Johnny Quispe was among a group of 11 underrepresented (URM) minority students who were selected for a “Rising TIDES” award by the Coastal and Estuarine Research Federation (CERF). Quispe is a candidate for a Ph.D. in ecology and evolution in the Rutgers School of Graduate Studies.
The Rising TIDES “Toward an Inclusive, Diverse, and Enriched Society” award enabled Quispe and his mentor, associate professor of landscape architecture JeanMarie Hartman—along with the other awardees and their mentors—to attend the CERF Conference Program in Providence, RI, in early November.
The students were selected for their commitment to broadening participation in coastal and estuarine science and management, as well as for their strong academic promise and relevant professional and extracurricular engagement.
“We were extremely impressed with both the number and the high quality of the applications we received,” says Hilary Neckles, USGS research ecologist, CERF president-elect and chair of the Rising TIDES selection committee. The federation received 75 applications from students based at institutions around the world, indicative of the competitive nature of the award. “We are excited to engage these exceptional students and their mentors in broadening participation in coastal and estuarine science, and we look forward to growing CERF’s URM mentoring program in future years.”
Through joint support of both students and mentors, this program enhances career development of URM students, ensure that students participating in the program will have sustained mentorship following the conference, help develop a community of practice for CERF members who are engaged in building diversity and inclusion within their own organizations and across institutions, and involve those who are already mentors of URM students in helping to transform CERF into a broadly inclusive society.
“Rising Tides has furthered my plans for a career in public service as I continue my education,” said Quispe. “This opportunity offered by the Coastal Estuarine Research Federation ensures that I will be better suited to lead in my field, make my work inclusive and innovative, foster future growth of underrepresented minorities in the sciences, and work towards protecting our coasts and natural resources.”
Hartman explained that the program provided effective training related to recruitment and retention of minority students and introduced her to numerous prospective graduate students. “It also provided an experience that was particularly pertinent to Johnny. I was impressed with the generous intellectual and critical support he received from many scientists and feel the program has left a significant, positive mark on his future in coastal and estuarine science.”
The Rising TIDES Conference Mentoring Program is part of a comprehensive new initiative to enhance diversity and inclusion in CERF and coastal and estuarine sciences. The 2017 Program is supported by a National Science Foundation award, which provides full funding for students and partial funding for mentors to participate in the 2017 CERF Conference. In addition to the full suite of scientific sessions and other conference activities, students and their mentors participated in a workshop with expert panelists and key CERF members and partners who are leaders in diversity, with the goal of inspiring and motivating URM students to pursue career pathways in coastal and estuarine science. Diversity, inclusion, and equity themes were infused throughout the regular conference programming for the benefit of all attendees.