Lisa M. Ganio is Associate Professor and Graduate Program Coordinator in the Department of Forest Ecosystems and Society and adjunct Professor in the Department of Statistics.  Her entire career has been developed in the context of maintaining a healthy balance of family (as a single mom to 3 daughters, 2 of which are in college), support for students and career advancement. Prior to her academic position she was Director of OSU's Quantitative Science Group, managing an annual budget over $1M and a statistical consultant to state, federal and private agencies. She has 44 peer-reviewed papers, contributed to 5 book, been a PI on grants totaling more than $3M and supervises 4 employees and one post-doc. She teaches 2-4 courses/yr and has been awarded the OSU College of Forestry's Dean's Award for Outstanding Achievement in Advising, Mentoring and Instruction in 2003 and 2008.

Barbara Lachenbruch is a professor in the College of Forestry with research interests in plant structure and function, especially the changing tree ecophysiology with size and age.  Barb has an active lab, over 100 publications, and two books.  She enjoys teaching and typically teaches a non-majors class every year as well as classes in her area.  Barb has been working on life balance issues for several decades, having started her assistant professor position in 1992 with a husband, a two-year old, and an infant.  She currently spends weekends with her husband and dogs at her off-the-grid cabin in the Coast Range playing pioneer, doing habitat restoration, and relaxing.

Louisa Hooven is currently a research associate in the Department of Horticulture at Oregon State.  She is currently investigating how pesticides could affect the circadian behavior of honeybees. She became a single parent during graduate school, inspiring her interest in life balance issues for women in science. Observing that the postdoctoral career stage is an especially pivotal time in the careers of women scientists, she served on the President’s Commission on the Status of Women and The Postdoctoral Taskforce at Oregon State University in order to discuss these concerns.

Kate Boersma is a PhD candidate in Zoology and founder of Oregon State University’s Women in Science organization. She currently advises seven undergraduates, four of whom are women pursuing careers in the sciences, who assist with her research on invertebrate community structure in arid-land streams. During her graduate career, she has given over 20 research presentations at professional meetings and received 15 competitive awards, totaling nearly 50K in funding, including fellowships from the World Wildlife Fund, American Museum of Natural History and National Park Service. In addition to her leadership role in Women in Science, Kate has served as a Mentor Teaching Assistant for new TAs at Oregon State University, and taught an HHMI-funded graduate level course in Scientific Teaching and Laboratory Design to update the undergraduate biology curriculum to incorporate active learning techniques and better engage students.


Sarah L. Close is a PhD candidate in the Department of Zoology studying marine community ecology. Her research investigates the role of nutrients in marine macrophyte assemblage structure and function in order to further our understanding of how algal ecophysiology and nutritional ecology scale up to influence community dynamics in upwelling-influenced rocky intertidal habitats. In addition to her research, Sarah demonstrates a strong commitment to the academic community. As president of OSU’s Women in Science organization, she coordinated a series of professional development seminars for graduate students. As co-president of the Department of Zoology’s graduate students, Sarah worked as a liaison between graduate students and faculty on a range of issues affecting graduate student life.

Maria Kavanaugh is a PhD candidate in the College of Oceanic and Atmospheric Sciences. Awarded a NASA-ESS Fellowship and AAAS/Canon Foundation National Park Scholarship, she utilizes landscape theory to classify open ocean and coastal seascapes, track shifting boundaries, and compare the structure and functioning of ecosystems through space and time.  She initiated her advanced studies after working for 10+ years and is the proud mother of an energetic two year old boy. She is interested in the unique challenges faced by academics from non-traditional backgrounds and strategies used to address them.

Keynote Speaker

Laura HuennekeDr. Laura Huenneke is Vice President for Research at Northern Arizona University. She came to the university as Dean of the College of Arts & Sciences and Professor of Biological Sciences in 2003, and then served three years as Dean of Engineering & Natural Sciences before becoming Vice President. Before coming to NAU, Laura spent 16 years on the faculty at New Mexico State University in Las Cruces, where she became Regents’ Professor and served five years as department chair in Biology. Laura earned her Ph.D. in Ecology & Evolutionary Biology from Cornell University. Her research interests pertain to the influence of biological diversity on ecosystem structure and function. She is committed to the effective communication of scientific and ecological understanding to the public, to K-12 educators and students, and to policy-makers. In 1999 she was selected as one of the initial cohort of Aldo Leopold Leadership Fellows, a program promoting the development of communication and leadership skills among environmental scientists. She has served on several editorial boards for ecological research journals and on NSF and other review panels, and has been elected twice to the governing board of the Ecological Society of America (most recently as Vice President for Public Affairs).

Session Leaders

Dr. Sona Karentz Andrews is the Vice Chancellor for Academic Strategies at the Oregon University System. Her areas of responsibility include strategic planning, academic policy, PK-20 alignment, student success, STEM partnerships, institutional research, performance measurement, industry affairs, and co-chairing the OUS Provosts’ Council.  She is also responsible for cross-system alignment, as well as providing analytical support for Board and executive level decision making and monitoring outcomes of OUS strategic initiatives. She earned her Ph.D. in Geography from Arizona State University, and has held faculty positions at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and Boise State University.  In 2000-01 she served as an American Council on Education Fellow. In 2004 she was appointed Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs at Boise State University and held that position until moving to the Oregon University System in 2010.

Dr. Kelly Benoit-Bird is an Associate Professor in the College of Oceanic and Atmospheric Sciences at Oregon State University (OSU), is the author or co-author of more than 35 journal publications applying acoustics to study the ecology of pelagic ocean ecosystems. Her work examines a wide range of animals including zooplankton, fish, squid, and marine mammals, in all cases emphasizing the mechanisms creating spatial and temporal dynamics in pelagic marine ecosystems, the effects these dynamics have on interactions between organisms, and the mechanisms animals use to cope with these patterns. In 2010, Kelly was awarded a MacArthur Fellowship, commonly referred as a "genius award" for her "exceptional creativity and promise for important future advances based on a track record of significant accomplishment" and later that year became the proud mom to a rambunctious little boy.

Dr. Alix Gitelman is an Associate Professor in the Dept. of Statistics at OSU.  Alix specializes in spatial statistics and Bayesian modeling. She has provided statistical consulting support to over 80 researchers both at OSU and in Oregon in such areas as Botany, Crop and Soil Science, Education, Fisheries and Wildlife, Food Science and Technology, and Veterinary Medicine.  She is the 2008 recipient of the College of Science's Frederick H. Horne award for sustained excellence in teaching science.

Dr. Tiffany Sacra Garcia is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Fisheries and Wildlife at OSU.  She is a broadly trained ecologist with a strong interest in amphibian systems and freshwater habitats, and works mainly in ephemeral streams and ponds studying the impacts of environmental stressors on species interactions.  Her current research at Oregon State University quantifies behavioral and physiological plasticity in larval amphibians in response to environmental stress and the indirect effects on aquatic communities.  Dr. Garcia received her doctorate in 2002 under Dr. Andrew Sih at the University of Kentucky comparing trait interactions in closely related salamander species, and completed an NSF postdoctoral fellowship in 2006 with Dr. Andrew Blaustein at Oregon State University.

Dr. Patricia Gregg is an Istitutional Research Associate (Postdoc) in the College of Earth, Oceanic, and Atmospheric Sciences at OSU. Gregg completed her PhD in Marine Geophysics in the Massachusetts Institute of Technology / Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution Joint Program investigating earthquake and fault dynamics of oceanic transform faults. After completing her PhD., Gregg worked at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory at Columbia University as a postdoctoral fellow studying continental rifting in East Africa. In 2010, Gregg joined the de Silva group here at OSU and has developed numerical models of magma chamber growth and failure to constrain the mechanisms of triggering super-volcanic eruptions 

Dr. Selina Heppell is an Associate Professor in the Dept. of Fisheries and Wildlife at OSU where she also coordinates distance education and directs the Graduate Certificate in Fisheries Management and an upcoming Profession al Science Master's degree in F & W administration.  She devotes most of her research to some of the oldest and slowest-growing animals in the sea: sea turtles, sharks, sturgeon, and U.S. west coast rockfish.  Primarily using computer models and simulations, she helps us understand how populations respond to human impacts and helps guide research and management policy towards their recovery. Her work takes her all over the globe and she regularly teaches and conduct research with her husband. They usually travel with their 11-year old son.

Dr. Anna Jolles is an Assistant Professor with appointments in the Departments of Biomedical Sciences and Zoology. Anna’s career path has been very international, starting with undergraduate studies in Physics at Freiburg University and Zoology at Oxford University, followed by a PhD from Princeton Unversity in Ecology and Evolution, and a postdoctoral position at the University of Groningen. Anna and her lab group study disease ecology and eco-immunology in free-ranging mammal populations ranging from deer mice in Oregon to African lions and buffalo.  Anna enjoys mentoring graduate, veterinary and undergraduate students, and teaches courses in veterinary epidemiology and disease ecology. Anna has a husband, a 9-yr old daughter, 7 and 2-yr old sons, and two geriatric dogs; she loves outdoor adventures, running and riding; and dabbles in farming and local food production. Obviously, balancing career, family and personal sanity is the central challenge in Anna’s life.

Dr. Patricia Kennedy is a professor in the Dept. of Fisheries and Wildlife at Oregon State University, and is stationed at the Eastern Oregon Agricultural Experiment Station in Union, Oregon. Prior to this position she was an Associate Professor in the Department of Fish and Wildlife Biology at Colorado State University.  She was trained as an avian ecologist and her current interests revolve around trying to figure out how to add biodiversity to agricultural lands in an economically sustainable manner. She has an active research lab and likes to write scientific papers at which she has been successful thanks to terrific colleagues and students. Her newest challenge is transitioning to non-science writing. This includes a book about the first generation of female wildlife biologists to work professionally in this field. She also teaches undergraduate classes as part of the OSU Agricultural Sciences program at Eastern Oregon University. She has been divorced and is remarried, has no children and enjoys outdoor activities, knitting and reading. She also has a love/hate relationship with gardening and works at incorporating sustainability into her daily life.

Dr. Barbara Lachenbruch is a professor in Forest Ecosystems and Society.  She works in plant ecophysiology (bio on previous page).  As part of herwork-life balance, her focus on field work has gone up and down over the years, ranging from long field seasons all the way to doing mostly lab work.  

Dr. Janet Lee is a Professor of Women Studies in the School of Language, Culture, and Society at Oregon State University where she teaches courses on women and gender studies with specializations in feminist theories and methodologies. Her scholarship, encompassing gender, cultural, and literary histories, includes War Girls: The First Aid Nursing Yeomanry (FANY) in the First World War (Manchester University); Comrades and Partners:  The Shared Lives of Grace Hutchins and Anna Rochester (Rowman and Littlefield); and work in progress on the unpublished literary manuscripts of Australian feminist Miles Franklin. Dr. Lee is also known for her work in the politics of the body, has published Blood Stories Menarche and the Politics of the Female Body in Contemporary U.S. Society (Routledge), and is currently working on a “Body Hair Project.” She is co-author of Women’s Voices, Feminist Visions (McGraw-Hill) and Women Worldwide (McGraw-Hill) with her colleague Susan Shaw.

Dr. Jessica Miller is an Assistant Professor in Fisheries and Wildlife, a member of the Coastal Oregon Marine Experiment Station, and stationed at  the Hatfield Marine Science Center in Newport, Oregon. Her research interests include the ecology and evolution of life history diversity in fishes and the development and maintenance of that diversity. She uses various methodologies, including otolith chemistry, genetic, and time-series analyses, to address questions relevant to conservation and management. Her research projects have focused on larval dispersal and transport, population connectivity and structure, and migratory behavior and early marine survival of Pacific salmon. She teaches a course on the Early Life History of Fishes, which is a split-level course offered every other year.

Dr. Sujaya Rao is an Associate Professor in Entomology in the Department of Crop and Soil Science at OSU with research interests in pollination with native bees, and insect pest management. She enjoys teaching and outreach. She has directed several education related programs at OSU including the NSF GK-12 program ‘Integrating Ecology and Biotechnology in Rural Schools in Oregon’ for graduate students, the NSF REU on ‘Pollination Biology’ for undergraduates, and the ‘Discovering the Scientist Within’ program for middle school girls. She believes that  these and other ‘outside the box’ educational opportunities that she developed at OSU, earned her the Distinguished Achievement in Teaching award from the Entomological Society of America.

Dr. Barbara Taylor is a Professor in Zoology at OSU and Director of the Molecular and Cellular Biology interdisciplinary graduate program.  Her primary interests are in the genetics of animal behavior. She studies the molecular mechanisms that allow a few regulatory genes to create sex-specific neurons and neuronal circuits necessary for the expression of male- and female-behaviors in the fruit fly, Drosophila. These studies illuminate basic biological principles at work in all organisms.  She received her doctorate from the Biology Department at the University of California San Diego working under Dr. William A. Harris and was awarded an National Institutes of Health NRSA post-doctoral fellowship to work in Dr. James W. Truman’s laboratory at the University of Washington.

Dr.  Virginia Weis is the Chair of the Department of Zoology at OSU.  She has been at OSU since 1996 where her group has been interested in cellular and molecular biology of reef-building corals. Her work has included investigations of inorganic carbon transport mechanisms, innate immunity, oxidative stress and apoptosis.  Her studies have employed biochemical, cellular, molecular, proteomic and genomic approaches and taken her to reefs and marine labs around the world  She has authored over 55 publications and supervised 9 PhD students, 7 postdoctoral fellows and dozens of undergraduates.  She is also a single mother of a daughter, 18, and son, 16 who have kept her very busy!