Maria J. Gonzalez
PhD 1992 Limnology and Oceanography, University of Wisconsin, Madison USA
I joined ASLO as a graduate student in 1986. My involvement with ASLO includes co-chairing the organizing committee for the ASLO meeting in Puerto Rico (2011), co-organizing conference sessions and serving as a student mentor at several meetings. I am currently Associate Editor for Limnology and Oceanography Letters. I also served as Program Director at the National Science Foundation (Division of Environmental Biology; 2015-2017) where I championed early career scientists.
I became an aquatic ecologist focusing on temporary ponds during my undergraduate (Universidad Central de Venezuela) with the encouraged by excellent mentors. My research as a graduate student (University of Wisconsin-Madison) focused on mechanisms underlying zooplankton population and community responses to environmental stressors such as acid rain. I also discovered my love for zooplankton (rotifers!), and learned English during these years. As a postdoc (Michigan State University) and a faculty member (Wright State and Miami University) I have explored how population and community ecology are linked to environmental stressors such as exotic species introductions, eutrophication, and climate change, and have had the pleasure of working with an excellent group of graduate and undergraduate students. My research has been continuously funded since 1994 (NSF, USDA, National/Ohio Sea Grant and Ohio DNR).
I view a position as an ASLO board member-at-large as a tremendous opportunity. I would like to use my previous experience as part of a team effort to support the growth of our diverse international scientific community. I will be honest, I do not have refined or perfect ideas in terms of how our scientific society can evolve to benefit all members. However, I am a team player and I will keep an open mind in the search of a solid path of progress, and particularly listen to early career members, the future of our society. I can see myself contributing to the DEI work in ASLO. As a Latinx woman scientist, I will enthusiastically make my best effort to enhance the current and future DEI initiatives within the existing ASLO DEI framework of raising consciousness, creating platforms and tools to support inclusivity, and increasing participation and inclusivity of historically excluded members. Second, I have enjoyed the flow of scientific and instructional knowledge as well as the human connections during our scientific conferences from my early years as a graduate student to my current position as a professor. During this time, change and progress have been constant. As a member at large, I would be interested in exploring the incorporation of innovative aspects into the organization of ASLO conferences that will promote a better connection between in person and virtual audience during the meetings. In such efforts, I will keep in mind how such approaches can create a stronger and more inclusive communication network among ASLO members, in particular early career scientists and members from the Global South.