2002 meeting in Tuscon, AZ

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Despite the fact that it was held at 7am, this year’s ESA Student Section business meeting was well attended. We focused on ideas for activities at next year’s annual meeting, as well as how to increase section membership benefits for students that don’t attend annual meetings. Many wonderful ideas came up during the discussion, those that were most popular are described below, others are documented in the future ideas section.

  • Workshop/discussion on science communication. The idea for this event came out of a discussion with Sonia Ortega of NSF, who is interested in working with student volunteers to organize an activity that would allow graduate students to interact with fellows of the Aldo Leopold Leadership Program (http://www.leopold.orst.edu/), a program that trains environmental scientists to more effectively communicate scientific information.
  • Workshop/discussion on the differences between preparing for, applying for, and working in a job with various types of academic institutions, including community colleges, small liberal arts colleges, and research universities. The idea for this event came from a discussion with Ken Klemow of the ESA Education Section, who is also interested in working with a group of students to organize this event.
  • Workshop/discussion on graduate student teaching. At this point, this is a fairly amorphous idea that could benefit from somebody interested in the topic taking charge!
  • Job/university recruitment fair. This would involve working pretty closely with Jason Taylor, Director of Education at ESA. The idea is to put together a more formal event where people who are hiring could be put in touch with those looking for jobs (instead of having just the job board set up, where people don’t have a chance to interact), as well as a forum for universities interested in recruiting students to have a presence. Again, the structure is fairly loose at this time, so anybody with good ideas is welcome!
  • Organizing lunches/dinners with ESA members. Many students expressed an interest in having the opportunity to participate in small lunches or dinners with their ecological “heroes”, something that the student section could potentially sponsor, but needs to be well organized.
  • In addition to planning activities for next year’s meeting, we discussed how to improve benefits for members who do not attend the annual meetings. Much of the discussion centered on continued development of the website. Though a site is currently up and running (http://www.esa.org/students/section), many of the links could be expanded. Examples of ideas that came up were: increasing resources such as information about funding, grad schools information, classic papers in ecology, etc.; an electronic newsletter; and developing an online discussion group. If anybody is interested in working on improving the website, volunteers are needed. There is a good infrastructure set up through ESA Headquarters that makes the site really easy to update even if you only know a little about web programming.

    Ideas for future meetings: student sponsored symposia, mentoring program, discussion on the benefits of a PhD versus Masters, women in science, negotiating an academic position, “role playing” job interviews, discussion on student funding sources, and discussion on giving a good poster/talk.

    Other ideas: joint mixer with other sections, article/section for students in ESA’s new journal Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, message board in the Student Lounge, add something to registration packet about student activities at the annual meeting.

    Compiled by Faith Kearns, Chair
    September 2002

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