2018 Yentsch-Schindler Award Recipient


Cayelan Carey (Virginia Tech)

The Yentsch-Schindler Early Career Award honors an early-career scientist for outstanding and balanced contributions to research, education and society. Cayelan Carey is the 2018 recipient of the Yentsch-Schindler Award for outstanding and balanced contributions to research on the causes and effects of cyanobacterial blooms, science training, and broader societal issues such as lake and reservoir management, drinking water policy, and public education. Carey is an Assistant Professor of Biological Sciences at Virginia Tech. The award will be presented at the ASLO Summer Meeting in Victoria, British Columbia in June 2018.

A highly productive researcher, Cayelan Carey has already made substantive contributions to our understanding of ecosystem ecology of mid-latitude reservoirs and implications for human health, landscape limnology, and the coupling of lake water quality to human activity and climate. In the past year alone, she’s published 15 papers and been awarded two new NSF grants. Carey obtained her PhD from Cornell University in 2012 and has been in her current faculty position at Virginia Tech since August 2013.

Carey’s research into the cyanobacterium Gloeotrichia began in 2004 when local lake association members noticed an algal bloom and brought it to the attention of researchers. Since then, engagement with local stakeholders has been at the core of Carey’s research program. For instance, Carey is lead Principal Investigator on a new project to use environmental sensor networks, modeling, and real-time ecosystem forecasting techniques to adaptively manage drinking water quality. Another current collaborative project investigates feedbacks between human and natural influences on the linkages between decisions made in land-use management, water quality concerns, and the actions taken by the public to protect lake and stream environments.

Carey has played a leading role in the development and growth of a global network of lake researchers, the Global Lake Ecological Observatory Network (GLEON). Carey co-founded, and was the first Chair of, the Graduate Student Association (GSA) within GLEON. Colleagues credit Carey with “shaping every detail of the GSA” which is now “being held up as a model globally for network training and science.”

Since her own days as a graduate student, Carey has excelled at teaching and mentoring. As a graduate teaching assistant, Carey developed new labs which she later developed with colleagues into an NSF-funded effort (Project EDDIE, Environmental Data-Driven Inquiry and Exploration) to collaboratively produce publicly available learning modules. Another of Carey’s new collaborative projects aims to develop undergraduate simulation modeling, distributed computing and collaborative skills as part of Macrosystems EDDIE, the next generation of Project EDDIE. Carey takes a professional approach to examining innovative teaching tools by carefully assessing the effectiveness of new methods and publishing the findings so others may benefit. Her mentorship abilities are excellent as well, as evidenced by her 2017 Virginia Tech Graduate Advising Award. In only four years at Virginia Tech, Carey has advised numerous undergraduates and had three master’s students complete their degrees; she currently has four PhD students and two postdocs in lab.

“Carey’s nominators noted that her ‘fundamental ecological research ties naturally and seamlessly to both her pedagogical interests and to her outreach to environmental managers.’ This integrative and balanced approach to science is what the Yentsch-Schindler Award is all about. Cayelan is an excellent example of an early career researcher who excels in all aspects of her career. We are thrilled to acknowledge her accomplishments with this award,” said ASLO President Linda Duguay.

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