November 2012 Volunteer of the Month; Damon Romero
Damon joined the Beach Naturalist program this year and has been truly invested in helping out in any way he can since then. He often can be observed quietly taking in the scenery when not interacting energetically with members of the public on the beach. During the Marshmallow Challenge at the end of summer volunteer party Damon excelled at showing off some fine engineering skills as can be seen in the picture above. Here is what one of his coworkers had to say about Damon:
“Damon has worked within WDFW’s Habitat Program since 2005, conducting stream habitat assessments, and fish passage and surface water diversion screening inventories. Damon is a skilled field biologist and his efforts in quantifying fish habitat, and locating and evaluating fish passage barriers, has led to the protection and enhancement of Washington’s native fish and wildlife populations and their habitats by providing access to productive habitat. Damon is a current member (former president and secretary) of the Olympia Eagles Club. Damon has been active in the Olympia music community, promoting local bands. Outside of work, Damon also enjoys swing dancing and surfing at Westport.”
Thank you Damon for all the work you do at your job and in your community!
October 2012/Volunteer of the Month
Melinda Hough was new to the Beach Naturalist program for the 2012 season. Her love of engaging the public around science issues and enthusiasm inspire everyone that she interacts with. She recently received theChristine Mirzayan Science and Technology Policy Fellowship. She works with the Cultural Programs of the National Academies at the interface of science, art, and public engagement on the Digital Dome project. In collaboration with JD Talasek (NAS) and Lee Boot at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, she is writing text to accompany this interactive, learning iPad application which allows visitors to the recently restored National Academy of Sciences building to explore the history, art and science of the Great Hall. She is also learning first hand about how science shapes policy through real-life applications both with the National Academy of Sciences as well as other volunteer efforts including Director of Public Relations for MIT-based Stand with Science and social media reporting of the recent World Wide Views on Biodiversity events. She plans to return to the Beach Naturalist program next season.
In Melinda’s extensive professional background she was named a Wellcome Trust Scholar at the University of Edinburgh where she completed a master’s and PhD in molecular microbiology investigating the molecular mechanisms of bacterial cell death caused by antibiotic treatment to address the unmet need for novel therapeutics against deadly antibiotic resistant infections. Over the past five years, she has worked to increase the profile of science on both sides of the Atlantic. In 2008, she helped found EuSci, a student magazine at the University of Edinburgh reporting cutting-edge research to non-specialist audiences and is currently International Editor-At-Large. Her photographs illustrated the book Darwin In Scotland. Most recently, she attended Capitol Hill Days, consulted on the development of the first Seattle Science Festival EXPO Day, volunteers as a beach naturalist with SSEA and is the Health Research Policy Advisor with ScienceDebate.org
. Dr. Hough believes it is vital to bridge the gap between scientists and the general public in order to inspire future generations and, as a fellow, hopes to gain the necessary foundation to continue shaping the public science dialogue as a civic scientist. Having lived abroad for a decade, Melinda has a deep love for exploring new cultures and a knack for being mistaken as a local when not behind the lens of her Nikon.
Melinda you have inspired so many and we look forward to keeping you involved with South Sound Estuary Association as you work to further the public’s engagement with science!
Here’s the website for the fellowship program Melinda is completing right now if you want more information: