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2023 Candidate Anjali Boyd

Anjali D. Boyd
PhD Candidate
Duke University

Candidate for: Member of the Governing Board

I am a Marine Ecologist, Educator, Entrepreneur, and an Elected Official. I received my B.S. in Marine Science from Eckerd College and I am currently a PhD Candidate at Duke University in the Nicholas School of the Environment. In addition to being a Dean’s Graduate Fellow at Duke, I am also a recipient of the National Science Foundation’s Graduate Research Fellowship, a Ford Fellow, an Ernst Mayr Research Fellow with the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute and a National Geographic Explorer. As a marine community ecologist, my graduate research focuses on testing and advancing ecosystem restoration and ecological theory with the objective of increasing the resilience and productivity of marine foundation species. I incorporate field experiments, transplant experiments, field surveys, and synthesis techniques in my research to examine questions grounded in ecological theory and global change drivers. Ultimately, I aspire to develop novel ecosystem-based restoration and management practices to restore foundation species world-wide.

I am fiercely committed to increasing the representation of women and ethnic minorities in ecology and ocean science fields and to elevating the voices and contributions of student and early career scientists. I served as an appointed member of the Ecological Society of America’s Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Justice (DEIJ) taskforce, a member of the Board of Directors for Black Women in Ecology, Evolution, and Marine Science, and I am currently the youngest Early Career Liaison appointed to the U.S. National Committee for UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development. Additionally, as the Director of iNviTechnology, I work with children under five-years old and K-12 students to combat the underrepresentation of women and ethnic minorities in STEM fields. I also serve as an elected official in my hometown of Durham, N.C. as Durham County Soil and Water Conservation District Supervisor.

What interests, experience or skills would you bring to this position?

Attending my inaugural ESA meeting in 2018 as a SEEDS student served as a springboard for my professional affiliation with the society. Since then, I have held numerous leadership positions, such as Vice-Chair & Chair of the Student Section, a student representative for the Publication, Meetings, and Diversity & Education committees, and an appointed member (by the Governing Board) of the DEIJ taskforce.

As Chair of the Student Section, I worked tirelessly to enhance undergraduate and underrepresented minority representation and involvement, which culminated in me creating the ESA Trailblazing Student awards. As a result, there was a historic increase in undergraduate and underrepresented minority participation with 100% of the Trailblazing Student awards and 51% of student travel grants in 2020 going to these groups. Additionally, in the section’s 20-year history, the leadership teams from 2019-20 through 2022-23 were the most diverse, with underrepresented minorities and undergraduates holding 73% and 33% of leadership roles respectively.

My strong connection to ESA, along with my wide range of leadership experience and solid understanding of how the society works, together prepare me to contribute significantly to the Governing Board. I am eager to use my skills to help ESA continue to grow and evolve in meaningful ways.

How would you support ESA’s mission? How would you plan to promote DEIJ in ESA membership and activities if elected?

As a prospective member of the ESA Governing Board, I am eager to build upon my previous efforts to further ESA’s mission and enhance Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, & Justice within the society. My multifaceted leadership roles over the past five years have provided me with an intimate understanding of ESA’s structure and diverse programs.

Harnessing this knowledge, I intend to actively advocate for a more inclusive and receptive environment for all members. I will work to pinpoint and address barriers that impede the involvement of students, scholars, and professionals from underrepresented backgrounds, while simultaneously working to create platforms to amplify their voices and contributions to the field.

Furthermore, acknowledging the dynamic nature of our community and the ways ecology is being reshaped by technological advancements, I will assist with the development of innovative programs to meet emerging needs. This includes establishing trainings, certifications, and programs designed to equip students and early career scientists with the tools necessary to excel in careers across a myriad of industries, both established and emerging. Through collaboration, engagement, and targeted action, I am dedicated to ensuring that ESA continues to be an inclusive and forward-thinking society that genuinely reflects and serves its diverse membership.