I was invited to kick off a new blog series on Conservation Corridors, a website dedicated to sharing and promoting new and applied research on landscape corridors/linkages. This first posting can be found here. Share and debate!
This last month has been wonderfully packed and intense. AAAS Fellow orientation was two weeks of information-packed, thought-provoking lectures & activities about all sorts of aspects of the history, current status, and the realities of working for the federal gov’t. In addition to tips about networking and furthering one’s personal career trajectory. So much still to unpack from what I absorbed during those two weeks. And then diving into USAID culture and getting to know at least a hint of what it means to be a “climate change advisor” for the Africa Bureau. I have so enjoyed meeting the variety of personalities and backgrounds that feed into the messy, exhausting, exhilarating process of furthering USAID’s mission. Next month, I hope to have a better handle on what projects into which I can really sink my teeth!
Bid farewell to San Diego, road-tripped across the country, found a new home, went shopping for business clothes (tax-deductible expense, right?!), and started to fall for DC. Oh yes and I edited two papers, started tweeting as part of my professional persona (@MaritWilk), and had a couple of business lunches with colleagues I wish to connect with further here in DC-land, discussing SCB, webinars, collaborations, and more. Whew. I only accomplished all this because I hunkered down in the past two weeks while looking for housing and worked. I have only just started to do some sight-seeing here in my new chosen city. And now the real transition will start: First real 9-to-5 in my life and wearing business clothes, no less!
My dissertation, finished in September 2013, has been selected for the Shapiro Award for the Department of Plant Sciences! I got a letter just recently and am flattered and honored by this distinction. [The letter was severely delayed as it first bounced to my parents’ house then was hand-delivered to my grandmother’s by said parents and then had to wait for me to arrive during my moving road-trip.] Established in 2007, the Shapiro Family Award for Excellence in Science is given out to one recent PhD graduates in each of the following areas: Plant Sciences, Agroecology, Nutritional Biology, and Ecology. Graduates are nominated by faculty and then selected by faculty panels. Quite an honor! Plus, my former labmate, Dr. Starry Sprenkle Hyppolite, won the Shapiro Award in Agroecology. A great time for the Young lab!
And I’m in DC! My AAAS Fellowship hasn’t officially started with USAID but I’ll be updating that info soon once it gets underway. AND plans to revamp this website and make it more interactive and engaging are in the air and getting more grounded every day. Exciting times!
This last month contained invigorating professional endeavors stacked on top of each other. I went to back-to-back SCB (Society for Conservation Biology) meetings, one in Suva, Fiji and the other in Missoula, Montana, and had a ball. I ran around wearing my “Conference Coordinator for SCB Chapters” hat (that’s a visual metaphor, folks) and reconnected with old faces and met many more new ones. I do so oddly love organizing and networking at those events! Plus I remain continually inspired by the people I meet through SCB, inspired to get more involved with the society and to be a better, more effective conservation scientist. Tacked on to those conferences were visits to friends in Samoa & Wyoming. Friends who are also colleagues so I gained insight into conservation planning in the sun-drenched Pacific Islands and carnivore conservation in some of the wildest stretches of the U.S. After all that excitement, I got back to San Diego and began preparing to pack up my life and transfer it to Washington D.C. What a month!
This month I could finally announce to colleagues, friends and family that I have a job and what a great feeling that was! I had actually accepted a position as an AAAS Fellow back in late April but didn’t feel right about broadcasting it until the paperwork was signed. But now it’s official and I’ve started gearing up for the big move, personally and professionally. I’ve also been gearing up for a back-to-back Society for Conservation Biology (SCB) conferences, one in Fiji and the other in Montana. As one of two Conference Co-Coordinators for SCB Chapters Committee, I’ve had a fair amount of planning on my plate for these big international meetings, trying to get Chapter leaders organized and make sure that Chapters play a noticeable role in the overall proceedings. Lastly but not leastly, I’ve finally re-vamped the third chapter of my dissertation to get that ready for publication. Was actually a bit of a struggle to get there because I simply had an emotional block. I had to get over the feeling that that research was over and done with after I’d turned in my dissertation to UC Davis. But I’m past that hump and also able to turn my efforts onto my projects from Australia. Grabbing all the loose ends!
I can now officially announce (because the paperwork has been signed!) that I will be headed to Washington D.C. this fall to join the ranks of AAAS Science & Technology Policy Fellows. Very, very cool program and I will be working for USAID in the Africa Bureau on climate change. What an exciting new adventure!
My month started off with a great week at University of Delaware where my colleague and friend Dr. K Ringelman (who will start his professorship at LSU this fall!!) invited me to give a lecture on science communication through film and the weekly departmental seminar. A good experience to revisit the basics of scientific film-making and for me to find new short science videos to exemplify the do’s (and don’t’s…). Then my month slowed down abruptly, professionally speaking, as I turned to the often wearying task of editing. Editing a manuscript that is in review and then re-opening the musty pages of my third dissertation chapter. Time to get that puppy out the door and submitted. However, it needs some massive re-hauling and trimming. More massive than I thought! So it goes.
The second chapter of my dissertation is online at Agriculture, Ecosystems, and Environment! This is my second sole-authored publication and represents the largest chunk of my field time during grad school. I wrote it to be highly practical and actionable but with enough theoretical development to back up the applied aspects. Enjoy!