Early Career Mentoring Program at #ESA2016
We’re running a targeted Early Career Mentoring program again this year! Conferences provide unique opportunities for biologists to interact with others in their field; however, these opportunities are rarely structured to promote meaningful interactions between the next generation ecologists and more senior scientists. Access to strong mentors both within and outside of their main institution is critical to support early career ecologists and to help them gain the necessary skills to become good mentors themselves, while moving towards the next career stages.
The Early Career Ecologist Section has once again organized a semi-formal mentoring program that pairs early career ecologists (advanced graduate students and recent post-graduates) with established ecologists across career pathways during next week’s ESA Annual Meeting in Ft. Lauderdale, FL. Mentors and early career ecologist pairs will attend each other’s talks and plan to meet one-on-one during the meeting to provide feedback on the mentee’s presentation, discuss broad research, teaching, mentoring and work-life strategies, and potentially continue communication or collaboration after the meeting is over. We hope that this opportunity provides a valuable networking connection to provide feedback, share ideas, discuss ecology careers, and bridge generations of ecologists within ESA.
Look for the posters in our booth at the ESA annual meeting featuring our mentors and mentees. This mentoring program was made possible by a Long Range Planning Grant to the Early Career Ecologist Section from ESA and with thanks to the team that helped organize the program (Sarah Supp, Roberto Salguero-Gomez, and Jenni Geib from the Early Career Section; Scott Collins from ESA Leadership; and Daijiang Li, an alumnus of last year’s mentoring program). Mentees are provided with a small financial reimbursement to help them mitigate the costs of attending the meeting and to recognize the extra work that they are doing to participate in the program. We owe mentors a BIG thank you for volunteering their time!
More than 30 ESA members volunteered to be potential mentors for the program (Thanks!) and we paired 10 of them with the 10 early career ecologists chosen from the applicants to the program. We’d like to introduce this year’s mentor and mentee participants to you! We hope that this program initiates a larger discussion of early career mentoring within ESA, and creates a long-term network of strong established ecologist mentors and up-and-coming peer mentors for ecologists in transitional career stages.
Eli is a MSc. Candidate in Wetland Ecology at The College at Brockport. She is a field ecologist interested in applied and basic ecology. Her research assesses the effects of applied restoration efforts in Lake Ontario’s freshwater coastal wetlands for recovery of native sedge/grass meadow communities, which have been negatively affected by changes due to lake level stabilization. She plans to pursue a PhD and ultimately wants to lead interdisciplinary ecological research at the interface between theoretical and empirical ecology to inform conservation policy. Her Early Career Mentor is Jack Williams.
Jack Williams is the Director of the Center for Climatic Research and Professor in the Department of Geography at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. His research focuses on the responses of plant species and communities to past and future climate change. Research themes include novel climate, novel ecosystems, and the communities and climates of the last deglaciation as a model system for understanding 21st century climate change. His Early Career Mentee is Eli Polzer.
Katie is a Postdoctoral Researcher at Montana State University. She utilizes field studies, ecosystem models, and advanced quantitative approaches to examine how climate change and disturbance events affect plant communities. In addition to research, Katie also has a strong interest in teaching, mentoring, and science communication. Her Early Career Mentor is Erin Lindquist.
Erin is an Associate Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at Meredith College, an all-women’s institution in Raleigh, NC. She is the Program Coordinator for the Environmental Sustainability major at Meredith. With her undergraduate research students, she studies forest ecology, tropical ecology, and conservation biology. She is a member of the Ecological Research as Education Network’s (EREN; www.eren.org) Leadership Team and co-Lead Scientist on EREN’s Permanent Forest Plot Project. Erin and her EREN colleagues participate in collaborative research projects with undergraduates in multi-site, large-scale ecology. Her Early Career Mentee is Katie Renwick.
Sahas is a PhD Candidate in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at Cornell University. He is an evolutionary ecologist with broad interests in avian physiology, community ecology and biogeography. I currently work on birds in the Himalayas. I want to do research as well as develop programs for capacity building of young ecologists in developing countries. His Early Career Mentor is Doug Levey.
Doug is a Program Officer at the National Science Foundation (NSF) where he and colleagues manage the review of proposals submitted to the Population and Community Ecology cluster in the Division of Environmental Biology. Prior to arriving at NSF in 2011, he was a professor at the University of Florida. He is interested in plant-animal interactions, behavioral ecology of birds, and landscape ecology. His Early Career Mentee is Sahas Barve.
Lizz is a PhD candidate at Texas Tech University. She is interested in the ecophysiology of plants across environmental gradients and how ecophysiological traits differ between invasive and native species. Her research is focused on how nitrogen-use strategies differ between herbaceous invasive and native species in freshwater wetlands under different environmental conditions. Lizz is also interested in teaching, mentoring, and science communication. Her Early Career Mentor is Mark Norris.
Mark is an Associate Professor of Biology at Stevenson University near Baltimore, MD, a primarily undergraduate institution where undergraduate teaching and mentoring are emphasized. His research involves both forest community and ecosystem level analyses with respect to various natural and anthropogenic disturbances and management. The emerging theme in his current work is novel ecosystems resulting from invasive pests. His Early Career Mentee is Lizz Waring.
Avery is a PhD candidate in her last year at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi. Her research is on the inducible defenses of the Eastern oyster in response to crab predators. Avery always knew she wanted to study marine ecology, even growing up in the land-locked Midwest and while completing her Bachelor’s in Aquatic Biology at Eastern Kentucky University. She is equal parts excited and nervous about finally finishing school this coming May as she begins exploring opportunities for jobs outside of academia that will let her engage in outreach opportunities and SCUBA dive somewhere warm and beautiful. Her Early Career Mentor is Terry McGlynn.
Terry is a Professor of Biology at California State University Dominguez Hills. He uses experimental natural history to solve biological mysteries, most often involving colonies and communities of ants in tropical rainforests. He is interested in the professional development of junior scientists, fostering equitable representation in our academic community, and the greater recognition of the central role of scientists working in primarily undergraduate institutions. His Early Career Mentee is Avery Scherer.
Tim is a Senior Ecologist with The Wilderness Society based in Anchorage, Alaska. He is interested in spatial wildlife ecology and especially by movements and distributions of large herbivores in response to environmental factors and human impacts. Current research is on caribou responses to energy development and other human activity in Arctic Alaska and on factors influencing elephant movement patterns and impacts on vegetation and large herbivores in southern Africa. In his research he strives to produce strong science that makes a difference for conservation and management. His Early Career Mentor is Monica Turner.
Monica is the Eugene P. Odum Professor of Ecology and a Vilas Research Professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She researches ecosystem and landscape ecology, has studied the role of natural disturbances in Greater Yellowstone for >25 years, and land-use change and ecosystem services in Upper Midwest and Southern Appalachian landscapes. She is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and serves as President of ESA. Monica really enjoys working closely with grad students and postdocs. Her Early Career Mentee is Tim Fullman.
Juliet is a PhD candidate at the University of California Santa Cruz. She studies how and why plant phenology responds to climate by integrating long-term plant phenology observations in the field with inter-annual climate regimes, plant traits, and controlled climate manipulations. Her goal is to have a career in science education and outreach. She wants to work toward making science accessible for people from all backgrounds. She would also love to continue studying plants–and try to get people excited about plants! Her Early Career Mentor is Frank Davis.
Frank is Professor of Landscape Ecology and Conservation Planning at the University of California, Santa Barbara. He heads the Biogeography Lab, where his research focuses on California plant communities, the design of protected area networks, rangeland and farmland conservation, and the biological implications of climate change. He directs the LTER Network Communications Office, serves as ESA’s Vice-President for Public Affairs and is on The Nature Conservancy of California Board of Trustees since 2004. His Early Career Mentee is Juliet Oshiro.
Julian Resasco is an NSF Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Biology at University of Colorado at Boulder. His research focuses on how fragmentation and connectivity affect biodiversity. He primarily works in large scale experiments on insect communities. His Early Career Mentor is David Inouye.
David is Professor Emeritus at the University of Maryland, and has done research at the Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory in Colorado since 1971. His continuing project, began in 1973, is on environmental influences on the phenology and abundance of 120 flowering species and the pollinators and seed predators influenced by the effects of climate change on their food plants. He is Past-President of ESA, and has worked with the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services. His Early Career Mentee is Julian Resasco.
Rhea was recently hired as the Ecology Education Program Leader at the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies. She studied group interaction behavior of African Elephants in Addo Elephant National Park, South Africa (MS; Georgia Southern University) , the ecology of freshwater diatoms from the McMurdo Dry Valleys, Antarctica (University of Colorado’s Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research), and the costs and benefits of nesting associations in crows and magpies in Jackson Hole, WY (PhD; University of Louisiana at Lafayette). She is looking forward to expanding her experience with education and outreach through her new position at the Cary Institute. Her Early Career Mentor is Paulette Ford.
Paulette is a Research Ecologist with the USDA Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station in Albuquerque, New Mexico. She studies the role of disturbance in structuring southwestern ecosystems. She is responsible for a comprehensive research program on fire, drought, and restoration of plant and animal communities in shortgrass steppe, warm deserts, and pinyon-juniper woodlands. Her long-term (18-year) research uses an experimental framework to analyze the effects of season and frequency of fire on shortgrass steppe under climate change. Her Early Career Mentee is Rhea Esposito.
Kait is a PhD candidate in the Odum School of Ecology at the University of Georgia and is interested in understanding relationships between aquatic ecosystem structure and function. Her research examines how to link drivers and rates of stream metabolism and nutrient uptake at different spatial scales, and assesses how aquatic macroconsumers regulate ecosystem processes. She is passionate about teaching, team science, and community outreach. Her Early Career Mentor is Kathryn Cottingham.
Kathy Cottingham is a Professor in and Chair of, the Department of Biological Sciences at Dartmouth. She studies basic questions in aquatic ecology and works to apply ecological principles to problems in human and environmental health, especially contamination of our food and water supply. Her Early Career Mentee is Kait Farrell.
We think mentoring is really important for early career ecologists, and we’d like to thank everyone listed above for taking the time to participate! We hope mentoring continues to be discussed broadly among members of ESA during the Annual Meeting and throughout the year.