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Meet our Governing Board

“I became chair of the Student Section and it changed my life. In this position, I felt like a part of the scientific community, instead of just an apprentice to it.”

— Jenny Talbot, 2008 Chair of the Student Section

2020-2021 Governing Board


Callie Oldfield

University of Georgia


As Chair, I communicate with ESA leadership and other Section leaders to ensure that the voice of students is heard. I am interested in building a community for students and forming new opportunities for involvement within the Section. I support our current initiatives that are focused on continuing to improve diversity and inclusion, informational webinars, and developing a mentoring program.


I am a Ph.D. candidate in Plant Biology at the University of Georgia. I received my BS in Biology at the University of the South, Sewanee. I study carbon pools and tree species compositions in forests impacted by wind disturbances and salvage logging. I am broadly interested in plant ecology, conservation, and teaching pedagogy. My hobbies include art (watercolors and pen) and spending time with my two cats Poppy and Fennel.



Josette McLean

Hampton University


As Vice-Chair, I will be communicating with the student liaisons and early career section, while training to become the 2021-2020 Chair. My overarching goal as a Student Section leader is to increase diversity and inclusion of students from around the world both within the student section and the wider ESA community.


I am a master’s candidate at Hampton University. My current research focuses on assessing the feeding ecology of Pacific lamprey through the use of molecular techniques. However, I have conducted research in a wide variety of ecosystems ranging from the tropical coast of the Caribbean to the temperate tundra of Alaska. My overall research goal is to increase ecosystem resilience to climate change induced stress and anthropogenic disturbances.





Arona Bender

Hampton University


As the Student Section secretary, I will coordinate bi-weekly board meetings with our officers to record and discuss our goals and objectives to serve our members’ best. Additionally, I organize the annual ESA meeting’s student mixer and assist with the planning and running of section events, workshops, and special sections. My main goal as secretary is to promote engagement and awareness of the plethora of resources that the Student Section of ESA has to offer students from various backgrounds, institutions, and academic levels.


I am a master’s student at Hampton University, majoring in Biology with a concentration in Environmental Science. I received my B.S degree in Biological Sciences from Georgia State University in 2019. My current research focuses on using molecular techniques to estimate the effective population size of leopard seals and understand how climate change affects their population abundance in the Antarctic Peninsula. Being born and raised in Guyana, I am passionate about reaching vulnerable communities susceptible to environmental changes that impact the marine ecosystem and livelihoods. In the future, I aspire to obtain my Ph.D. in marine science and contribute to the sustainable management and conservation of marine and environmental resources worldwide. My hobbies include traveling, swimming, reading, writing, and trying new things.




Janelle Layton

Oregon State University


As Treasurer, I am responsible for managing finances for the student section and communicating with the ESA’s Chief Financial Officer. My goal is to keep all of this organized, so we can appropriately use funds for travel, mixers, and other events needed for students.


I received my B.S. in Marine and Environmental Science from Hampton University and am currently a master’s student at Oregon State University studying Fisheries Science. My current research involves investigating the effects of climate change on early life history stages of Nassau Grouper. More broadly, my research interests align with the conservation and management of marine fishes. Outside of academics, I enjoy traveling, hiking, swimming, and watching new shows/movies on Netflix and Hulu.



Ajisha Alwin

University of Florida


As the Marketing/Outreach Director, I lead our marketing/outreach team and develop and maintain our website. I also develop student initiatives and co-ordinate planning of events, marketing, host/co-host events, and invite speakers.

As a member of the ESA Student Section Governing Board, my goal is to encourage DEI (Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion) among the students of the scientific community and to provide resources for students from diverse backgrounds to help them succeed in their careers.



I currently work as a researcher with the Karst Lab at the University of Florida College of Medicine studying the host interactions and the pathogenesis of the norovirus. I also work with ESA as a research investigator analyzing skills learned from undergraduate field research experiences and compare them to the skills employers expect for entry-level positions in field ecology/biology. My passion for ecology started from my childhood in India and I have been involved in several conservation projects, rallies, and volunteer cleanups.




LinkedIn Profile:



Past Governing Boards


Anjali Boyd: Chair

Callie Oldfield: Vice-Chair

Josette McLean: Secretary

Vanessa Blevines: Treasurer

Ajisha Alwin: Marketing/Outreach Director


Rob Crystal-Ornelas: Chair

Anjali Boyd: Vice-Chair

Emily Ernst: Secretary

Greg Chorak: Treasurer

Luke Lamb-Wotton: Webmaster


Kelsey Fisher: Chair

Rob Crystal-Ornelas: Vice-Chair

Luke Lamb-Wotton: Secretary

Greg Chorak: Treasurer

Leo Calle: Webmaster


Josh Scholl: Chair

Kelsey Fisher: Vice Chair

Anna Groves: Secretary

Rob Pecchia: Treasurer

Amanda Sorensen: Co-Webmaster

Leo Calle: Co-Webmaster


Winslow Hansen: Chair

Josh Scholl: Vice Chair

Kristin Michels: Co-Secretary

Jessica Klassen: Co-Secretary

Kelsey Fisher: Treasurer

Kika Tarsi Tuff: Webmaster


Dane Ward: Co-Chair

Kate Gallagher: Co-Chair

Winslow Hansen: Vice Chair

Nicole Boone: Secretary

Josh Scholl: Treasurer


Kika Tarsi Tuff: Chair

Dane Ward: Co-Vice Chair

Kate Gallagher: Co-Vice Chair

Dayani Pieri: Secretary

Josh Scholl: Treasurer


Joey Bernhardt: Chair

Kika Tarsi Tuff: Vice Chair

Dayani Pieri: Secretary

Josh Scholl: Treasurer


Jorge Ramos: Chair

Joey Bernhardt: Vice Chair

Dayani Pieri: Secretary


Naupaka Zimmerman: Chair

Jorge Ramos: Vice Chair

Dayani Pieri: Secretary


Jenny Talbot: Chair

“The biggest surprise of being an officer of the Student Section was discovering just how powerful, respected and integral we are to the Society as a whole […]. It is stimulating to be a part of a group of intellectual and creative minds that work together to get things done. ”

— Andréa Kuchy, 2011 Vice-Chair of the Student Section