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UW’s Chalfoun Receives Presidential Early Career Award

January 13, 2014
Woman smiling
Anna Chalfoun was selected for the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers.

Anna L. Chalfoun, assistant unit leader for wildlife with the Wyoming Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit  and an assistant professor in the Department of Zoology and Physiology at the University of Wyoming, has been selected for a Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers.

She is among 102 researchers presented the award, the U.S. government’s highest honor for science and engineering professionals in the early stages of their independent research careers.

Awardees are selected for their “pursuit of innovative research at the frontiers of science and technology and their commitment to community service as demonstrated through scientific leadership, public education or community outreach.”

Chalfoun was cited for her “brilliant contributions toward an understanding of habitat, the most critical element of species, landscape and ecosystem management; and for her tireless efforts to train students while imparting her enthusiasm for conservation-based science.”

She is one of only three recipients representing the Department of Interior’s U.S. Geological Survey, which runs the Cooperative Research Unit program. The Wyoming Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit is among 40 such units across the country that focus on applied fish and wildlife research.

“The impressive achievements of these early-stage scientists and engineers are promising indicators of even greater successes ahead,” President Obama said.  “We are grateful for their commitment to generating the scientific and technical advancements that will ensure America’s global leadership for many years to come.”

Her nomination states, “Chalfoun has used a combination of clever experiments and observational studies, together with brilliant reviews/syntheses, to already have a large impact on science and conservation at local, national and international levels.”

Her 2009 paper in Journal of Animal Ecology was one of the 10 most downloaded papers of that year and already has 30 citations. The nomination noted “she has been invited to write perspectives and organize symposia and sought out by agencies to conduct research, and she has been impressively successful in obtaining funding to continue large-scale landscape work.”

Her research with her graduate students has had significant local, national and international media attention. She has graduated five master’s students, all of whom are currently employed and have scientific manuscripts published or in the works.

Current research in her laboratory spans the disciplines of ecology, evolution, behavior and conservation biology.

“Graduate student projects have both applied and conceptual components that are well-suited for students interested in learning to conduct rigorous scientific research that simultaneously addresses real-world wildlife conservation issues,” Chalfoun says. “Examples of the lab’s  focus include energy development, the mountain pine beetle epidemic and climate change.”

Established in 1996 by President Bill Clinton, the Presidential Early Career Awards' priority is to produce outstanding scientists and engineers to advance the nation’s goals, tackle grand challenges and contribute to the American economy.

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