From an “Ecologist Directory” maintained by the ESA Education Office about 2004-2005. Profile circa 2004.
Position Professor and Director of Interdisciplinary Waste
Department Institute Natural Resources and Environmental Design Dept
Organization North Carolina A&T State University
When did you get interested in ecology? Who was most influential in guiding you into ecology?
I have been interested in ecological systems since my childhood. Dr. Fenton Gray (Retired Soil Ecology Professor) at Oklahoma State University was very influential as he helped guide me into the field of ecology. The role of organisms in soil formation was of great interest to me because of the various uses of soils.
Describe your route to a career in (or using) ecology. What challenges did you need to overcome? What was your training, and what positions have you held?
I knew a long time ago that the protection of ecological systems is essential to sound economic and personal well-being, which together form a foundation for a sustainable and secure future. After receiving a Ph.D. degree from the University of Nebraska, Lincoln, I decided that I would develop programs that would protect the environment. North Carolina A&T State University provided this opportunity.
I worked with my colleagues to establish the interdisciplinary Waste Management Institute (WMI) for the University, to connect students with the environment. Waste management concepts are infused across educational enterprise for life long learning. My current position title is Professor and Director of Interdisciplinary Waste Management Institute (www.ncat.edu/~edu). I also serve as the University’s Sustainability Officer. I teach interdisciplinary environmental science courses and conduct research in environmental processes and ecology.
How did you learn about ecological careers? What is your position title now?
My interest in ecological careers has increased through my involvement in the SEEDS (Strategies for Ecological Education, Sustainability and Development) program. I serve as the faculty advisor for the SEEDS chapter at North Carolina A&T State University. Working with students is always challenging, but very rewarding. I am currently a Professor in the Department of Natural Resources and Director of WMI.
What key advice would you offer a student today?
Students should keep an open mind and integrate ecology in their work. They should work in the primary area for which they are hired and also help agencies save thousands of dollars as well as the ecosystem. They should be well-rounded and be prepared to wear an “ecology hat” in the work place.
Ecological Educators should:
- Identify basic ecology education needs and practices.
- Facilitate the teaching of ecological concepts in schools.
- Communicate ecological concepts to the public through workshops and seminars.
- Foster business leadership of ecological practices.
- Link ecology to everyone’s work.