New & Noteworthy



Archive for October, 2014

24 Oct 2014

Scientists Meet with State and Federal Lawmakers

Dozens of biological researchers and educators met with their lawmakers as part of the 6th Annual Biological Sciences Congressional District Visits event. This national initiative, organized by the American Institute of Biological Sciences (AIBS), encourages scientists across the nation to showcase for federal and state lawmakers the people, facilities, and equipment required to conduct scientific research. The NSC Alliance was a sponsor of the event.

“Biological research underpins innovations that touch the lives of Americans every day, from advances in food safety and security to better environmental management to improvements in human health,” said Dr. Richard O’Grady, AIBS Executive Director. “Scientists demonstrate these payoffs when they meet with their members of Congress or state legislators to discuss their research.”

This nationwide event enables scientists to meet with their elected officials in their local area rather than in Washington, DC or the state capital, and allows lawmakers to learn first-hand about the science and research facilities in their district. Meetings took place in cities and states across the country.

Scientists participating in the event discussed the importance of life sciences research with the individuals responsible for casting the votes that shape the nation’s science policy. Participants ranged from graduate students to senior researchers and educators.

“The visit was about information sharing,” explained Frank Kuserk, professor of biological sciences and director of the environmental studies and sciences program at Moravian College in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. “We wanted an opportunity to show [Congressman Charlie Dent (R-PA)] the many good things that we doing here at Moravian. Our students were nervous, but they did a terrific job of sharing their enthusiasm, answering his questions and interacting with him.”

In addition to NSC Alliance, the event was sponsored by the Botanical Society of America, Harvard Museum of Comparative Zoology, Organization of Biological Field Stations, Society for the Study of Evolution, and Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology.

Individuals in the 2014 event participated in an interactive training webinar. The program provided information about how best to communicate science to non-technical audiences, tips for conducting a successful meeting with an elected official, and information about trends in funding for research.

Highlights of the event include:

  • U.S. Representative Charlie Dent (R-PA) visited the campus of Moravian College and met with undergraduate students and faculty members involved in a research mentoring program;
  • The Cheadle Center for Biodiversity and Ecological Restoration at the University California, Santa Barbara hosted U.S. Representative Lois Capps (D-CA);
  • U.S. Representative Dan Benishek (R-MI) toured the University of Michigan Biological Station;
  • Tours of research facilities were arranged for two California state senators;
  • Faculty members at Texas Tech University and the University of Central Missouri met with their Representatives at local district offices;
  • Congressional staff toured the Otis L. Floyd Nursery Research Center at Tennessee State University, a new research facility at Harvard Medical School, and a natural history collection at Southeastern Louisiana University; and
  • Numerous other meetings were held with state elected officials and the staff of federal and state lawmakers.

More information about the Biological Sciences Congressional District Visits event is available at www.aibs.org/public-policy/congressional_district_visits.html.

16 Oct 2014

iDigBio to Host Second Webinar on Small Collections

The second webinar in a new series on managing small collections will be held on 13 November 2014 from 3:00-4:00 pm Eastern. This webinar will focus on small paleontology collections. Julie Rousseau, collection manager for the University of Alaska Museum, will discuss challenges specific to the digitization of small paleontology collections, and present data mobilization and self-promotion strategies to increase your collection’s visibility and use. Access “Small Fish in a Big Pond: Lesson Learned in Digitizing a Small Paleontology Collection” at https://idigbio.adobeconnect.com/scnet.

14 Oct 2014

Apply for Post-Doc Genome Fellowship

Applications are now being accepted for the Global Genome Initiative Buck Fellowship. The two-year fellowship includes a 55 percent time commitment to biodiversity genomic research and 45 percent commitment to other Global Genome Initiative related activities.

Fellows must propose to conduct research in-residence at the National Museum of Natural History in Washington, DC for 12 to 24 months. Applicants must have completed or be near completion of a Ph.D. Fellowships begin in February 2015 or later and pay a stipend of $48,000 per year, plus $4,000 annually for research or healthcare allowance.

For more information on how to apply, visit http://www.smithsonianofi.com/blog/2014/10/08/calling-all-gene-genies/.

10 Oct 2014

Upcoming Webinar on Small Collections

SCNet, iDigBio, and SPNHC announce a second webinar series focused on curation, digitization, and management of small natural history collections. The webinars in this series will feature several collections domains and preparation types, including but not limited to paleontology, entomology, vertebrate zoology, and botany, as well as museums that manage several small collections.

Each webinar in the series will include a 20-30 minute presentation by a featured speaker followed by 30-40 minutes of discussion. Meetings are virtual and accessible online at https://idigbio.adobeconnect.com/scnet. You may login by selecting “Enter as guest,” entering your name, and clicking “Enter Room.”

The first webinar in the series will be held on 16 October, from 3:00 to 4:00 p.m. EDT. Christy Bills, Invertebrates Collection Manager for the Natural History Museum of Utah will discuss obstacles small entomology collections face, how being small can be an asset, resources for digitization questions, funding resources, the importance and how-to of advocacy, partnerships, and collaboration.

03 Oct 2014

Candidates for NSCA Board of Directors

To: Natural Science Collections Alliance Members

Per the NSC Alliance By-Laws, I am writing to inform you that the NSCA Board of Directors has identified the slate of candidates to stand for election to the Board. The candidates are identified below.

If you wish to nominate additional candidates to serve on the Board, please contact me or send an email to rgropp@aibs.org no later than 5:00 PM eastern time on November 2, 2014.

Standing for election to the NSC Alliance Board of Directors:

- Dr. Joseph Cook, Museum of Southwestern Biology, Department of Biology, University of New Mexico (http://biology.unm.edu/)

- Dr. Robert Baker, Director, Natural Science Research Laboratory,Texas Tech University (http://www.nsrl.ttu.edu/)

- Dr. Rebecca Rundell, Department of Environmental Science and Forest Biology, State University of New York (SUNY) (http://www.snailevolution.org/)

- Dr. Gil Nelson, Department of Biological Science, Florida State University (http://www.bio.fsu.edu/)

- Dr. Shelley James, Hawaiian Biological Survey, Bishop Museum (http://www.bishopmuseum.org/)

Sincerely,

Scott L. Gardner
Secretary, NSC Alliance
H. W. Manter Laboratory of Parasitology
University of Nebraska State Museum
slg@unl.edu