2022 Candidate Stephanie Hampton
Deputy Director, Biosphere Sciences and Engineering
Carnegie Institution for Science
Candidate for: ESA President-Elect
My research focuses on the effects of climate change and other human impacts on globally distributed lakes, with recent emphasis on integrating winter dynamics and microbial processes into freshwater ecology. However, my interests are much broader than freshwater ecology, luring me into diverse professional roles. In particular I have been attracted to service roles to help my research community broadly advance its work. Until May 2022 I served as the division director for the Division of Environmental Biology at the U.S. National Science Foundation (2018-2022). This position allowed me to serve a broad research community across ecology, biodiversity science and evolutionary biology while also collaborating across Divisions on cross-cutting initiatives. While at NSF, I remained a professor in the School of the Environment at Washington State University (2014-2022). At WSU, I also was director of the Center for Environmental Research, Education and Outreach (2014-2018). Prior to WSU, I was deputy director of the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (NCEAS) from 2006 to 2014. At NCEAS, I focused on advancing large-scale collaboration, data synthesis and data sharing, greater access to informatics tools and data, STEM workforce diversity, and partnerships to implement novel nationwide and international educational programs. I recently accepted a position with Carnegie Institution for Science, as deputy director of the new Division of Biosphere Sciences and Engineering which aims to integrate biology from molecular to global scales. I received a B.A. from the University of Kansas (1993), a M.S. from University of Nevada – Las Vegas (1996), and a Ph.D. from Dartmouth College (2001). My service to ESA includes chairing the Aquatic Ecology section (2011-2013), as well as membership on the Science Committee (2013-2015), Sustainability Science Committee (2014-2015), and the Steering Committee for improving American engagement with the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (2014-2015).
What interests, experience or skills would you bring to this position?
My career has centered on service through leadership in interdisciplinary academic centers, federal service as a NSF division director, and in varied committee and editorial roles. Two areas of deep interest are especially relevant: diversity, equity, inclusion and justice (DEIJ), and open science. First, in all of my roles I have taken concrete steps to promote DEIJ. For example, at NSF I collaborated across Divisions to create programs supporting a more diverse workforce at multiple career levels. Second, I have led efforts to increase access to informatics tools and data, and to foster open science (e.g. as a community engagement leader in DataONE). With 15 years of administrative experience, 4 years of federal service, two decades of international research collaboration, and a strong commitment to education and outreach, I would be well positioned to work with ESA’s superb professional staff and the society at large to advance a variety of interests for the ESA community.
How would you support ESA’s mission? How would you plan to promote DEIJ in ESA membership and activities if elected?
The landscape for science is rapidly shifting, and ecologists must be prepared not only to accommodate change but to proactively shape our enterprise for greatest impact. Our community is challenged to take a proactive stance in several directions simultaneously: STEM workforce diversity lags behind that of society at large; interdisciplinarity is urgently needed for environmental solutions; the diversity of career tracks for ecologists is now recognized as extending far beyond the academic tenure track; and open science is becoming mainstream. Professional societies are the standard bearers for our disciplines, with the power to promote both cultural and structural changes that shape the path by which the discipline will evolve. On all of these issues, ESA has demonstrated the momentum for positive change. In this position I would be especially interested in initiatives that promote 1) a more diverse membership and workforce, building on ESA successes not only with our award-winning SEEDS program, but also as a leader among professional societies motivated to create more inclusive professional environments; 2) multidisciplinary, multi-sector collaboration to engage ecology in addressing environmental challenges, 3) training for data-intensive research and a diverse portfolio of careers, and 4) sustainable pathways for professional societies to embrace open science.