SEEDS Liaisons: Jana Eggleston (Old Dominion)

As one of the SEEDS Liaisons to the ESA Student Chapter, I will continue the trend of enhancing student involvement in the leadership of ESA. With respect to SEEDS, I fully support and applaud the “mission to diversify and advance the ecology profession through opportunities that stimulate and nurture the interest of underrepresented students to not only participate in ecology, but to lead.”

I received a B.A. in History years ago at Sam Houston State University after deciding the aerospace engineering curriculum at Texas A&M University in the 1980s was not for me. I had always had a passion for field biology, but it had not occurred to me I could be a biologist! I read Sea Change by Silvia Earle, E. O. Wilson’s Biodiversity, various writings of Sir David Attenborough and was totally hooked! I began working for the Virginia Aquarium and Marine Science Center while doing a M.S. in oceanography at Old Dominion University. During my M.S., I realized I loved to teach and upon graduation joined Tidewater Community College as an adjunct instructor of oceanography. At TCC I was able to take students out on a research grade vessel and throw perfectly good equipment overboard to demonstrate how to collect a myriad of samples. I realized the sampling felt hollow and that since we were continually collecting in several key spots in the Chesapeake Bay we should establish a time series. Why not? Funding.

I soon learned the trials and tribulations of adjunct faculty trying to get funding with only a M.S. degree. I dashed back to ODU and discovered that while a favorite professor of mine had retired, he was still taking on students. I joined Dr. Robert K. Rose to gain a PhD in Ecological Sciences and am currently in my third year. Surprisingly, I am not studying oceanography and while still in a coastal ecosystem, I am working in community ecology.

In southeastern Virginia, we have the Great Dismal Swamp NWR. No kidding! It gets its name from George Washington and in the 1700s, he attempted to drain and clear the swamp to use the incredible timber resource for ship building. I am working on a site that had been cleared, drained and turned over to agriculture. This site is undergoing aided succession by The Nature Conservancy and we have been monitoring it since 2005. Our monitoring program has mainly consisted of the small mammal community, but I have added in components of vegetation, as well as a bit of modeling and simulation. I am interested in the temporal and spatial changes of the small mammal community with regard to vegetative succession, modeling our site, as well as developing mathematical modules and curriculum using biological topics for MPE 2013.


Back to ESA Student Section Officers Page