Topics for May 2017:

• Cover Story: Science-A-Thon!

• Member Spotlight: Dr. Nancy Soontiens

• Trending Topics: ESWN's Purpose & Membership Numbers

• Member Updates: Renée Wang, Laura Edwards, and Asmeret Asefaw Berhe

• Bite-Sized Member Updates

• Member Photos: ESWN at EGU & AMS!


May 2017 Cover Story: Science-A-Thon

Dear ESWN,

It’s exciting to have our first newsletter of 2017! Many thanks to ESWN Member Renée Wang who is leading this new initiative, and launching this cool new shorter, more frequent format for our newsletters. To start with the facts and figures, we now have over 3100 members on eswnonline.org and nearly 3400 members in the Facebook group. We are thrilled that Asmeret Asefaw Berhe, Melissa Burt, Maura Hahnenberger, Rachel Licker, Aisha Morris, and Melanie Harrison Okoro joined the Leadership Board in 2016. You can read their bios - and those of all Board members - at https://eswnonline.org/welcome/leadership/

Our biggest news right now is…  Science-A-Thon (scienceathon.org)! I hope you will sign up and join us! Science-a-thon is a celebration of science and scientists (like you!) that will culminate on July 13. Science-A-Thon will showcase the work of scientists over a single “day in the life” and in the time leading up to it. On July 13, participants will post 12 photos over 12 hours. Science-A-Thon will connect the public with the amazing scientists of ESWN and beyond, and raise much needed money to support ESWN and help us maximize our impact.

Please consider participating yourself, or sponsoring the amazing scientists who have already signed up. Just go to https://www.crowdrise.com/science-a-thon to see who has registered, cheer on your favorite scientists, and support ESWN! There is no need to wait until July - the sooner you sign up, the more time you will have to find people to support you!

And to join yourself, go to https://www.scienceathon.org/how We’d love to have you!

All the best,


Tracey Holloway, ESWN President


Member Spotlight: Dr. Nancy Soontiens

To highlight the awesome activities (research, teaching, outreach, etc.) of our members we have Member Spotlights that rotate periodically on our website, ESWNOnline.org. Our most recent Spotlight featured Dr. Nancy Soontiens, a postdoctoral researcher at Environment and Climate Change Canada working on an algal bloom model in the Great Lake. Nancy Soontiens’s research covers a variety of scales in the dynamics of the oceans, atmosphere and lakes. One of her focuses is to understand how small-scale processes like internal waves and mixing should be represented in numerical models and large-scale simulations.

She has also done research at the University of British Columbia and received her PhD in Applied Mathematics from the University of Waterloo in Canada. Her goal to pursue a career in science came about after finishing an undergraduate degree in Applied Math at the University of Waterloo. Nancy loves solving puzzles, so continuing with a graduate degree seemed like the perfect way to merge one of her passions with a fulfilling career. Even though Nancy pursued an advance degree in a technical field with very few women, she was fortunate to be supported and encouraged by many mentors, both male and female. Had it not been for the Women in Mathematics committee in her department, she would have missed out on opportunities to connect with other very talented women in her field. 

One of the reasons Nancy is a member of ESWN is so that she can continue to be connected to a diverse network of talented researchers and scientists and so that she can support other women in their own career goals and dreams. Read more about her and other ESWN members here!

Dr. Nancy Soontiens at work in the field!

Would you like to be featured on our website? Nominate yourself or a colleague! Send us a brief biographic blurb and a couple of photos to accompany the text. If you nominate someone else, we will contact them to make sure they accept the nomination. Please send material and names to: eswn_erika@yahoo.com

If you would like to volunteer to help organize the Member Spotlights, let us know too! These serve as a great way to showcase the amazing women of ESWN, give you some free publicity, and change the public face of earth scientists!


Trending Topics

What is ESWN, and what purpose does it serve?

ESWN is dedicated to supporting the scientists of today, and welcoming the scientists of tomorrow. This takes the form of in-person events for men and women at major meets, a free jobs network open to all, public events like scienceathon.org, professional training workshops, and our online discussion forums at ESWNonline.org and Facebook. 

While most of these resources are open to all, the discussion boards and a few of our workshops only include those who identify as women. Sometimes we get asked, why? Why only women?  

Ever since the founding of ESWN, we have wrestled with the challenge of meeting the needs of women, while supporting all scientists.  To meet this balance, we have found that the online discussion venues provide a space for conversations to happen that are not happening elsewhere. “You can do it!” support... strategizing about job transitions... nuts-and-bolts advice about breast-feeding at conferences… reflecting on bias or harrassment. These conversations are different with all women in the room, and ESWN provides the space to tackle these issues and build a community.

A recent blog post written by ESWN Friends, Alan Townsend and Jon Foley, also provides thoughts on the value of women-only organizations (written by two men!). We loved it, and recommend you check it out:  


ESWN Membership data (because we love data)

Ever wonder about the number of people associated with the ESWN? Well, here are the recent membership numbers (as of May 09, 2017). ESWN has been growing rapidly over the past few years, and we would like to continue to connect with women across the Earth Sciences. Word of Mouth and personal connections are the primary ways in which ESWN has grown and it is one of the reasons why this Network is so special. Do you know someone who can benefit from ESWN? Please spread the word!

ESWN membership over time (Source: ESWN board members)


Member Updates

Brief updates about what our members are up to right now... 

Would you like to submit an update about yourself or a fellow ESWN member? Please submit your information and pictures here.

Renée Wang is an isotope geochemist starting her PhD in Geochemistry at Caltech in July 2017, and the new newsletter editor for ESWN. She is interested in understanding how chemical evidence of life is preserved in the rock record and on other planets. She graduated from the University of Southern California with a B.S. in Geological Sciences in May 2016, and has since been taking time off before graduate school. In that time, she has worked for an environmental consulting in the DC area, taught English in French Guiana, and is currently turning her Senior Thesis into a paper for publication. Besides that, Renée enjoys weight lifting, learning foreign languages, and reading popular science about research in other fields (esp. medical research on the obesity epidemic).

Laura Edwards was recently promoted to South Dakota State Climatologist at South Dakota State University (SDSU) Extension. She has been the Extension Climate Field Specialist with SDSU Extension since December 2011, and was previously an Assistant Research Climatologist at the Western Regional Climate Center at the Desert Research Institute. In her current position, she will lead outreach and education programs in the areas of climate and agriculture, communicate climate and weather hazards, and assist in natural disaster preparedness and response with the State of South Dakota. Laura's office is in the SDSU Extension Regional Center in Aberdeen, SD, where she lives on a farm with her husband and 7-year old twin boys. More information on her work can be found here.

Dr. Asmeret Asefaw Berhe was recently appointed as the Chair of the US National Committee for Soil Science at the US National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine for a three year term 2017-2019. Her research is broadly focused on soil science and global change science. The main goal of her research is to understand the effect of changing environmental conditions on vital soil processes, most importantly the cycling and fate of essential elements in the critical zone. She studies soil processes in systems experiencing natural and/or anthropogenic perturbation in order to understand fundamental principles governed by geomorphology, and contemporary modifications introduced by changes in land use and climate.

Bite-sized news from our members - Congratulations to all!

Kristan Culbert started a new job as a biologist at the Rivers & Land Conservancy working on stewardship and conservation of lands in inland southern California. 

Kyle Ann Whittinghill started a new position as the director of the environmental science program at University of Pittsburgh and Danielle Andrews Brown is the new director of the environmental studies program at Pitt.

Cinzia Fissore was promoted to Associate Professor with tenure at Whittier College.

Noelle Eckley Selin was promoted to Associate Professor with tenure at MIT.

Christine Renfrew accepted a job with the National Park Service.

Aishwarya Raman defended her PhD in Atmospheric Sciences from the University of Arizona in May. Her research was about aerosol modeling and analysis using ground measurements, satellites, and a chemical transport model.

Mary Anne Holmes, emeritus professor of earth and atmospheric sciences at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, was elected a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science for her distinguished contributions to developing and disseminating strategies to address gender inequity in geoscience, and the advancement of science through teaching, administration, research and service.

Yackar Mazuole defended her PhD in Oceanography from the University of Rhode Island. She studied sea surface temperature fronts from various NASA satellites (Pathfinder and MODIS) to track fronts that are observed over long periods of time all over the globe.

Ashley Matheny accepted a tenure track position in ecohydrology at the Jackson School of Geosciences at the University of Texas at Austin 

Fernanda Santos was awarded a prestigious University of California Chancellor’s Postdoctoral Fellowship. For this project, she will focus on the export of fire-altered carbon from soils and rivers across different ecosystems in the U.S. and will be co-mentored by Drs. Asmeret Asefaw Berhe (also an ESWN member) at UC Merced and Sanjai Parikh at UC Davis. 

Erika Marín-Spiotta spent almost a month on sabbatical as a visiting professor at the Technical University of Munich in Freising, Germany, and attended the European Geosciences Union annual conference where she recruited new ESWN members!

Lis Cohen organized the March for Science Denver as a lead organizer which was a great success with close to 20,000 participants and approximately 200 volunteers and included a popular "teach in" event.

Lydia Tackett received a prestigious National Science Foundation (NSF) CAREER Award for her work on A Late Triassic Origin for Modern Marine Predator-prey Dynamics.

Melissa Pardi's NSF EAR postdoc proposal was recommended for funding. She will start next March at Vanderbilt University in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences.


Member photos

Photos of ESWN members in the lab, in the field, in the office, or just having fun!

Would you like to submit a photo? Please submit your pictures here.

From left to right: ESWN Board Members Melissa Burt, Emily Fischer and Manda Adams receiving ESWN’s Special Award from the American Meteorological Society in January for inspirational commitment to broadening the participation of women in the Earth sciences, providing a supportive environment for peer mentoring, and professional development.

ESWN members from Canada, Germany, and the U.S. having dinner together at the European Geosciences Union (EGU) meeting in Vienna in April 2017.

ESWN members met for Happy Hour in April 2017 in Fort Collins, Colorado to talk about their lives, their careers, and challenges facing women in STEM.