Candidate for Member at Large: Amina Pollard

Amina Pollard

Ph.D. 2002 (Limnology and Marine Sciences, University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA)


Biographical Information

My interest in lakes began during a summer program for children: I looked through a microscope at a drop of lake water and saw that it was teeming with life. This early experience stimulated a curiosity and excitement about the complexity of the natural world that I enjoy to this day.

I was fortunate to work with remarkable people who fostered and expanded my research interests throughout my educational training. After completing my Ph.D., I took a post-doctoral and then a permanent position as an Ecologist at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

My work on aquatic ecosystems includes aspects of research, scientific assessments, and leadership. My research explores the natural and anthropogenic variables that help shape the composition of freshwater communities in lakes and streams. I am particularly interested in using this research to understand how freshwater systems change with environmental degradation. Owing to my career path, I am positioned to connect research to professionals responsible for making environmental management recommendations. I’ve worked on teams to develop scientific assessments that inform local and national policy questions. At the local scale, my research focused on developing methods to integrate community ecology insights into a decision-making framework that helped identify factors contributing to degraded biological condition in stream segments. At the national scale, I was part of a team that synthesized scientific literature in a report to describe the connectivity of streams and wetlands to downstream waters. This report provided a scientific foundation for the 2015 Clean Water Rule, which clarified the scope of the U.S. Clean Water Act, the primary federal law governing water pollution in the United States. For many years I led U.S. EPA’s National Lakes Assessment, which is a field-based program implemented in partnership with states and tribes to assess the biological and chemical condition of lakes in the continental U.S. I now serve as the Research Coordinator for U.S. EPA’s National Water Programs. This is a science leadership position, where I provide analysis and advice to senior officials on the research and science needed to inform decision, guidance, and policy recommendations.
Balancing these aspects of my work has been rewarding and allows me to engage with diverse communities of people on a wide range of questions about aquatic ecosystems.

Candidate Statement

As a community of limnologists and oceanographers, we have the opportunity to continuously improve our society to meet our current and future needs. I want ASLO to be an inclusive professional society that celebrates the contributions of its members. If elected as a Member-at-Large to the Board of Directors, I would contribute to ASLO’s continued success in three areas.

First, I would help shape diversity initiatives for ASLO’s membership. My objective is to support our current expansion of our international presence while simultaneously working to foster a diverse, equitable, and inclusive space for our members. I served as co-lead of ASLO’s Race Relations Task Force, which developed and presented proposals to the Board to institute member-focused activities supporting diversity and inclusion in ASLO. I would like to continue working on these reflective and sometimes challenging issues on behalf of the Society.

Second, I would help promote a Society that is inclusive of different career paths. People trained in limnology and oceanography pursue a wide range of professions. I think it is important for our Society to be broadly welcoming and serve as a meeting point for differing professional perspectives. As an agency-based limnologist, this is an important value that I would like to represent on the Board.

Finally, I would continue ASLO’s legacy of celebrating member contributions. I currently serve as ASLO’s Awards Chair. It is gratifying to work with the volunteer subcommittee members to recognize the achievements of fellow members. If elected, I would continue to lead this work while supporting a gradual transition of the responsibilities to a new Board member.

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