2023 Candidate Daniel Stover
Program Manager (Environmental System Science)
U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Science
Candidate for: Member of the Governing Board
I am a plant ecologist with expertise in plant ecology and rhizosphere systems. I received my MS in Environmental Plant Biology from West Virginia University where I studied wetland genotype x environment interactions, and later received my Ph.D. in Ecological Sciences from Old Dominion University where I studied the effects of elevated CO2 on scrub-oak root systems using multiple novel non-destructive techniques. After completing my post-doc at Florida International University and Florida Gulf Coast University, I led a citizen science program at the Earthwatch Institute’s North America Regional Climate Center focused on forest response to climate change.
For the past 13 years, I’ve worked as a program manager in the DOE Office of Science, leading the Environmental System Science program that supports foundational research on terrestrial ecology, Hydro-BGC, and critical ecosystems, such as the Arctic, boreal and coastal interfaces. This position has enabled me to contribute to the ecological research community through strategic planning workshops, hosting merit review panels, evaluating research needs, and encouraging collaborative research opportunities. Additionally, I have continued to hone my leadership skills at DOE while serving as the acting Division Director and as the Senior Advisor to the DOE Office of Scientific Workforce DEI.
I have provided leadership to our community though my past role as chair of the Carbon Cycle Interagency Working Group and as a co-coordinator of the Second State of Carbon Cycle Report. I also serve as a deputy principal representative to the US Global Change Research Program that coordinates climate change research activities across the 11 federal agencies. It is my hope that I can continue to serve the ecological research community by contributing to the future direction of ESA as a member of the Governing Board.
What interests, experience or skills would you bring to this position?
I am excited this opportunity to continue serving and contributing to the growth of ESA. I’ve had the honor to serve ESA is several ways including as the Chair of the Soil Ecology section (2019-2021). As a member of the ESA Governance subcommittee, I contributed to redesign the leadership structure that increases opportunities for members to participate in leadership roles. Additionally, I served on the ESA Council Leadership working group (and later as the Past Council Chair) that redefined a stronger role for the ESA sections to contribute to the successful society operations and business. In 2022, I chaired the ESA Awards Naming committee that recommended new procedures for the fair and inclusive naming of ESA award.
I have dedicated much of career to bringing diverse groups of scientists together to advance our field. An example of this passion is the “Accessing Research Funding from Federal Agencies” workshop I’ve organized at the past seven ESA annual meetings. This session brings early career and underrepresented scientists together with funding agency representatives to increase awareness for funding opportunities and grant submission processes. My hope is to reduce the barriers for access to research funding. Finally, I have a strong commitment to diversity and DEIA efforts. I’ve been fortunate to organize and host the LGBTQ Networking Lunch at the annual meeting for the 10 years. This event provides a safe space for LGBTQ ecologists to discuss current issues in diversity and inclusion.
How would you support ESA’s mission? How would you plan to promote DEIJ in ESA membership and activities if elected?
I will support ESA’s mission by continuing the development of new processes to reduce the barriers for participation in both the society and ecology as a profession. A renewed commitment to proactive mentoring is critical to every ecologist and the addressing issues with the retaining at-risk STEM talent essential to solving tomorrow’s challenges. My efforts will focus on developing ESA resources that enable best practices for both mentor and mentee roles and that lead to positive outcomes and growth for everyone. I seek to enhancing our growing Career Central activities to include discussions on how to foster non-traditional career development pathways, including a focus on alternative contributions to ecology beyond academia.
Furthermore, ESA’s “expand the tent” efforts have been outstanding, but we still have room to continue promoting DEIJ. For example, the development of a safe and inclusive field work cultures is undervalued. Every ecologist, regardless of career stage or demographic identity, deserves the right to participate in field/lab research without fearing for their physical or psychological safety. I will work with our membership to conduct listening sessions and workshops to help identify current challenges and best practices to ensure the safety of early career and under-represented ecologists. By developing new partnership with other societies, federal agencies, and NGOs, we can develop training, outreach, and advocacy opportunities that ensures safe, diverse, and inclusive environments for our membership.