Candidate for Member at Large: Kateri Salk

Kateri Salk

PhD. 2017 (Integrative Biology, Michigan State University, USA). BA. 2012 (Biology & Environmental Studies, St. Olaf College, USA)

Biographical Information

I am a limnologist and biogeochemist, with my bachelor’s degree from St. Olaf College in Biology and Environmental Studies and my PhD from Michigan State University in Integrative Biology. Since graduating, I have held positions as a postdoctoral scholar at the University of Waterloo and the Experimental Lakes Area, and a Visiting Assistant Professor of Water Resources at Duke University. I am currently an Aquatic Ecologist at the consulting firm Tetra Tech, where I lead the Ecological Analytics and Modeling group and maintain an adjunct appointment at Duke.

My research focuses on the biogeochemical responses of freshwater systems to stressors from local to continental scales. I employ a combination of field- and lab-based limnological techniques, data analysis, and ecosystem modeling to understand the drivers of water quality issues. To date, my work has focused on management-relevant water quality issues including nutrient cycling, harmful algal blooms, greenhouse gases, and PFAS contamination. Having worked in academia and consulting, I have experience leading fundamental and applied research efforts with scientists across the academic, government, nonprofit, and industry settings. I am most proud of my accomplishments in informing policy, developing reproducible data pipelines, teaching courses and workshops in aquatic science, and mentoring students.

Candidate Statement

I have been an active member of ASLO since I was an undergraduate, presenting a poster of my summer research. I have attended the annual meeting nearly every year since, and connecting with colleagues in ASLO as well as keeping abreast of the latest scientific advances has been a highlight of my professional career thus far. I have no doubt that the evolution of my career is thanks in part to the interactions I have had at ASLO meetings. I am at a stage in my career where I would like to contribute to the legacy of the society for others.

I served on the ASLO Early Career Committee from 2018 through 2020, during which time I contributed to meeting activities for early career members including mixers and workshops. I also led an effort to survey early career members on their current positions, geographic locations, and needs for professional development. This effort culminated in a panel discussion at the ASLO Puerto Rico meeting on How to Successfully Write Proposals and Receive Funding and an article in L&O Bulletin (ASLO Activities Focus on Meeting the Needs of Early Career Members). Following my term with the ASLO Early Career Committee, I served on the inter-society Early Career Committee for the Joint Aquatic Sciences Meeting in 2021. For JASM, I worked with other committee members from SFS and NALMS to coordinate each society’s goals for their early career members, design meeting activities around these goals, and coordinate sponsors for the events. I also attended monthly meeting planning and coordination calls, which gave me a huge appreciation for the amount of effort and planning that goes into planning a meeting.

I am keen to contribute to ASLO’s current priorities as a Member-at-Large as well as contribute my own ideas. I have been motivated lately to learn about successful strategies for running hybrid meetings, specifically how to help virtual attendees engage with the meeting while managing the practicality of high costs of live-streaming and navigating time zones. Recent conversations with colleagues around this topic have brought up potential ideas including virtual “together-spaces,” online discussion boards, and groups that not only engage together during the meeting but also continue to collaborate beyond the meeting. I am also interested in diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice efforts, particularly as ASLO enters an era when further engagement with a global membership is a high priority. Finally, inspired by my current industry position at a consulting firm, I would like to contribute to an effort to develop more meaningful connections among ASLO members across the academic, government, nonprofit, and corporate sectors. Engaging in this work seems especially important at present, given the expansion of professional career paths for graduate students beyond the traditional academic setting. This effort could be conducted in parallel with student, early career, and general membership, with activities tailored to each group.

Thank you for considering me for the ASLO board! I view this service as an opportunity to give back to a community I love as well as spend more time with a group of scientists I greatly respect.

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