Melinda Pruett-Jones, Executive Director
Melinda Pruett-Jones applies her decades of experience leading mission-based conservation and science organizations to advance AOS’s vision for ornithology. Her previous roles include Executive Director of Chicago Wilderness, VP for Applied Research at Chicago Zoological Society/ Brookfield Zoo, and Director of Major Gifts at The Field Museum. Melinda also has a research background in the ecology and population biology of birds.
Crystal Ruiz, Director of Operations & Administration
Crystal joined AOS in March 2015 and holds a BS/BA degree in accounting and Certified Association Executive (CAE) credential. Prior to AOS, Crystal worked as an administrator at a regional-based environmental non-profit and as an international accountant in a private firm. She enjoys looking at the big picture and figuring out how to successfully roll out programs while keeping the lights on and people smiling. Photo by KayBee Photos.
Chris Mulvaney, Membership & Data Operations Manager
Chris joined AOS as in independent contractor in 2017 and transitioned to a full-time role with the Society in January 2019. Previously, he served thirteen years with Chicago Wilderness, a regional conservation alliance of more than 200 organizations, where he helped to foster partnerships, facilitate regional biodiversity recovery strategies, and develop and monitor metrics toward collective impact.
Mark Penrose, Managing Editor
Mark originally served as managing editor for The Auk under three editors: Kimberly Smith, Spencer Sealy, and Michael Murphy. After a break, he rejoined the newly established joint publication of The Auk: Ornithological Advances and The Condor: Ornithological Applications in 2014. Over the years, Mark has worked on everything from journal management to design and layout to typesetting. He is a Jersey boy and a long-suffering Jets fan.
Christine Schmidt, Communications & Marketing Manager
Christine joined AOS in June of 2020. For more than 25 years, she’s worked as a communicator and marketer, developing communications plans for various organizations, including governmental agencies, nonprofits, and both private and publicly traded corporations. She has co-developed and deployed NASA-mission-based STEAM curriculum in K–12 and institutional environments across the U.S., while mentoring a new generation of female science educators. When she’s not avidly enjoying the Colorado outdoors, sustainably gardening, or practicing yoga in her free time, she’s likely working on illustrations for her children’s books about birds.
Lauren Gates, Event Coordinator
Lauren joined AOS in March 2021, after moving from Atlanta to Chicago. She has been in the non-profit world for more than 10 years and is extremely passionate about wildlife and environmental conservation. Before joining AOS, she spent the past eight years working as an event specialist for Zoo Atlanta, where she was responsible for coordinating all large-scale, signature events. Her event planning experience spans everything from Broadway theater conventions to beer festivals to traditional naming celebrations for both sets of Zoo Atlanta’s twin Giant panda cubs. In her free time, Lauren enjoys traveling, photography, and hiking with her dog, Momo.
Mint Jang, Administrative Assistant
Mint joined AOS part-time in August 2019 and assists staff with day-to-day operations. She hails from the Peachtree state of Georgia, loves to travel (especially for food!), and enjoys following rabbit holes of information. Her current areas of interest include sustainable living and traditional food cultures.