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Our Team



Nyeema Harris

Yale School of the Environment


Portrait image of Dr. Senay Yitbarek

Senay Yitbarek

UNC at Chapel Hill


Jasmine Crumsey Forde

University of Georgia

 Leadership Team (2024)


Portrait image of Dr. Karen Bailey

Karen Bailey

CU Boulder


Portrait image of Dr. Matt McCary

Matt McCary

Rice University



Gabriela Nunez-Mir

University of Chicago at Illinois

Senior Ecologist


Maria Miriti

Ohio State University


Portrait image of Sudan Kariuki 

Sudan Kariuki

Cornell University

Grad Student Rep

Portrait image of Briana Sealey

Braina Sealey

UT Austin


Grad Student Rep

Kristian Harris

Ohio State University


Mission Statement

The birth of the Black Ecologists organization was sparked by the high-profile police shootings of Black people from 2014-2016. Inspired by the Movement for Black Lives, the Black Ecologists organization developed this section of ESA to serve as a safe space for its members to address the many challenges that we face in academia.

Across departments specializing in ecology and evolutionary biology, African Americans are severely under-represented, earning less than 1.8% of PhD’s in 2014, while representing 13% of the American people. A persistent feeling among Black Ecologists is a lack of belonging in their departments and institutions. We are also more likely to be harassed while engaging in outdoor activities.

Black Ecologists not only need representation, but tools and networks that facilitate their inclusion in scientific and professional activities that can benefit their careers. This section aims to promote activities that pave the way for Black Ecologists to succeed.


Former Leadership Team Members

Co-chair (2021-2023)

Portrait image of Dr. Chris Schell

Chris Schell

UC Berkeley

Secretary (2021-2023)

Zakiya Leggett

North Carolina State University