Ornithologists don’t fit into a single mold.
We work in all types of places, from academia, to museums, to government agencies, to non-profit organizations, to corporations. Some of us are researchers, while others are policy makers or advocates, managers or administrators, educators or executives, curators or conservationists—and many of us fit in multiple categories. Some of us may not even call ourselves ornithologists, although our work touches birds and bird conservation. And of course, we come from a broad range of geographies and backgrounds and we each bring unique abilities, perspectives, and interests to our field and community.
One of the American Ornithological Society’s (AOS’s) many roles in the science and conservation community is to highlight our different members, their interests, and their accomplishments. Our achievement awards program recognizes ornithologists from across the globe for exceptional professional accomplishments, impactful publications, and service to the AOS and ornithological community.
Beyond showcasing our members’ science, we also support a strong community by celebrating our members as individuals, each with our own strengths, challenges, backgrounds, interests, and of course quirks! Our storytelling events at the AOS annual meetings highlight our early professional members and draw connections between the professional and the personal, showcasing our unique yet relatable experiences to deepen our connections. Now, we are launching a “Faces of AOS” campaign to highlight the broad spectrum of AOS members, provide opportunities for recognition and connection, and personalize the field of ornithology. Each month, we will showcase one of our AOS members and learn about their goals, their interests, and a fun fact or two! Check out Jarome Ali’s profile—Jarome was selected as our February profile for the “Faces of AOS” series.
Although the AOS is a scientific society, our role goes beyond science and research. Part of our mission is to enrich ornithology as a profession, and a key component of this is creating a strong and inclusive community that welcomes, supports, and celebrates a broad diversity of individuals. From our 2022 culture survey, we know that we need to do a better job of making a broader range of ornithologists feel valued at the AOS, and we need to create a stronger sense of belonging for a broader community of ornithologists. Highlighting our members, their interests, and their stories is one small step towards creating that broader sense of connection and belonging.
Ornithologists don’t fit into a single mold—and our diversity enriches ornithology as a profession. Thank you for being part of such an interesting community, and thank you for sharing your stories and your voice.