Candidate for President-Elect: Susanne Menden-Deuer

Susanne Menden-Deuer

Ph.D. 2004 (Oceanography, School of Oceanography, University of Washington, USA)

 

Biographical Information

I am a full professor, seagoing oceanographer and plankton ecologist at the Graduate School for Oceanography at the University of Rhode Island. My lab’s research efforts include examining how microscopic organisms affect the biogeochemistry of the ocean, particularly predator-prey interactions of singled-celled eukaryotic microplankton. I am involved in collaborative efforts to understand ocean ecosystem function, including serving as part of the NASA EXPORTS science definition team, as co-PI on both the EXPORTS and North East Shelf-Long Term Ecological Research programs, and as a participant in national and international field campaigns. Currently, I serve as a member of the Scientific Steering Committee for OCB and as an Associate Editor for the journals Limnology and Oceanography and Ecosystems and am a mentor for Mentoring Physical Oceanography Women to Increase Retention (MPOWIR). I am committed to justice, diversity, equity, and inclusion in STEM. My first employment after completing a Ph.D. at the School of Oceanography, University of Washington was as a lecturer at Shannon Point Marine Center, Western Washington University, USA in what was then called the ‘Minorities in Marine Science Undergraduate Program’ aimed at enhancing diversity in Marine Science. This appointment was transformative for my career path in many ways. Besides contributing to science leadership and service, I dedicate significant effort to science communication, including through art. My science communication goal is to enhance public understanding of how important the oceans are to the habitability of planet Earth, human health, and happiness.

Candidate Statement

It’s an honor to be nominated to run for President of ASLO. ASLO has been my scientific society home since I participated in my first meeting in the last millennium. I have served as an Associate Editor for L&O, and as a member-at-large on the ASLO Board, where I led the Early Career Committee. Through these experiences I am familiar with how ASLO is run and the challenges and opportunities ahead. I am motivated to help lead ASLO for the long term benefit of all members, current and future. ASLO has significant strengths as a professional society that need to be maintained. On the other hand, we continue to have persistent challenges to engage a diverse membership. ASLO has a responsibility to champion Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion. While enhancing ASLO’s utility to BIPOC scientists is key, there are further opportunities (e.g. accessible career opportunities for differently abled scientists, as our field relies on assistive technology (e.g. Remotely Operated Vehicles, Satellites). Going forward, I want to help support ASLO’s strength in connecting aquatic scientists of diverse backgrounds and create a sense of belonging so that ASLO can benefit from all voices. This will include listening, learning, identifying and removing existing barriers, and putting resources into recruitment and retention. Progress in these areas is a win-win situation, which grows the utility of our scientific expertise for diverse stakeholders and strengthens ASLO as a society for its members.

ASLO is operating in a rapidly changing landscape with respect to important member services: publications and meetings. The journals are premier outlets and rightfully occupy the top ranks among aquatic sciences publications. Members enjoy discounts on publications fees which are low in comparison to other journals. However, the funding model for publications is changing. Open access facilitates broad dissemination, but fees are often covered by individual researchers, thus competing with funds for mentees and research. As ASLO president, I will explore opportunities to reduce publication costs, prioritizing support for those for whom publication fees are a particular burden due to lack of support.

With respect to meetings, it is heartening to see that participation in meetings remains strong, despite the global pandemic that has physically separated us but has led to more connections as we are better equipped to connect virtually. The low C footprint and access makes virtual meetings attractive but missed networking opportunities, especially for early career members are a con. Going forward we need to identify and balance the pro’s and con’s to find the best future meeting format. The last few meetings allowed us to run the virtual meeting experiment and collect the data to facilitate the decision making.

During the pandemic, aquatic scientists have continued to discover and experiment under difficult personal and professional conditions. This tenacity and persistence driven by a love for what we do should be shared broadly and celebrated. It will show others just how fantastic and enriching pursuing aquatic sciences is. Our science is key to anticipating, mitigating and adapting to a changing climate and the ramifications of many anthropogenic impacts on aquatic habitats. If elected ASLO President, I would bring my scientific and leadership experience to maintain ASLO’s strengths where our society is strong and facilitate change where it is needed.

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