Testimonies from past officers

What's the best part of having served in the ESA Student Section? Other than the set of skills that have improved in me (e.g., organization, team work, social interactions, ease to present my research in a clear way...), I would highlight interacting with such a motivated group of young and brilliant ecologists, receiving advice from highly established figures in ecology (Chapin, Covitch, Powers...), and perhaps most importantly being able to see the bigger picture of ecology, that is, taking active part of the biggest ecological society in the world has allowed me to rapidly detect theoretical and applied research needs, and to fine-tune my research accordingly. My ecology network is comparable to that of an Avatar in Pandora.

Roberto Salguero-Gomez, Ph.D.
ESA-SS Chair 2009-2010
Postdoctoral fellow
Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research


For me the biggest benefits of being a part of the Student Section have been twofold. The first is that it has been a great way to interact with other students who are trying to figure out their own paths through this crazy thing we call science and how to balance it with this other thing we call having a life. It's been comforting to share our struggles, and gratifying to offer advice that I wish I had gotten. The other is that it has really put a face to 'Ecology' in a way that reading papers never could. Through the Student Section, it becomes a lot easier to interact directly with the people that are trying to help shape the discipline. Clifford Geertz said 'man is an animal suspended in webs of significance he himself has spun'. It's been a privilege to get a chance to hang out with some of the big web-spinners of Ecology and see how the web is woven.

Naupaka Zimmerman
ESA-SS Chair 2010-2011
ESA-SS Vice-Chair 2009-2010
Ph.D. Student
Stanford University


One of the best things about being a member of ESA's SS is realizing how easy it is to be a part of something bigger than yourself. When I say "easy" here I don't mean unchallenging or effortless, but instead accessible and achievable. Being in the SS gives you the support needed to take on the challenges of affecting real change. It makes you realize how important your voice is. For this I will always be grateful.

Aurora MacRae-Crerar
ESA-SS Treasurer 2010-2011
Ph.D. Student
University of Pennsylvania


Having a voice and using that voice to make a difference is often one of the greatest challenges of being a student, and in life. The biggest surprise of being an officer of the Student Section was discovering just how powerful, respected and interal we are to the Society as a whole, and among seasoned and world-renowned ecologists and scientists. It is stimulating to be a part of a group of intellectual and creative minds that work together to get things done.

Andréa Kuchy
ESA-SS Secretary 2009-2010
ESA-SS Vice-Chair 2010-2011
Ph.D. Student
Oregon State University


In the beginning, I was reluctant to serve ESA-SS officer. During my first ESA meeting, I was asked to be the chair of the Student Section and I declined. On my flight home from the conference, I told my research advisor that I had been offered the position. He told me to take the position and not look back - the benefit of becoming integrated into the ESA community early-on will far outweigh any cost associated with the position. So I became chair of the Student Section and it changed my life. In this position, I felt like a part of the scientific community, instead of just an apprentice to it. I've met the best friends of my life through ESA and I continue to meet more every year. ESA showed me the power of getting smart people who are motivated by the same ideas to work together and create a beacon of ecological ideas for the world. My experience with ESA has been nothing short of inspiring and deeply satisfying.

Jenny Talbot, Ph.D.
ESA-SS Chair 2007-2008
NOAA Climate and Global Change Postdoctoral Research Fellow
University of Minnesota

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