The American Ornithological Society (AOS) is pleased to recognize Dr. Kristen Covino and Dr. Scott Taylor as the 2018 recipients of the Early Professional Awards: the James G. Cooper Young Professional Award and the Ned K. Johnson Young Investigator Award, respectively. The Early Professional Award winners presented plenary talks at the 2018 AOS Annual Meeting in Tucson, Arizon, on April 13, 2018.
The James G. Cooper Young Professional Award recognizes early-career ornithological researchers (up to three years post-Ph.D.) for their outstanding contributions in any field of ornithology. First awarded in 2009 by the Cooper Ornithological Society, this award recognizes early-career researchers for outstanding scientific research and contributions to the ornithological profession. The 2018 James G. Cooper Young Professional Award is presented to Dr. Kristen Covino.
Kristin is currently a postdoctoral fellow at Canisius College and will be starting as an assistant professor at Loyola Marymount University in August 2018. Kristen's research encompasses many scales of inquiry, ranging from avian physiology to continental-scale migratory movements, and seeks to understand the movement biology and whole life-cycle biology of migratory birds. Her interest in birds started as an undergraduate, when she took ornithology classes and conducted research with Sara Morris, and continued during her early graduate work with Rebecca Holberton. For her Ph.D., Kristen worked with Frank Moore at the University of Southern Mississippi as a member of the Migratory Bird Research Group. Her dissertation work investigated breeding development in several intercontinental migrants en route to their breeding grounds, demonstrating that the phenology of physiological breeding development in these species is sex specific. Kristen is also interested in addressing issues focused on making ornithology more accessible to women and the LGBT community as well as promoting undergraduate participation in research. She recently received a Diversity and Inclusion Award from AOS, and in 2017 she became an Elective Member of the AOS.
The Ned K. Johnson Young Investigator Award recognizes work by an ornithologist early in his or her career who shows distinct promise for future leadership in the profession. The American Ornithologists' Union (AOU) established this award in 2006 to honor Ned K. Johnson, a lifelong supporter of the AOU and its former president (1996–1998). The award consists of a framed certificate and an honorarium provided by the Ned K. Johnson Young Investigator Fund. The 2018 Ned K. Johnson Young Investigator Award is presented to Dr. Scott Taylor.
Scott joined the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Colorado at Boulder in August 2016. His lab applies genomics and field experiments to natural hybrid zones and closely related taxa to investigate reproductive isolation—the hallmark of speciation—and the genetic bases of traits relevant to speciation. This research also provides insight into the impacts of anthropogenic change, including climate change, on species' distributions, interactions, and evolution.
Scott was previously a Fuller and Banting postdoctoral fellow at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, where he worked with Irby Lovette using genomic tools to understand hybridization and species boundaries in chickadees, warblers, and redpoll finches. He obtained his Ph.D. from Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario, Canada, where he worked with Vicki Friesen and studied the ecology and evolution of South American seabirds, including the charismatic Blue-footed Booby, the Peruvian Booby, and the Peruvian Pelican. Scott's publications detail his diverse research interests on topics ranging from evolutionary genetics to foraging ecology.
Born and raised on the coast of Lake Huron in southwestern Ontario, Scott's passion for natural history extends as far back as he can remember. He has worked extensively as a naturalist, leading groups of all ages on excursions exploring the diversity of the globe from Antarctica to Ascension Island, the Galápagos Islands, and the high Arctic. Scott is an enthusiastic and dedicated scientist and educator, is committed to supporting diversity and inclusion in STEM, and is a passionate natural historian at heart.
Awardees are selected annually to present on their work at the Early Professional Award Plenary Session at the Annual Meeting. The awardees also receive a cash prize and travel support to the meeting and are honorary guests at a reception attended by the AOS president, other officers, and the Early Professionals Awards Committee. For eligibility criteria and how to apply, go to http://www.americanornithology.org/content/aos-early-professional-awards.