We are excited to announce the winners of the 2021 AOS Council election! The Council is AOS’s governing body, made up of member volunteers who oversee the society’s strategic direction, policies, budget, and organizational planning. Our four new Elective Councilors will be joining eight Elective Councilors and four officers (President, President-Elect, Treasurer, and Secretary). Andrew Jones ran unopposed and was re-elected as Secretary, and Matt Carling ran unopposed and was elected our new Treasurer. Our new members of Council will officially take office at the AOS & SCO-SOC 2021 Virtual Meeting. Congratulations to our newly elected members of AOS Council!
Matt Carling, Treasurer
Associate Professor, Department of Zoology and Physiology, and Curator, Museum of Vertebrates, University of Wyoming
Chair and then Co-Chair of Student and Postdoc Travel Awards Committee, 2014–present. Chair and then Co-Chair of Student Presentation Awards Committee, 2014–present.
Statement: As a graduate student, I joined AOS (then AOU) in 2003 and have considered it my home society ever since. As a student, I benefited tremendously from research and travel awards and connections I made at meetings. Because AOS was so supportive of me as a student, I volunteered to chair the Student/Postdoc Travel Awards and Student Presentation Awards Committee beginning in 2014. Over the past six years, I have, along with co-chair Morgan Tingley and Jen Walsh, worked hard to improve both the travel and presentation awards. This has included working with AOS leadership to greatly increase the amount of funding available for travel awards (but we still need more!), streamlining the application processes to make them more transparent and objective, and ushering in more efficient judging mechanisms that have allowed us to greatly expand the number of students competing for presentation awards while still providing feedback to all presentation award competition participants. I am proud of what we’ve accomplished. Moving forward, I am energized by the opportunity to help build and support programs that benefit the whole of AOS. This includes efforts to increase financial support for Ornithologists at all career stages and the on-going work to make AOS a more diverse and inclusive society. I am honored to continue my service to AOS by serving as Treasurer.
Emily Cohen, Elective Councilor
Assistant Professor, Appalachian Laboratory, University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science
Elective Member (2016); AOS Fellow (2019). Associate Editor for Ornithology (2019–present); AOS Scientific Program Committee (symposia, 2021); NAOC Scientific Program Committee (symposia, 2020); AOU Early Professional Committee (2014–2016); AOU/COS/AOS Communications Committee (2012–2019)
Statement: I see the collaborative nature of science as one of its greatest strengths and AOS has provided me with opportunities to learn from and generate new ideas with a community equally passionate about ecology and avian conservation. Halting the dramatic declines in the species we study and love will require new levels of collaboration and innovation among scientists with diverse perspectives. Since attending my first society meeting before graduate school, AOS has supported me through grants, mentoring opportunities, training workshops, and platforms to present my ideas and publish my work. The early sense of opportunity and community fostered by this society sparked my enthusiasm for the field and I have tried to ignite that spark in others through service to the society. I appreciate the work AOS has done in recent years to build a more inclusive environment. As an AOS council member, I will work with the society to continue to meet the needs of all current and potential future members and to be particularly welcoming to those who are just entering the field. This past year of challenges and isolation has highlighted the critical importance of our communities and support networks. As a member-led and member-serving organization, AOS can facilitate these crucial connections to support both ornithological research and those who conduct it. As our interactions are increasingly virtual, I will work with AOS to help continue to develop effective communication and collaborative opportunities that support members while helping to grow the society.
Andrew Jones, Secretary
William A. and Nancy R. Klamm Chair and Curator of Ornithology, Cleveland Museum of Natural History
AOU Recording Secretary 2008–2014; AOU/AOS Secretary 2014–present; Elective Member 2009, Fellow 2017
Statement: The AOS has been a key part of my professional career since I first joined (what was then the AOU) as an undergraduate. I first volunteered as Recording Secretary in 2008, and served in that role for six years. I was then elected to the Secretary position in 2014 and have continued to serve through the AOU and COS merger to form the AOS. As Secretary, I play an active role in the governance of the AOS, working with the elected officers and councilors, the AOS committees (particularly the Bylaws Committee), as well as our Executive Director. I manage communication among these groups as well as with the general membership. I am honored to continue serving the AOS.
Regina Macedo, Elective Councilor
Professor, Departamento de Zoologia, Universidade de Brasilia, Brazil
Elective Member (2007) and Fellow (2009) of AOU/AOS. Recipient of William Brewster Memorial Award, AOU (2020)
Statement: For much of my life I lived in an almost pristine environment, having moved as a small child to what was a frontier town, when the Brazilian capital was transferred inland to the newly inaugurated city of Brasilia. There were few buildings and roads, and only the occasional car. Brasilia is now home to about 3 million people. Pavement has replaced the savanna and its diverse wildlife. As a teenager I heard that well known statement from Baba Dioum: “In the end we will conserve only what we love, we will love only what we understand, and we will understand only what we are taught.” It deeply impressed me, and I came to believe that education and science were the means not only to improve people’s lives in Brazil but also, through a better understanding of our natural world, to achieve sustainability and conserve biodiversity. I entered academia with the intention of doing research and producing science, but more than that, I’ve always felt that my fundamental mission was to train and mentor students. A saying in Brazil, rooted in bird lore, captures this perspective: “A single swallow does not a Summer make.” I’ve always worked to fledge as many swallows as possible! Serving AOS is an opportunity to further expand the society’s influence across Latin America, promoting science and strengthening collaborative research.
Daizaburo Shizuka, Elective Councilor
Associate Professor, School of Biological Sciences, University of Nebraska–Lincoln
AOU Elective Member 2016. AOS presentation awards judge 2014, 2016, 2017, 2019
Statement: The AOS has been critical to my professional development. I have been lucky enough to meet many friends and mentors through the AOS over the years, starting with my first ever conference in Veracruz. But I also know the feeling of finding yourself on field research teams and in conferences where few others look like you or share your experiences. Over the past year, I have been inspired by movements led by Black birders and field researchers to reflect on how systemic racism acts as a barrier to inclusion, even to the simple act of watching and studying birds. This is a time when the AOS can distinguish itself as a professional society that truly pushes for greater racial justice, diversity, equity and inclusion. As a council member, I would champion policies and actions that will (i) help bring in students who have traditionally been excluded, (ii) empower members who have had little voice, and (iii) support and elevate students and early-career researchers from marginalized groups to help them launch successful careers. There is much work to be done. I will advocate for an all-hands-on-deck approach where all committees engage in collective efforts towards diversity, and I will prioritize supporting initiatives that make the most direct positive impact on students and early-career researchers right now and into the future.
Birds have always had the peculiar power to bring people together. Empowering our members to bring their whole selves to ornithology will help the AOS fulfill their mission to enrich the profession, and to advance the scientific study and conservation of birds.
Jennifer Walsh, Elective Councilor
Research Associate, Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Cornell University
AOS Elective Member, 2018. Editorial Board with Ornithological Applications, 2020–present; Co-Chair of AOS Student Travel and Presentation Awards Committee, 2019–present; Early Professionals Committee, 2018–present; Professional Ethics Committee, 2020–present; Meetings Coordination Committee, 2021; Presentation Judge, 2015–2018; Recipient of the Ned K. Johnson Early Investigator Award, 2020
Statement: The AOS has been my home society for almost 15 years and is the scientific community to which I feel the strongest connection. At the time I started attending conferences, I was the only graduate student in my lab group studying birds, and I often went to AOS meetings alone. While initially nervous, I was struck by how inclusive and welcoming the AOS community was to me and my peers. It was this vibrant and passionate group of scientists that inspired me as a young researcher and played a prominent role in shaping my career trajectory. As a student and early professional member, this support took many forms (mentorship from AOS members, student research and travel grants, caregiver grants, etc.), all of which made science and ornithological research more accessible. Given my experiences as a first-generation female scholar, I think it is of utmost importance that AOS continues to provide a safe, welcoming, and supportive environment while striving to promote accessibility, diversity, and inclusion. Moreover, I believe our commitment to engaging students and early professionals is of particular importance. My deep interest and commitment to these endeavors is reflected in my committee involvement within AOS. My recent efforts have focused on fostering involvement by student members and increasing transparency of the student presentation award process as a co-chair of the Student Travel and Presentation Award Committee, evaluating our collective view on society ethics as a member of the Professional Ethics Society, and my commitment to a safe and inclusive environment as a member of the Meeting Safe Committee at our upcoming 2021 conference. I am honored to continue my service to the AOS in this role and look forward to increasing accessibility and inclusivity within the society for years to come.