Candidate for Student Board Member: Danny Szydlowski

Danny Szydlowski

PhD candidate. (University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA); M.S. 2021 (Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, USA), B.S. 2019 (Environmental Engineering, University of Notre Dame, USA)

Biographical Information

My name is Danny Szydlowski, and I am a third-year PhD candidate in Dr. Grace Wilkinson’s laboratory at the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Center for Limnology (CFL). My research interests include topics such as storms, algal blooms, heatwaves, and invasive species. I am particularly excited to start work this summer on the Cascade Project’s next whole-lake experiment on Peter, Paul, and Tuesday Lakes at the University of Notre Dame Environmental Research Center, where we will be fertilizing the lakes to study ecological resilience. Overall, I am an ecosystem ecologist, and I take a wholistic approach to studying aquatic ecosystems.

I have used an ecosystem ecology approach throughout my career in limnology, from working as an undergraduate on a whole-lake carbon experiment, to investigating the effects of invasive rusty crayfish during my MS, to starting whole-lake fertilization experiments during my PhD. My research interests have given me a deep understanding of the value of connecting across sub-disciplines within aquatic ecology, and I understand the importance of organizations like ASLO which make these sorts of connections possible. As a student board member, I will contribute to the planning, organization, and execution of events that continue to foster new collaborations in the aquatic sciences.

Candidate Statement

Even at this early stage in my career, I have greatly benefited from being a student member of ASLO through conference opportunities and the ASLO LOREX program, and I am thrilled for the opportunity to give back to an organization that has already given me so much. With leadership experience in communities across three institutions (during my undergraduate degree, my MS, and now my PhD), I am well-equipped to further the mission of ASLO. As a student board member I will support connections across the aquatic sciences while advocating for diversity, equity, and inclusion in our community and representing the organization’s students.

ASLO recognizes the importance of diverse perspectives in the aquatic sciences, which is a value I share and have worked to support. Across all my academic institutions I have sat on Q&A panels to demystify the graduate recruiting process and diversify the aquatic sciences applicant pool. As a member of the DEI committee at the CFL, I have pushed for changes in our recruiting processes to lower application barriers. When I was a co-instructor for our limnology laboratory course, I offered to meet with students outside of class time to discuss careers in aquatic science and how they can pursue their goals. Similarly, as a graduate fellow at UW-Madison’s Trout Lake Station, I mentored 15 undergraduate students from diverse backgrounds over the summer and provided them with weekly professional development opportunities. I want to take what I’ve learned from these experiences to help make ASLO a more equitable and welcoming place for aquatic science students.

Being an ASLO student board member will also require me to be a leader and voice for the students of ASLO, which I am well-prepared to do because of my past service and leadership positions. During my MS, I served on the Graduate Student Advisory Committee, an organization which planned social and academic events for graduate students while advocating their needs to the department. Currently, I am also a graduate student representative on a hiring committee, and I regularly attend departmental student government meetings, both of which have let me practice being a voice for graduate students at the CFL. During my PhD I have gained leadership experience planning social and academic events for the community while I was co-chair of two social groups, the CFL’s Limnology and Fisheries Society (LAFS) and our social committee. I have also mentored and led several field teams of undergraduates following my undergraduate degree, during my MS, and during my PhD. Next summer, I am looking forward to further improving my leadership skills by leading a larger team as we start the Cascade project’s next whole-lake experiment.

I am always growing as a person and as a scientist, and I know serving as a student board member will pair well with my current skills while also giving me new opportunities to grow as I pursue a career in academia. I see ASLO as my scientific home for decades to come, and I want to start contributing now.

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