HomeVolume Spring 2008

Committee Reports

Educational Council

Robin Cooper, Chair

The Educational Council is happy to report that we again had a good turnout of recruiting local high school students, that conducted biological research towards their INTEL affiliated Science fair, to attend the annual meeting. A few of their high school teachers also attended. One student even commented "Oh this meeting is so exciting. Now I know that I will have a place to present my research as an undergraduate." Comments like this make the outreaching effort worthwhile.

This council is also planning a workshop and a series of education talks for the Boston meeting. We hope members will attend to learn up-to-date approaches in teaching. We continue to solicit submissions to the digital library within SICB. Please see the SICB web page for more information.

The Council encourages new ideas in which we can better serve the SICB and the general public. So please send us your ideas and comments.

Public Affairs Committee

Peter deFur, Chair

The Committee met at the annual meeting in San Antonio with President John Pearse and Secretary Lou Burnett to discuss the upcoming work of the Public Affairs Committee (PAC). The PAC will seek to establish ongoing relationships with science reporters in the national media (Science, Nature, Post, Times, etc.). We discussed our work in the coming year and how to maximize news coverage of SICB and promotion of SICB issues, such as the resolution to promote the teaching of evolution in public schools. Following the annual meeting, we worked with President John Pearse to draft and submit an Op-Ed on teaching evolution and the SICB resolution. Despite our best efforts, we were not able to get the Op-Ed placed in national papers, but were pleased that several members modified the piece to submit to their local papers. The PAC members will be contacting symposium organizers and Division Chairs to prepare advance media material for the 2009 annual meeting in Boston. We will also modify the web site to be more "media friendly" and provide the information and contacts that reporters need to better cover SICB and our issues.

Student/Postdoctoral Affairs Committee

Larry Riley, Chair

I would like to thank the students and post-docs on this committee for their help during the meeting in San Antonio. We had a very successful SPDAC workshop at this past meeting in San Antonio. The workshop "I Have a Great Idea, But Who Will Fund Me: How to Write a Grant" consisted of a panel of past/present granting agency Program Directors and faculty review panelists: Dr. Goggy Davidowitz (the NSF), Dr. Ken Halanych (Auburn University), and Dr. Stacia Sower (University of New Hampshire). They provided valuable information on 1) how to write a strong and convincing proposal; 2) key ingredients to be included in a grant proposal; 3) the importance of the broader impacts and intellectual merit statements; 4) the importance of the project summary. For additional information please follow the link on the For Students page and click on the Student Postdoctoral Affairs Committee link.

I encourage all the students to become familiar with who is your division SPDAC representative. They are your channel to express your concerns about or appreciation of the Society. You will find their name on the Student Postdoctoral Affairs Committee link and on each Division's page. We are currently deciding on a topic for the SPDAC workshop during the next meeting held in Boston. If you have a suggestion please contact your SPDAC representative. See you all in Boston.

Student Support Committee

Sherry Tamone, Chair

This was my first year as the chair of the Student Support Committee and I have to thank the entire committee for making this responsibility go so smoothly. We had twelve SICB members representing all divisions participating in the process this year. Our charge is to distribute SICB funds to successful graduate students through the Grants In Aid of Research (GIAR) awards and the Fellowship for Graduate Student Travel (FGST) awards. There is a substantial amount of SICB money, approximately $30,000.00 available to graduate students through these grants. This year prior to the Annual SICB meeting in San Antonio, TX, the Student Support Committee received 14 FGST proposals and 79 GIAR proposals to review. We were able to meet in person to discuss each proposal and funded 4 FGST and 24 GIAR proposals. The successful applicants and the titles of their proposals are listed on the SICB webpage (http://www.sicb.org/grants/giarawards2008.php3). The committee was impressed with the quality of the proposals that we received and we are planning on restructuring the guidelines for the application process coming up this fall.

The new deadline for 2008 applications will be October 1, 2008. Final decisions will be made at the Boston 2009 meeting. Graduate students who will be applying for FGST and GIAR awards this fall should please keep an eye on the SICB webpage for any announcements concerning Student Support.