Women in Science Mentoring Award Recipients
The influence and support of persons established in their careers is essential for young scientists to achieve high levels of accomplishment, job satisfaction, and career advancement.The Women in Science Committee presents an award to recognize the efforts of established scientists and professionals in the agronomy, crop, soil, and environmental sciences who have encouraged the advancement of women and girls in our sciences based on their record of teaching, mentoring, and acting as a role model for advancement.
The Women in Science Committee nominations for the 2016 mentoring award are now open. The award is given based on: 1) demonstration of consistent leadership and support for the advancement of women and girls in agronomy, crops, soils, and environmental sciences; 2) service as a mentor, role model or key player to encourage and advance girls and women in agronomy, crops, soils, and environmental sciences; or 3) work to stimulate change in the social conditioning of girls and women with regard to our sciences. The nominee need not be a member of ASA, CSSA, or SSSA. Awardees are nominated by peers and selected by committee. Nominees must be living at the time of nomination.
Mentoring efforts may be demonstrated by such things as the number of women mentored in academic, government, or industry positions; assisting students in presenting and publishing their work, finding financial aid, and providing career guidance; providing psychological support, encouragement, and strategies for maintaining work-life balance for early-career professionals in agronomy, crops, soils, and environmental sciences; and continued interest in the individual professional advancement of women scientists.
Nomination packets must consist of:
1) A short summary (no more than 300 words) of the nominee’s credentials and activities with regard to their advancement of women in the agronomic sciences (nominee need not be a member of ASA, CSSA, and/or SSSA);
2) A letter (no more than 2 pages) from the nominator (must be a member of ASA, CSSA, and/or SSSA) outlining the major accomplishments of the nominee;
3) Two outside letters of recommendation supporting the nomination (no more than 2 pages each) from ASA, CSSA, and/or SSSA members;
4) A short vitae (2-page maximum) for the nominee with an additional page for current (past 5 years) publications and/or significant accomplishments.
The nominator letter should document mentoring using, for example, information on the number of women mentored in academic, government, or industry positions; accounts of assisting students in presenting and publishing their work and finding financial aid, providing career guidance; psychological support, encouragement, and strategies for maintaining work-life balance for early-career professionals in agronomy, crops, soils, and environmental sciences. The nominator letter should demonstrate the mentor’s continued interest in the individual professional advancement of women scientists.
2014 Mentoring Award Winner
Dr. Helga Van Miegroet is a professor at Utah State University and earned her PhD in forest soils and mineral cycling from the University of Washington. Her research interests include forest carbon and nutrient dynamics; the effects of management, vegetation shifts, and climate change on soil carbon storage and quality in wildland soils; and mineral cycling in wildland ecosystems. In addition to her strong research, teaching, and mentoring accomplishments, Dr. Van Miegroet has made a concerted effort throughout her career to promote women in science. In 2004 and 2012 she was honored as the College of Natural Resources Undergraduate Research Mentor of the Year. Since arriving at USU she has been a major advisor to 6 PhD and 14 MS students. Of these 3/6 PhD and 11/14 MS students have been women. Dr. Van Miegroet has also mentored or advised more than 40 undergraduate students in research projects or as research assistants in her lab. In addition, Dr. Van Miegroet began graduate studies in sociology in August 2013 to investigate the role of gender in the advancement of women in academia. Her goal is to use the credentials and knowledge from her pending degree to raise awareness in the scientific community of our collective biases and how that affects the career trajectories of women.
2013 Mentoring Award Winner
Dr. April Ulery is a Professor of Soil Science in the Plant and Environmental Sciences Department at New Mexico State University. She received her B.S. degree in Geology from University of Redlands and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Soil Science from the University of California, Riverside. Dr. Ulery’s interdisciplinary research program addresses both agricultural productivity and environmental issues by quantifying soil properties such as salinity, nutrient status, and metal contaminant concentrations in areas using treated water and agricultural waste. She has served as an associate editor for Soil Science Society of America Journal and Vadose Zone Journal. She was elected Fellow of the Soil Science Society of America in 2012 and has served on the SSSA Board of Directors representing the Soil Mineralogy Division and served as Chair of that division. She has received several teaching awards and has served on over 35 graduate student committees at NMSU.
2012 Mentoring Award Winner
Dr. Lee Burras, Professor of Agronomy at Iowa State University (ISU) and a nationally recognized teacher, mentor and researcher, received the 2012 Mentoring Award from the Women in Agronomy, Crops, Soils, and Environmental Sciences Committee. Dr. Burras was lauded for mentoring a generation of highly successful, articulate, and engaged professional women, with his former students now holding such positions as assistant/associate professor, sustainability coordinator, NRCS soil scientist, NRCS area resource soil scientist, PhD fellow, and director/associate director of non-profit/NGOs.
Former students praised Dr. Burras’s dedication to developing each student academically, professionally, and personally. The award was presented to Dr. Burras at the Women in Agronomy, Crops, Soils, and Environmental Sciences luncheon on October 23, 2011 at the ASA, CSSA, and SSSA Annual Meetings in Cincinnati, Ohio.
2011 Mentoring Award Winner
Dr. Ronnie Coffman, International Professor of Plant Breeding and Director of International Programs at Cornell University, received the 2011 Mentoring Award from the Women in Agronomy, Crops, Soils, and Environmental Sciences Committee. The award acknowledged Dr. Coffman for the tremendous energy that he has devoted to enhancing the careers of many women scientists in agriculture and plant breeding, both in the United States and Internationally. Dr. Coffman was lauded for making a remarkable difference at pivotal points in many women’s careers around the world due to his advocacy, humility, and encouragement; and for recognizing the importance of gender equity when working toward a food-secure world. The award was presented to Dr. Coffman at the Women in Agronomy, Crops, Soils, and Environmental Sciences luncheon on October 18, 2011 at the ASA, CSSA, and SSSA Annual Meetings in San Antonio, Texas.
2010 Mentoring Award Winners
The 2010 award was presented to Dr. Robert Schwartz and Dr. Ozzie Abaye. Both were cited for their extraordinary efforts in the career development of women. Dr. Schwartz is a Research Soil Scientist with the USDA-ARS in Bushland, Texas. He has mentored many women in the agronomic sciences due to his assistance in their professional development, patient training, and thoughtful guidance. Most notably, Dr. Schwartz realizes the additional demands that affect women with families. He has embraced these challenges leading to a focused yet family friendly work environment. Dr. Abaye is an Associate Professor in the Crop and Soil Environmental Sciences Department at Virginia Tech. She has a strong record of promoting and assisting women in the agronomic sciences through her roles as an advisor, committee member, teacher and confidante. Dr. Abaye’s efforts and leadership have been an instrumental part of increasing the participation of women in positions of leadership and graduate study at Virginia Tech.
2009 Mentoring Award Winners
The 2009 award was presented to Dr. J. ‘Anita’ D. Dille and Dr. Debbie A. Soukup. Dr. Dille, Professor in the Agronomy Dept., Kansas State Univ., was recognized for efforts which included leading the large NSF-ADVANCE project which involved all the women agronomists at KSU plus two associated departments to study problems unique to women agronomists and provide mentoring; mentoring many women graduate students who are now employed by academia, industry and government both in the USA and abroad; establishing a “Learning Farm” at KSU; and teaching a capstone course for the Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences major. Dr. Soukup, an environmental consultant in southern California and presently an Adjunct Professor in the Geosciences Dept., Univ. of Nevada-Las Vegas, was recognized for her contributions in teaching numerous classes, symposia and workshops that she developed; mentoring many faculty and graduate students in academia, government agencies and consulting firms; showcasing the research of early career female scientists; and being a positive role model. Pictured at left: Anita Dille (left) and Debbie Soukup (right)
2008 Mentoring Award Winners
The 2008 award was presented to Dr. William Koskinen and Dr. Kimberly Garland-Campbell. Both were cited for their extraordinary efforts in the career development of women. Dr. Koskinen is a Research Soil Scientist with the USDA-ARS unit in St. Paul, Minnesota. He has mentored more than 30 women in the field of pesticide chemistry, many of whom have gone on to distinguished careers of their own. Particularly noteworthy are the number of high school and undergraduate students who have worked in his laboratory and subsequently decided to pursue advanced degrees in science. Dr. Garland-Campbell is a Research Geneticist with the USDA-ARS unit in Pullman, Washington. She has a strong record of promoting and assisting women in the sciences through her roles as an advisor, committee member, teacher and confidante. Kim has implemented family-friendly work policies that have enabled women with families to continue on their chosen career track.