I became chair of the Student Section and it changed my life. In this position, I felt like a part of the scientific community, instead of just an apprentice to it.
— Jenny Talbot, 2008 Chair of the Student Section

2016-2017 Officers

Joshua Scholl (University of Arizona)


As chair I coordinate our energetic team of student leaders as we work on improving the professional development resources we provide and our presence and voice in the Ecological Society of America and ecology in general. I'm particularly determined to make headway on the digital resources provided to all students through our website. To this end I'll be working hard with my fellows officers and other talented students to bring you content on important topics including on-academic career pathways, programming, and communication. I also spearhead our exciting collaboration with the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) through which we hope to bring you a webinar series addressing hot topics in ecology among other things. Check out current UCS webinars here!   


I grew up in Melbourne (in Florida, not Australia) where I acquired my taste and curiosity for nature. My general research interests lie in population ecology and plant reproductive ecology which I currently pursue as a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Arizona in Tucson. My main research goal is to evaluate seed heteromorphism as a bet hedging strategy, or a strategy which helps plants cope with environmental unpredictability. Seed heteromorphism is a reproductive strategy in which plants simultaneously produce multiple, morphologically distinct seeds. I earned my undergraduate degree in biological science at Florida Atlantic University in 2013. My thesis was conservation based and focused on understanding the population dynamics of gopher tortoises in southern Florida. In my spare time I love to venture into other realms including the design of educational tools (e.g. ecomotionstudios.com), brewing creative beers and the outback (in Arizona, not Australia).

CONTACT INFO: scholl [at] email.arizona.edu


Kelsey Fisher (Iowa State University)


ROLE: One of my goals as vice chair is for the student section to have a stronger presence throughout the year as well as at the annual meeting. Currently, I help organize workshops and programs for the annual meeting, specifically a workshop for undergraduate students interested in attending graduate school. Additionally, each section/chapter of ESA has a student section representative that acts as a liaison between the groups. I lead coordination of student liaisons (Interested in becoming a liaison? Click here for more information). 

ABOUT & SCIENTIFIC INTERESTS:  I am originally from the east coast where I earned my B.S. in Biology from Widener University and M.S. in Entomology from the University of Delaware. I am currently a Ph.D. student at Iowa State University and a part of the Monarch Working Group working specifically with Dr. Steven P. Bradbury. To aid in conservation decisions, I am focused on understanding adult movement and landscape utilization in the monarch’s summer breeding grounds by employing genetic and radio telemetry techniques. 

CONTACT INFO: kelseyfisher2 [at] gmail.com


Anna Groves (Michigan State University)


ROLE: My role as the student section secretary is to organize and coordinate ESA Student Section activities and members. I will also be working with other members to coordinate activities and help with preparation of activities at the annual meetings.


I grew up in the suburban sprawl of Chicago, and fell in love with nature in books and on TV. Summer field tech jobs gallivanting around Illinois and Nevada nailed down my dream of an ecology, career, and I'm currently working on my Ph.D. in Plant Biology. I'm studying the establishment and ecology of tall-grass prairie restorations. I'm the president of my program's graduate student organization and love that I get real opportunities to make grad school a better place. I've lately discovered my true love of sharing science, and now have my eye set on a career in science communication, teaching, or science policy. I love choir, craft beverages, and playing dungeons and dragons with my favorite nerds. 

CONTACT INFO: grovesa2 [at] msu.edu

WEBSITE: http://www.annagroves.com

BLOG: http://www.plantpeopleblog.com

TWITTER: @annamgroves #scicomm #altac #withaphd

Rob Pecchia (Rutgers University)


ROLE: As treasurer, I manage the student section’s finances and communicate with ESA’s Chief Financial Officer.  In addition, I plan section events for annual meetings with fellow executive officers.


I am a doctoral student in the Graduate Program in Ecology and Evolution at Rutgers University. I study the risk of introduction, spread, and impact for a variety of taxa of invasive species. In general, I use birds as a model system because they have a long history of intentional introductions across the globe. Additionally, some bird species are also facing extinction due to the same processes by which invasive species are introduced. If we can identify patterns that describe how the most visible and well documented taxa are moved through various vectors preceding their invasion, then we can better identify the incipient routes for more cryptic invasive species.

CONTACT INFO: robert.pecchia [at] rutgers.edu

WEBSITE: http://robpecchia.com/

Amanda Sorensen (Rutgers University)


ROLE: As the section's co-webmaster, I manage our website and online presence to keep the membership abreast of the section's activities and to provide a resource to young ecologists. Email me for any comments, questions, complaints or compliments regarding the website.


I am a the fourth year of PhD Candidate of Human Ecology in the Graduate Program of Ecology and Evolution. My research interests broadly focus on socio-ecological issues in urban ecosystems and the public perceptions and interactions with authentic science in these systems. There is enormous opportunity for members of urban communities to engage with ecological science, not just for the benefit of the community, but as a benefit to the environment as well. Within these public participatory research programs, I am interested in how, why, and when individual of various backgrounds participate and meaningfully contribute to scientific projects. Additionally, what the outcomes are of these mutually beneficial partnerships between the public and scientists.

CONTACT INFO: amasoren [at] rutgers.edu

WEBSITE: www.amandaesorensen.com

Leonardo Calle (Montana State University)


ROLE: As the section's co-webmaster, I manage our website and online presence to keep the membership abreast of the section's activities and to provide a resource to young ecologists. Additionally, I am creating an online series of statistical coding and programming webinars for common questions using R.  


I am in the third year of Doctoral studies in the Ecology Department at Montana State University, Bozeman, Montana. I am advised by Benjamin Poulter, Prabir Patra, Dave Roberts, and Jia Hu. The overarching topic of my dissertation research is computer simulation modeling of global biogeochemical cycles, with a focus on terrestrial processes. My work mainly involves model development of the Lund Potsdam Jena (LPJ) dynamic global vegetation model (DGVM), coded in the C programming language. Ongoing research projects include (i) a new representation of secondary forest dynamics to more accurately represent sub-grid-cell heterogeneity in ecosystem function, (ii) a model-based evaluation of land use history (past land use and land cover change transitions) on carbon cycling via differential patterns of forest regrowth and equilibrium carbon stocks, and (iii) a model development and statistical analysis to disentangle patterns in atmospheric carbon dioxide, as observed from NASA’s Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 (OCO-2) greenhouse gasses observing satellite.

CONTACT INFO: leonardo.meiji [at] gmail.com

Past Officers


Winslow Hansen: Chair

Josh Scholl: Vice Chair

Kristin Michels: Co-Secretary

Jessica Klassen: Co-Secretary

Kelsey Fisher: Treasurer

Kika Tarsi Tuff: Webmaster


Dane Ward: Co-Chair

Kate Gallagher: Co-Chair

Winslow Hansen: Vice Chair

Nicole Boone: Secretary

Josh Scholl: Treasurer


Kika Tarsi Tuff: Chair

Dane Ward: Co-Vice Chair

Kate Gallagher: Co-Vice Chair

Dayani Pieri: Secretary

Josh Scholl: Treasurer


Joey Bernhardt: Chair

Kika Tarsi Tuff: Vice Chair

Dayani Pieri: Secretary

Josh Scholl: Treasurer


Jorge Ramos: Chair

Joey Bernhardt: Vice Chair

Dayani Pieri: Secretary


Naupaka Zimmerman: Chair

Jorge Ramos: Vice Chair

Dayani Pieri: Secretary


Jenny Talbot: Chair

The biggest surprise of being an officer of the Student Section was discovering just how powerful, respected and integral we are to the Society as a whole [...]. It is stimulating to be a part of a group of intellectual and creative minds that work together to get things done.
— Andréa Kuchy, 2011 Vice-Chair of the Student Section