Jessica Burnett, SNR graduate student, has been selected to receive an Irvin A. and Agnes E. Nelson Memorial Fellowship. The assistance provided by this fund is intended to help the recipient pay for travel expenses to attend a professional meeting for the purpose of presenting research results or other professional development opportunities.
She will attend the sixth North American Ornithological Congress, which takes place Aug. 16 to 20, in Washington, D.C.
“This congress meets once every four years, making this an ideal opportunity for me to discuss my proposed dissertation research with and to present preliminary results to a suite of peers, and potential collaborators and future employers,” Burnett said. “This congress draws in ornithologists, avian ecologists and bird population ecologists from across North and South America. Attendance to this conference will provide me ample opportunity to discuss my dissertation research with key players in these fields.”
Burnett’s graduate research focuses on identification and prediction of regime shifts, or abrupt changes in the functioning or structure of an ecosystem. She identifies individual bird species that can best inform about future regime shifts by examining their distribution and population trends.
“My research interests lie in understanding the effects of urbanization and global change on bird species' distributions – and especially the adaptation of wildlife to urban living,” Burnett said. She uses the Breeding Bird Survey, longterm, citizen-science data set, as part of her research.
The fellowship also will provide Burnett the opportunity to present at the “Big Data Ornithology” symposium, of which she is a co-organizer, during the conference.
“As a first generation college (and graduate) student, I am honored to have received this award, as well as the Othmer Fellowship from UNL and CASNR, with support from my co-advisors Dr. Craig Allen (SNR) and Dr. Dirac Twidwell (Agronomy), mentor Dr. Mary Bomberger-Brown, peer-mentor Hannah Birge, and my department head, Dr. John Carroll," she said.
Burnett, who is the co-founder of the UNL Association for Women in Science affiliate group and co-founder and president of the Natural Resources Diversity Initiative, anticipates earning her doctorate in 2019.
She is a recent inductee to the Resilience Alliance Young Scholar program and will serve as a student representative for the SNR Faculty Advisory Committee and the fall seminar series committee beginning this fall.
— Shawna Richter-Ryerson, Natural Resources
More details at: snr.unl.edu