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ENR Director Indy Burke Elected Fellow of American Association for the Advancement of Science

January 12, 2011 — Indy Burke, a Wyoming Excellence chair and director of the Environment and Natural Resources Program at the University of Wyoming, has been elected a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the world's largest and most prestigious scientific organization.

Election as a Fellow is an honor bestowed by peers to recognize scientists whose "efforts on behalf of the advancement of science or its applications are scientifically or socially distinguished."

Burke was elected for her contributions to the fields of terrestrial biogeochemistry and ecosystem ecology, and particularly for studies of nitrogen dynamics in grassland and steppe ecosystems. She has written more than 100 peer-reviewed journal articles, numerous book chapters and an edited book. Additionally, she has led interdisciplinary teams to study the interactions of climate, plants and animals, and human uses such as grazing and crop production on North American Great Plains ecosystems.

"Indy Burke's election as a Fellow of the AAAS recognizes her as a nationally renowned scientist and the leadership she's provided in bringing together diverse experts to address critical ­environmental problems," says Stephen Jackson, UW's director of the Program in Ecology and a professor in the Department of Botany.

Having worked as an environmental scientist and leader in academia for more than two decades, Burke says she accepted the ENR's director position because it provided her with the opportunity to focus on interdisciplinary understanding.

"I was attracted to UW because it is an institution that values interdisciplinary research and learning," she says. "The goal that I have been working toward is to better position UW as a recognized national and international leader in a variety of fields of knowledge pertaining to the environment and natural resources."

There are currently five AAAS fellows at UW. Other faculty members to receive the honor are: Steve Jackson for his contributions to the fields of paleoecology and Earth-system history; Bill Lauenroth, a professor in the Department of Botany, for his contributions to grassland and rangeland science; Bruce Parkinson, a professor in the Department of Chemistry and UW's School of Energy Resources, for his contributions as a solar energy researcher; George Vance, a professor in the Department of Renewable Resources, for his contributions to environmental issues related to agriculture, mined lands and water resources; and Harold Bergman, a professor in the Department of Zoology and Physiology, for his contributions in aquatic toxicology.

The AAAS, founded in 1848, includes some 262 affiliated societies and academies of science and serves 10 million individuals worldwide. The association also publishes the premier global science weekly journal, Science ( The new Fellows will be presented with an official certificate and a gold and blue rosette pin, representing science and engineering, during a special Fellows Forum and ceremony scheduled Feb. 19, at the AAAS annual meeting in Washington D.C.

Indy Burke, director of the University of Wyoming's Environment and Natural Resources Program, has been elected a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.


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