SETAC North America Board of Directors Election
Teresa J. Norberg-King
James M. Lazorchak
Jeffery A. Steevens
Frederick J. Wrona
Since my first SETAC meeting in Boston, I have fully embraced SETAC as my professional society and consider it my professional family. I owe much of my professional success to SETAC programming and networking. I am motivated to become a member of the SETAC North America (SNA) Board of Directors (BoD) so that I can give back to the society by continuing the SETAC traditions around "Environmental Quality Through Science."
I have a B.S. in Biology from Baldwin-Wallace University, a M.S. in Entomology from the University of Georgia, and a Ph.D. from Ohio State in Evolution, Ecology, and Organismal Biology. I studied terrestrial lead ecotoxicology and risk assessment of a private shooting range for my PhD research project. I have worked at all levels of government including county health departments, state government, and federal agencies. I currently work as a toxicologist for the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality where I provide toxicological support to the department on issues dealing with potential impacts of contaminants on aquatic life and human health. I use the primary toxicology literature to develop water quality criteria protective of aquatic life, provide toxicological support to various groups within the department, and work on wildlife toxicology projects around the state. I was a Knauss Marine and Great Lakes Policy Fellow in Washington, D.C., where I gained relevant experience in science policy, state-federal partnerships, program development and review, and external and internal communications. Other federal experience includes endangered species and environmental contaminants work as a Fish and Wildlife Biologist for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. I have previous BoD experience as a member of the Friends of the Stone Lab BoD, a group that works with Stone Lab and Ohio Sea Grant to provide volunteer and financial support to Ohio State’s Lake Erie campus and research facility. I also spent a year as the student member on the SETAC BoD while I was chair of the SETAC North America Student Advisory Council (NASAC).
When I attended my first SETAC meeting in Boston, I quickly realized that SETAC is not like other scientific societies – the tripartite nature, excellent science, and camaraderie set it apart from other professional organizations. Being able to come to a meeting as a “newbie” and feel completely included in the society was an experience I will never forget (and something that I give back to each year as a meeting guide for the buddy system). I attended regional chapter meetings, SNA meetings, SETAC Europe meetings and a World Congress and I have found them all to represent these strengths. I became involved in SETAC by volunteering for the World Congress in Berlin, and then as vice chair/chair/outgoing chair of NASAC. As NASAC chair, I served as the voice of students on the SETAC BoD, Vancouver Program Committee, and Student Activities Committee. I also served on the scientific committee for the Young Environmental Scientists (YES) meeting in Serbia and successfully put forward (with the help of many NASAC representatives) a proposal to the SNA BoD for the first SNA YES meeting. SETAC student programming is top-notch; I am a direct product of this programming over the past several years and I hope that the students of SETAC will continue to work with the various committees and BoD to improve and sustain student career development. Recently, I became an active member of the Leadership Subcommittee of the Career Development Committee.
The professional development of early career members and science communication are two main areas that I am passionate about improving if I am elected to the board. As scientists, we need to consider the implications of environmental education and outreach and strive to become better communicators. I organized and led a short course in Nashville on using social media for science communication and I was also part of the NASAC subcommittee that created the Students of SETAC social media accounts. I am currently on the steering committee for SETAC’s first advisory group on Science and Risk Communication. If elected to the BoD I will continue to support the enhancement of science and risk communication efforts within the society. If elected, I will also recommend new activities and opportunities for recent graduate and early career professionals. This membership group is under-represented within SETAC and I hope to learn why, and address the issues. Having recently transitioned from student, to post-doc, to early career professional, I am familiar with the forces at play when juggling a new position and justifying participation in scientific societies; I will bring these perspectives to the board and work to figure out solutions to improve the SETAC experience for early career and recent graduates.
I feel that the well-rounded nature of my government service and prior BoD experience is well suited for the SETAC BoD and that I have much to contribute to SETAC as an early career government member. If elected, I will continue to push the society to continue its high-caliber science through workshops and cutting-edge research in the field so that our society can continue to be the “go-to” society for environmental toxicology. I hope to advance the society in areas of science communication and early career and recent graduate professional development. Most importantly, I will support the tried and true SETAC traditions that continue to develop leaders that do great, quality science to support the SETAC mission. Thank you for your consideration and I look forward to serving you.
In 1992 I attended my first SETAC meeting in Cincinnati, Ohio and it was clear to me, as student transitioning to “early career professional”, that I had found my home society. What most appealed to me was the multidiscipline nature of SETAC which provided an opportunity to engage and learn from scientists in other sectors. This continues to be true today and, I believe, one of our greatest strengths as a society.
I received my Ph.D. in Ecology from UC Davis and have worked as a Research Scientist for the U.S. Geological Survey National Research Program since 1991. My primary research interest is to develop biological models for metal contaminated waters as measures of environmental condition. I focus on using aquatic insects as biomonitors and biodynamic modeling as a tool linking environmental exposure to effects. Biodynamic modeling has advanced our understanding of the uptake and loss kinetics of metal bioaccumulation, and is useful in estimating tissue concentrations under changing exposure conditions. And because dietary exposure is an important pathway for metal uptake in aquatic invertebrates, I am particularly interested in addressing this problem through an ecological lens. That is, understanding the importance of feeding behavior on dietary metal exposure, ecological function and toxicological response. In the last two years, I have co-organized two SETAC sessions that present the utility of considering functional ecology as a means to evaluate recovery in disturbed aquatic systems. These sessions are examples of how the integration of ideas can bring together the diversity of disciplines within the SETAC community.
I have been actively involved in SETAC North America (SNA) by serving on the Meetings Committee, Internet Committee, and most recently, Chair of the SNA Career Development Committee (CDC). As CDC chair, I have seen the positive impact that SETAC networking opportunities have had on our student and early career SETAC members and I am committed to building upon the success of the CDC activities (e.g., Networking Reception; Women in SETAC Luncheon; Leadership Professional Short Course; Buddy Program; Senior Resource Group). I am past-president of the Northern California (NorCal) Regional SETAC chapter and currently sit on the Board of Directors. I have served on the organizing committee for the NorCal annual meetings, am involved in planning student networking activities, and have implemented a fundraising program for NorCal student scholarships. Our chapter has a strong student presence and we are committed to offering a professional yet accessible experience for first-time student presenters. I believe that if students have a positive scientific experience at the regional level, they will be more likely to become involved at the national level.
My desire to serve on the SETAC North America Board stems in part, from my experience on the CDC and an appreciation for the professional challenges faced by many of our members: Students transitioning to their first job; Early-career professionals laying the ground work for their career path; Members who are considering changing sectors; Women who are interested in pursuing leadership roles.
The strength of SETAC relies on the diversity of our membership and the opportunities for sharing ideas across multiple disciplines. This is the framework of our society and is key in sustaining and building membership and provides a solid foundation for the next generation of SETAC leaders.
My first SETAC experience was presenting a poster in Cincinnati at the 12th annual meeting in 1992. As a student then, I was grateful for the SETAC Travel Award, for hearing about other research in my field, and for my first opportunity at discussing my research with those outside of academia. Being a SETAC member since then and the feedback from presenting posters and platforms has been an important part of my professional development. My areas of research have focused on the toxicology of pesticides, pharmaceuticals, metals and, most recently, oil and oil-dispersing chemicals, in crustaceans and fish. The ideas gained from SETAC meetings have helped immensely in my research and as lead of the Ecotoxicology Program at NOAA’s National Ocean Service lab in Charleston, SC for the past 14 years. My research has also benefited greatly from the Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry journal for which I have reviewed manuscripts and in which I have published.
SETAC has a unique role in bringing together academia, industry and government to discuss science where otherwise researchers may not have this opportunity. I would work to keep this dialogue strong and to keep a diverse membership. This opportunity to serve on the SETAC board will be my first experience assisting SETAC at the national level. Being a strong supporter of SETAC’s role at the regional level, however, has helped prepare me for service at the national level. I have served on the board of the Carolinas Chapter of SETAC since 2008, and I am currently the past president. I will be hosting our regional meeting in 2017 where I plan to bring together a diverse program of topics and presenters. These regional chapters are an excellent occasion for students and professionals to present their research and to introduce SETAC to those who may not have the opportunity to travel to a national meeting. If selected as a national Board member, I would continue to support the regional chapters and be willing to serve in any capacity to help strengthen regional involvement.
SETAC meetings and short courses allow researchers to keep up to date on a variety of current topics such as oil spill remediation and pesticide effects on beneficial insects to exploring social science issues. Since I work for a government agency that emphasizes resilience, stewardship, and sustainability with cross-cutting priorities of social science and conservation, I believe that I will make a valuable contribution to the board. Getting the scientific word out on these and other hot topics via SETAC social media and traditional outlets emphasizes our dedication to not only informing our own community but the public as well which I will certainly support. It would be an honor to serve and an honor to be a representative.
Teresa J. Norberg-King
As a scientist with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), I really enjoy and benefit from being a SETAC member, and I became a member of SETAC when I was an undergraduate working for EPA. I have been attending annual meetings and volunteering since. I obtained my bachelor’s of science from the University of Minnesota Duluth, and I received my Master of Science degree in aquatic toxicology from the University of Wyoming, where my advisor was one the founders of SETAC. As a volunteer, I acquired a passion for education and mentoring students in our organization because of the mentoring I received. SETAC’s annual meetings, regional meetings, focused meetings, advisory groups, committee participation have all provided opportunities to develop long-term collaborations and friendships that have been and continue to be instrumental in my career. I have witnessed how SETAC has become a highly successful forum for interdisciplinary communication among environmental scientists and the meetings and publications have become mainstays in toxicology.
In my position in EPA, I participate in research to address agency needs and translate results into useful products to achieve key agency objectives while providing technical assistance and technology transfer of the research to the scientific and regulatory community. My research interests include contaminant bioavailability particularly in sediment, the toxicity of major ions (TDS), developing and validating test methods for use in regulatory programs, toxicity identification evaluations, and early life stage fish testing. SETAC has played a central role in keeping me aware and connected to some of the best science and scientists in the world.
Volunteering for SETAC is fulfilling, and I have been fortunate to serve SETAC at regional, national, and global levels. I have been involved in Pellston conferences, expert panels, served on the ET&C editorial board, both North America and World Congress Program Committees and a variety of SETAC committees (Membership, Awards and Fellowship, and the Student and Minority Travel Awards, and Student Activities). I am a member of the Sediment Advisory Group and co-chair of the Animal Alternatives Advisory Group. I have also taught many short courses on a variety of topics, presented numerous platform and posters at SETAC annual meetings and served as session chair for many annual meetings. I spearheaded the SETAC North America Student Activities Committee (first chairperson) and the NA SETAC Student Activities Program at the annual meetings, organizing the student-mentor dinner, noon-time seminars, and initiated the silent auctions (funds raised support the student program), and served as a mentor at student-mentor dinners. I have team-taught the Job Skills workshops for students and post-docs at many SETAC North America annual meetings. Within the Midwest Regional Chapter, I have served as President (2015–2016), and I served on the North America Board of Directors (2003–2006). Outside of SETAC, I have been active in standard method development for the EPA, Environment Canada, and Standard Methods for the Assessment of Water and Wastewater, and the Health and Environmental Sciences Institute (HESI) Alternative Test Methods Committee.
I am truly committed to SETAC and welcome the opportunity to serve on the SETAC North America Board of Directors and looking forward to advancing the goals and mission of SETAC North America. Through my experiences with the various committees and advisory groups within SETAC, I have an appreciation of the broader issues across the organization. I believe core strength of SETAC has been our diverse membership and collaborative problem solving across public, private, academic and NGO sectors and support interaction with other societies, such as ACS and SOT. Finally, I consider this nomination a great honor, and if I am elected, I will serve the membership to the best of my abilities.
James M. Lazorchak
I joined SETAC in the early days of its formation while a Ph.D. student at the University of Texas in Dallas. My major professor, Tom Waller, had been a member and encouraged me to join. Since I joined the society I have attended almost every SETAC annual meeting except one when EPA was not allowed to travel out of country. I also attend SETAC Europe annual meetings every 2 or 3 years. I have been studying ecology and ecotoxicology since I started my master’s degree at Wright State University, under Tim Wood. Dr. Wood was an expert on ectoprocta (bryozoans). He conducted a survey of Ohio lakes for the distribution and presence of bryozoans and I assisted in their collections for a number of those lakes. I also helped identify those collections and even found a new species. Dr. Wood wanted to conduct toxicity tests with bryozoans. So my master’s project was to develop a culture method for Plumatella casmiana Oka. My Ph.D. research dealt with understanding the toxicity of copper to Daphnia magna. It took 10 years for me to graduate because I joined EPA as a part time temporary employee my first semester as a Ph.D. candidate. I stayed on with EPA because one of my advisors told me that I might be able to do more to protect the environment by being on the inside than from the outside. So I have been with EPA since 1976 and only left it once to become a contractor with SAIC. I worked for the first 13 years in two EPA regions, Region 6 & 8. I learned about a variety of issues and environmental conditions working in 11 states. The experience I gained from working in the Midwest (Ohio EPA), the southeast, southwest and the Rockies provided me a good understanding of issues in water rich and water short environments. I believe it has helped me conduct more ecologically relevant research once I joined EPA’s Office of Research and Development. My main objective in moving from the regulatory side of the agency to the research side was to conduct research that would impact decision making in EPA. To some extent I have accomplished that goal, but not completely. My research began with the standardization of Toxicity Methods for the NPDES program as well as bioassessment methods for our National Freshwater surveys. I moved on from methods development to generating information on Chemicals of Concern (COCs), such as EDCs, Nanomaterials, antibiotics and Pharmaceuticals. One of my proudest contributions is my collaboration with Dr Kidd and others at the Experimental Lakes Area in Canada during the whole lake EE2 dosing study. It’s still the keystone study demonstrating the impacts of estrogens on aquatic ecosystems. My current research involves assessing the impacts of cyanobacteria and algal toxins on lakes and rivers. I have always tried to look at issues from a cross disciplinary understanding. That is why I have collaborated with scientists in other fields like chemistry, engineering, bioassessments, microbiology, invertebrate taxonomy via DNA barcoding, systems ecology, water quality and quantity. With such collaborations across disciplines and countries one has a better understanding on how contaminants and other stressors interact. We are learning that we cannot take a single stressor or chemical approach any longer, organisms and humans in the environment are exposed across a mixture of chemicals and other stressor conditions. Laboratory studies can only get us an estimate of the potential exposure and effects under one set of conditions. Working in the field gives us a more realistic look at impacts, but more variables to deal with. I have always viewed my efforts to bring the lab to the field and the field to the lab.
My SETAC activities have include being a board and president of the Ohio Valley Chapter. I have also been and continue to be a member of several Global advisory groups, Pharmaceuticals in the Environment, Salinity, Nano Materials, bioaccumulation science and metals Global Advisory groups. I have co-chaired sessions in emerging issues such as ecotoxicogenomics, pharmaceuticals in the environment, personal care products, contaminated sediments, nanomaterials, HABs, salinity and resource extraction impacts in every SETAC North America meeting for greater than 15 years and also presented and co-chaired sessions at SETAC Europe, Asia and South America. In addition, I have organized and participated in short courses on ecotoxicogenomics at the World Congress meeting in Australia and SETAC Europe meeting in Hague. These short courses were not just presented from a North American or EPA point of view, internationally recognized scientists were also included to present the state of the science associated with genomic techniques and their applications to ecotoxicology. I have a philosophy that we in North America can learn from others around the world so we must reach out and collaborate with scientists in government, academia and industry because we can always get new ideas and approaches by these associations.
I’ve been able to benefit and contribute to SETAC activities since 2001, from a local regional level to a global scale. My relationship with SETAC began at the beginning of my graduate career, whereby my co-supervisors encouraged my participation at a regional meeting. It was at this meeting that I realized the significance of SETAC in promoting science, and particularly the role of regional chapters creating a sense of community by providing a forum for exchanging information, ideas, and most of all, establishing a network of colleagues. This positive experience solidified my interest in SETAC and since then I’ve been able to reap the benefits of membership, but also give back to the community through active involvement; after all, the best relationships need a little give and take!
Since this time, I’ve progressed from student to professional, with SETAC there through it all! I’ve volunteered for presentations at local meetings, and have supported staff and students to do the same. I was fortunate to serve as Chair of the SETAC North America Student Advisory Council (NASAC) and Student Member to the SETAC North America Board of Directors from 2008–2010, providing a conduit from the student community to the Board, and with support from SETAC and student members alike, effected change to simplify the transition within NASAC, and encouraged involvement from the student membership. Since 2001, I’ve been a member of the Soils Advisory Group, served within the steering committee several times, and with our SETAC colleagues, transitioned the geographical units into a Global Soils Advisory Group. In between, I have participated in many SETAC North America and Europe meetings, as a presenter, co-chair for various sessions, and peer-reviewer for Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry. These experiences have taught me a sense of appreciation for all of the folks and ‘behind the scene’ mechanics that help to organize SETAC events and activities to be the successes that they are.
My work as a researcher in the field of environmental (terrestrial) toxicology, through industry, academia and government, has provided a well-rounded experience representative of the three pillars of SETAC. SETAC provides a positive and encouraging forum for people of varied experiences and perspectives, but who share the same passion for science, environmental sustainability and protection. As a member to the SETAC NA Board of Directors, I would continue to serve the SETAC membership in this regard, building upon the tri-partite foundation and encouraging sustained participation – i.e., giving back, to this wonderful organization. This would include working towards sustained membership within the SETAC community, from new recruitments, to sustained recruitment as students evolve into professionals, to mentorship to establish new leaders; and continued networking and virtual learning experiences as our global participation evolves.
I’ve been a SETAC member since 2002 and jumped right into co-chairing the Precautionary Principle Workgroup (later known as the Decision Uncertainty Analysis Workgroup) under the Ecological Risk Assessment Advisory Group from 2004 - 2011. Other committee membershjps and activities followed, including chairing the SNA Science Committee, the Advisory Group on Sustainability, and membership on the 2014 Vancouver Program Committee. But the activities I particularly loved were those that challenged SETAC members to think about SETAC’s role in science for science policy: how we do science, what science is relevant, how we teach science, and how we communicate science. These activities include connecting several meeting venues (keynote speaker, short course, platform) together by utilizing the experts invited to a single meeting, maximizing SETAC’s speaker funds and building depth and breadth to complex topics, as demonstrated in the 2014 Vancouver program. None of these activities could have been done on my own and I enjoyed working with others (within and outside SETAC) to bring these ideas to fruition. Using debate and game formats to engage as well as teach, we discover that learning never stops and work and fun are compatible.
Trained initially as a biologist, then as a biochemist with a toxicology focus, I’ve eventually come to multi-criteria analysis that connects across disciplines whether human/ecological or environmental/social or all of the above and applying it to policy making. I see this perspective infusing how I think about science and science policy. If entrusted with SETAC Board membership, I hope to continue to challenge how (and who) we think and educate about science and how science is used. Let’s work hard, have fun, and learn something new in the process.
Jeffery A. Steevens
I am a Research Toxicologist within the U.S. Geological Survey at the Columbia Environmental Research Center. My research focuses on developing and validating methods to assess sediment and aquatic toxicity, improving the confidence of water quality criteria and standards for assessing sediment quality, and assessing ecological risk and injury to natural resources.
Since my first SETAC meeting in 1993, I have worked hard to support our Society through mentoring, scientific discussion, and organization. I feel strongly about mentoring junior scientists and love to share my excitement about our field. I have been involved in the student mentor and activities committee and short courses committee as a way to promote our next generation of scientists. In addition, SETAC is a premier venue to develop collaborations and communicate scientific research. I have been involved in the Nano and Sediment Advisory Groups, taught numerous short courses, and participated in a Pellston workshop. Currently I support the SETAC journals as a reviewer and was a member of the ET&C editorial board. Of course, our SETAC meetings can only happen through volunteer support. In 2009 I had the honor of serving the Society as the Co-Chair for the North America Annual Meeting in New Orleans, Louisiana. I have supported our organization as a member and chair of the meetings committee, member of the short course committee, and through regional chapter leadership.
I want to represent our membership as a member of the Board of Directors. There are two main ways that I can support the Society. The first is to “give back” to the Society that has enabled my career in environmental toxicology. SETAC was where I had many firsts; my first poster, platform, chair, meeting chair, interview, and job. It requires the energy and leadership of experienced members to maintain and enhance these opportunities for our members. Secondly, the fields represented by SETAC are rapidly evolving. While the organization has many established success stories in areas such as risk assessment, sediment toxicology, wildlife toxicology, and chemical analysis and characterization, there are many new challenges and problems. It requires us to be innovative in our science and the technologies we use to solve these problems. In addition it requires our members to reach out to other disciplines to solve these “tough problems.” SETAC is one of the best organizations to do this and I want to be part of making that happen.
SETAC is my scientific society home and each meeting in November is my professional family reunion. I have been a member and attended SETAC meetings since 1997 while a graduate student at Indiana University working under Dr. Ronald Hites. I have maintained both a SETAC and American Chemical Society (ACS) membership through a postdoctoral fellowship with the U.S. Geological Survey and my current position with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. My research has varied from my Ph.D. work developing and applying methods to separate chiral pesticides to current efforts developing instrumental and data analysis methods for suspect screening and non-targeted analysis to characterize the exposome.
I volunteer and am active with several groups to grow my involvement within SETAC. In 2015, I co-chaired the Salt Lake City annual meeting with Carry Claytor and an excellent crew of committee members, after previous smaller roles for the Portland and Long Beach meetings. I am a member of the meetings committee, and will serve as the group’s chair in 2017. I was a founding and seven year member of the North America Chemistry Advisory Group (NACAG) steering committee, and was the group’s secretary and chair. I led NACAG outreach efforts to other societies such as the ACS, and helped develop several products to advertise SETAC and the NACAG. In 2016, I transitioned to the Global Chemistry Advisory Group (GCAG) steering committee and have led efforts to develop, deploy, and analyze data from a SETAC chemist survey. I am also active in the informal Women Chemist group at SETAC, serving as secretary, historian, and event organizer. And like many SETAC members, I have taken professional development courses, judged student presentations, chaired symposia, and presented my research at annual meetings.
As evidenced by my activities, I am very passionate about SETAC and seeing it continue to grow, thrive, and succeed. If elected to the Board of Directors, an area I’d like to focus on is partnering SETAC local chapters together to provide scientific expertise to developing countries or regions. This idea is rooted in feedback from the recent GCAG survey, where members in developing countries expressed the need to get more from SETAC. Research webinars; scientist, sample, and method exchanges; and journal clubs might be among the activities that groups could agree would be mutually beneficial. I want to help give current and future generations of SETAC scientists an amazing experience with the organization like I’ve had, and feel that being on the Board of Directors is an excellent way to make that a reality.
Frederick J. Wrona
I have been involved with both SETAC North America and Europe as an active member or contributor to sponsored conferences, Pellston workshops, and scientific publications since 1994. With over 30-years of research and scientific program management experience in government and academia, I have continued to foster approaches that improve science-policy research linkages, emphasized the importance of inter- and trans-disciplinary approaches and teamwork in addressing complex environmental problems, and have been a strong advocate for an increasing role in community-based and citizen-science involvement in environmental monitoring and assessment programs.
On 30 June 2016, I was formally appointed by the Minister of Environment and Parks as the Chief Scientist for the Government of Alberta’s environmental science program and also have active research through faculty positions in Universities both in Canada and Europe. I have led or contributed to numerous environmental programs addressing regional, national and international environmental issues related to ecotoxicology, cold regions hydro-ecology, climate impacts on freshwater ecosystems, integrated and adaptive environmental monitoring program design, and cumulative effects assessments. I have also served on numerous national and international scientific advisory and expert panels; key recent examples include: Senior Science Strategist and Advisor with Environment Canada; Scientific co-lead of the design and implementation of the Joint Oil Sands Monitoring Program in Alberta; Canada’s Head Delegate to the Arctic Council’s, Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Program; Canada’s Head Delegate for the UNESCO-International Hydrology Program; and, invited lead or contributing author to numerous international scientific assessments (e.g., Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change; Arctic Biodiversity Assessment; Arctic Climate Impacts Assessment; Arctic Freshwater Synthesis).
If elected to the SETAC North America Board of Directors, my aim is to bring my cumulative years of experience and networking in helping the Society continue to build its regional, national and international membership, and scientific reputation as the “go-to” society representing excellence and innovation in environmental toxicology, chemistry and the application of science to inform environmental decision-making.