship to UNH, commencing work on her Master's degree in Natural Resource Management with an emphasis on Remote Sensing Applications. I will be doing some professional development work myself and am currently pursuing research partnerships between the tribal colleges and universities (TCUs) and several groups here at UNH. I have no intention of sitting on the porch in a rocking chair and watching the grass grow or currently, the leaves turn. After Marla completes her graduate work, we plan to return to the Northern Great Plains and assist the Lakota, as well as other Tribal Nations in the region, find ways to better manage their vast natural resources.
Continue Michael Collins...
I am deeply honored to serve on the SEEDS Advisory Board and strongly support the mission and goals of SEEDS. As a campus chapter advisor at UTTC for four years, I have had a first hand opportunity to see the wonderful benefits, opportunities and resources this organization strives to provide to budding ecologists and related scientists. Marla, as student campus representative, and I established the chapter at UTTC and have seen the program grow nationally to award winning levels. I am humbled, yet proud to be affiliated with SEEDS and ESA.
I wish to see the organization to continue to grow and expand its activities onto new campuses, especially those which emphasize serving underrepresented minorities. I also desire to see a graduate level extension of SEEDS designed to continue to foster professional growth as alumni of the undergraduate program pursue advanced degrees. Sustainability issues and funding of activities are always important and need to be addressed for the long term as well as for current needs. Also, I want to see SEEDS provide education, training and experience in ethics as it relates to scientific research and education. Developing partnerships with such long-term "Big Science" as the NSF funded National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON) in conjunction with ESA is also desirable.
Outreach is important, most ecologists are turned in that direction at an early age. We as an organization, need to look for opportunities to use our membership to reach out to those 4th through 8th graders, or even earlier, to fan their passion for good science.
I am an Associate Professor of Biology at Hampton University, an HBCU. I currently teach freshman biology (the half of the year devoted to Mendelian and population genetics, evolution, the kingdoms of life, and ecology), medical entomology, Toxic and Venomous Animals, and zoology (currently, only the labs).
I spend a lot of time maintaining the Native Plant Butterfly Garden that was planted with funds from a SEEDS Special Project Award. I am also becoming knowledgeable about native pollinators of native plants, with ongoing research in the garden.
My hope for our students is that they come to realize that they themselves are important to the health of the environment. I hope that every SEEDS student makes at least one small lifestyle change that causes him or her to ‘tread more lightly” on the planet.
I also hope to convince them that careers in ecology are every bit as noble as careers in medicine, and that “helping others” can be accomplished as well.
I recently completed my doctoral work in the Department of Integrative Biology at the University of California, Berkeley. I now work for SimBiotic Software, a educational software company dedicated to improving science education. I am also a postdoctoral affiliate at the Scheller Teacher Education Program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, a lab group focused on the design and implementation of new educational technology. My research will assess the efficacy of new computer-based educational tools at teaching biological topics, and will help identify common student misconceptions about important areas in biology.
I have been a part of the SEEDS program for many years, and have benefited from my participation in many ways. As the program expands to include a broader range of students, both in age and in geographic location, we will need to ensure that we continue to provide support to all of our members. To accomplish this, we will need to maintain connections between our newest family members and prior participants, and work to gain new streams of financial support. I believe in the mission of SEEDS, and know that SEEDS is succeeding in many ways. With the dedication of our members, and the support of ESA, I know that we can continue this success in the future.
I am fortunate to have one of the best jobs in the world. I work as a scientist with the USDA-ARS (Agricultural Research Service) on issues related to rangeland ecology and management. My office, lab and ‘home’ field station are in southern New Mexico, and I have collaborative research projects throughout the United States. At home, I am working with many others to increase our understanding of the factors contributing to differences in the resilience of desert ecosystems. This knowledge serves as a basis for preventing land degradation, and for developing ecologically-based remediation systems for lands that are already degraded. My national work is designed to develop more cost effective land health assessment and monitoring systems that are sensitive to changes in the capacity of the land to support diverse ecosystem services, including air and water quality, and wildlife habitat. I am also working internationally in China, Mongolia and Latin America to help various organizations improve their ability to assess and monitor the status of their lands, and to identify the biophysical and socieoeconomic factors that are limiting sustainable development.
In addition to the opportunities to do interesting research, one of the great things about the federal government is that we are not permitted to take on paid consulting positions outside of our jobs. This helps increase the public’s trust in the work we do and ensure that our science-based recommendations are not clouded by potential conflicts of interest.
The only significant downside to my job is that there are so many wonderful opportunities that it’s hard to decide which to pursue. The result is that I, like many of my colleagues in both government research and academia, am frequently overcommitted.
My hope for SEEDS students is that they will find their way to a life that is as rewarding and fulfilling as my own has been. One of the wonderful things about the SEEDS program is that it exposes students to a wide variety of potential career options in ecology and, I hope, helps show that it is possible to be happy in a large number of different positions. When I was offered my current position, I was told that I would be required to focus on monitoring and assessment, rather than restoration ecology (which was more interesting to me at the time). Because I had had many SEEDS-type experiences, I was confident that I could learn how to make the position as interesting and rewarding as one focusing on restoration, and perhaps even find a bit of time (admittedly often nights and weekends) to diversify.
Our evolving economy and the world’s need for a constantly evolving environmental workforce mean that it is difficult to predict what positions will be available in the next 5-10 years. It is virtually impossible to know what positions will be available to a particular individual. I hope that SEEDS will continue to help students to identify the range of potential opportunities, and how to find ways to contribute in positive, productive ways through as many of these opportunities as possible.
The SEEDS program is pleased to announce that we are launching a new SEEDS photo/video gallery in honor of an excellent scientist and person, Dr. Gerald Selzer www.esa.org/seeds/albumPhotos/ . The Organization of Biological Field Stations (OBFS) gave SEEDS a generous donation in Dr. Selzer’s name, with which we purchased a video camera to document SEEDS events. We are grateful for this excellent medium of capturing the energy of SEEDS, especially because it comes in honor of a great man. Dr. Gerald Selzer was a NSF Program Officer for the Field Stations and Marine Laboratories Program. He was a champion for cultural diversity at field stations. We are deeply grateful for the scientists like Gerald Selzer for supporting underrepresented students as they blaze the trails of their career path, because this support really matters to help students know they belong in ecology. To read more about Dr. Selzer, you can find his bio on the OBFS web site www.obfs.org/Gerald.html.