While some people find bugs to be scary or gross, Dr. Roisin Stanbrook hopes to change that perception by showing how insects are critical to the conservation of our natural world. In addition to detailing her fascinating work with dung beetles, Stanbrook discussed how her non-traditional path to conservation ecology is an asset in the long run, and how she hopes to teach her students the same.
We spoke with Dr. Bala Chaudhary, assistant professor of Environmental Science and Studies at DePaul University, about her career, about how the lack of representation of people of color – both while she was in school and in her professional career – drives her to work toward creating a more equitable academic system, and she shared insightful ways that universities and labs can improve.
Recently, SciTeens partnered with Florida State University to offer a virtual Data Science Camp for high school students in Florida. Participants learned how to manipulate and analyze data in the Python computer language and present data at a college level. The students in the Ecological Data Science Camp explored data from the NEON program and had an introduction into techniques for importing and analyzing the data.
This month, Dr. Erin Hotchkiss talked with us about her current and upcoming projects, including a collaboration with NEON using sensors at NEON stream sites to investigate the relationships between terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems.
The National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (NCEAS) and NEON have developed an open resource onboarding document geared to support researchers beginning their postdoctoral work with NEON - it can be easily adapted for other early career scientists entering roles.
Our list of 'NEON Women to Watch' honors women we highlighted this past year whose educational and professional experiences provide a fascinating glimpse into women's paths in academic science, the crucial role of mentors and advocates in a student's development, and how the field can be more inclusive going forward.
The pandemic has created new challenges for educators—but that doesn't mean learning has to stop. The Ecological Research as Education Network (EREN) collaborated with the NEON program in 2020 to create a series of Flexible Learning Projects that enable students to practice hands-on field ecology wherever they are—on campus or at home.
AGU's Thriving Earth Exchange Program has welcomed the newest cohort of Community Science Fellows, and first in partnership with NEON! This cohort is comprised of field staff across 12 of NEON’s Domains. Beginning in February 2021, they will be conducting outreach to communities within their Domains, and ultimately working with them to launch collaborative, co-developed community science projects that produce on-the-ground impact through application of NEON’s data and resources.
SciTeens is the brainchild of founders Carlos Mercado-Lara and John Sutor, who started the organization in 2018 when they were high school seniors. Their mission is to make free STEM resources – including data science resources – accessible to all students through online curricula, outreach, and mentoring. They leveraged ecological data from the NEON program to create their first data science projects.
NEON and the Ecological Society of America established a NEON-ESA Early Career Scholars (NECS) program for 2020 to support a group of early career scholars attending ESA2020. The chosen scholars received registration to the Annual Meeting, which centered on the theme of "Harnessing the ecological data revolution," and benefited from virtual networking with NEON.
Dr. Harmon-Threatt, associate professor of entomology at the University of Illinois School of Integrative Biology, discusses how her mentors first opened her eyes to the possibility of pursuing a career in ecology and how she hopes to provide the same opportunities to her female students, especially those of color, to increase the representation of women of color in academia and the natural sciences.
The NEON program is excited to welcome our first cohort of Postdoctoral Fellows! Starting in January 2021, these three early-career scientists will be working in collaboration with NEON staff and the wider user community to leverage NEON data for scientific discovery.
Dr. Nyeema Harris, Assistant Professor at the University of Michigan, discusses her work in conservation biology with lions and large carnivores, community ecology, urban ecology, and global change biology. Her work has given her the opportunity to share access to ecological study with more women and people of color.
Dana Chadwick, post-doctoral research fellow at Stanford University, shares her experiences with mentorship, both as a mentee and as a source of support for her own students, and describes the importance of research opportunities around the world for building important skill sets.
Dr. Monica Papes, assistant professor and Spatial Analysis Lab Director at the University of Tennessee Knoxville, spoke with us about how an encouraging student advisor provided her with opportunities that changed the focus of her research, and how a more diverse department helps her to feel confident about her place in academia.
Jennifer Cotton , an assistant professor in the Department of Geological Sciences at California State University Northridge, who specializes in paleoclimatic and paleoenvironmental reconstructions of terrestrial ecosystems, shares with us her experiences with mentorship, both as a mentee and as a source of support and inspiration for her students.
Dr. Angela Strecker talks about her career path into ecology, describes how she’s learned to open up about her own experiences to help students, and talks about the important work she does related to invasive species’ impact on our environment.
In our conversations with female ecologists, we’ve heard themes about how to not only recruit women into STEM fields but also how to retain women in professional roles within scientific and academic institutions. The value of mentors for female students and early-career scientists cannot be overstated, for example.
Dr. Sydne Record's educational and professional experience provide a fascinating glimpse into women’s paths in academic science, the crucial role of mentors and advocates in a student’s development, and how the field can be more inclusive going forward.
In recent years, the persistence of gender disparities in STEM fields has become a concern for educators, research institutions and commercial firms. We asked Dr. Nancy Glenn about her experience as a woman in ecology and how the field can continue to encourage gender diversity.
What can a ground beetle tell us about the environment? Quite a lot! This diverse and ubiquitous family of insects provides a window into environmental health and change. Erik Oberg, a biologist at Yellowstone National Park, is leading an ambitious beetle-biodiversity initiative on the Northern Range of the park.
Dr. Paul Siri Wilson is shining a light on some understudied members of California's ecosystems: bryophytes. He and his students are creating a new ebook and sponsoring open microscope days to bring awareness to the mosses, liverworts and other non-vascular plants that most people take for granted in the landscape.
It's never too early to get kids interested in ecology—and Girl Scouts may provide the perfect opportunity. A troop of 6th graders is tackling important issues in habitat preservation and ecosystem change through a Girl Scout Journey focused on animals, ecology and NEON.
Laura Leyba-Newton has a big job overseeing the Engineering team, Cal/Val team and Audit Lab for the NEON project. Learn how she found her STEM path in our third interview of the NEON #WomeninSTEM series.
I’m Sarah Elemendorf and I'm a staff scientist at NEON. Together with other scientists and programmers, I develop algorithms for automated processing of the large volumes of field and lab data collected by NEON.
Dr. Ann Bartuska, Deputy Under Secretary for Research, Education & Economics of the USDA, highlights the importance of long-term ecological datasets and federal science investment in research infrastructure in the journal Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment.