The Association for the Sciences of Limnology and Oceanography (ASLO) is pleased to announce that Leslie Townsell has been selected as the inaugural Race Relations Task Force (RRTF) Intern! The ASLO Race Relations Task Force was formed last year to assist members in dismantling the barriers that exclude Black, Indigenous, and People of Color from the aquatic sciences and aims to develop meaningful and actionable solutions to foster a more inclusive and equitable ASLO.
In February of 2021, the Task Force announced the establishment of an internship for a current graduate student, or recent grad, to support its activities. ASLO is excited to have Leslie join us in this capacity. Leslie will work closely with Task Force members and the Communications and Program Manager to moderate an upcoming online forum that will serve as a platform for ASLO members to converse on Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Justice topics. Leslie will disseminate her experiences with the RRTF to the broader ASLO and aquatic science community through our various communications channels, including blogs and social media.
Leslie received her B.S. in Biology from Spelman College, and later completed her thesis research at The Georgia Institute of Technology and obtained her M.S. in Biology from Clark Atlanta University. After working for a few years, Leslie enrolled at the University of Georgia (UGA). Currently, Leslie’s research in the Department of Marine Science at UGA explores the impacts of climate change on oyster aquaculture along the Georgia coast focusing on coastal acidification. Leslie’s goal is to increase the sustainability of Georgia’s coastal fisheries and aquaculture and promote healthy coastal ecosystems. She enjoys marine science because she loves being on the water and investigating what’s underneath it. While at UGA Leslie noticed the lack of Black scientists and wanted to do something about it. Leslie is passionate about increasing diversity in marine science which she does through her leadership role in Black In Marine Science, a non-profit which promotes and amplifies the voices of Black Marine Scientist and shines a light on the lack of diversity in the field. She is also an active participant of the UGA, Department of Marine Science, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) committee.
“As the new Race Relations Task Force forum moderator for ASLO, I hope to positively impact conversations surrounding diversity, equity, and inclusion. I look forward to addressing the hard to talk about topics needed to navigate the waters of being actively anti-racist in the aquatic sciences on a global scale,” Leslie said.
ASLO President Roxane Maranger says, “Through the Task Force, ASLO aims to create a more inclusive community where BIPOC members, among other historically excluded groups, feel completely welcome to bring their full authentic selves to our aquatic community. A more diverse and inclusive community will help amplify the science we create that will better serve humanity. The forum is one mechanism to help raise awareness and create the conditions that helps grow this broader aquatic community. We are fortunate to have such an impressive young aquatic scientist like Leslie join ASLO in accomplishing these goals and the ASLO Board is looking forward to working with her during these next 8 months.”
Leslie’s internship appointment began April 15 and will extend through November 2021. Please join us in welcoming Leslie to the team and keep an eye out on aslo.org for updates on her work!