UC Berkeley lecturers named California Academy of Sciences fellows

photo of Stephanie Carlson, Damian Elias, and Laura Keuppers
The California Academy of Sciences named three campus faculty members as fellows, recognizing their contributions to the field of natural sciences.

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Three campus lecturers in the Rausser College of Natural Resources have been named California Academy of Sciences fellows a title bestowed upon scientists who have contributed notably to the natural sciences.

Professors Stephanie Carlson, Damian Elias and associate professor Lara Kueppers are among 14 new fellows named by the California Academy of Sciences this year. According to its website, the California Academy of Sciences is a nonprofit organization committed to regenerating the natural world.

The organization will officially announce all new fellows next week and they will be inducted during the fellowship’s next meeting in early October.

“The Fellows of the California Academy of Sciences are a governing group of more than 450 distinguished scientists, nominated by their colleagues and appointed by the Academy’s Board of Trustees,” said California Academy of Sciences spokesperson Skylar Knight in an email.

Kueppers, a campus associate professor in the Energy and Resources Group, said she specializes in climate change and how it can alter ecosystems, especially with regards to the distribution of different species across the terrain.

Upon hearing the news, Kueppers felt a sense of recognition, something that can be scarce in the field of science, she noted. She said her goals as a fellow include engaging with the academy and increasing outreach.

“Scientists — we’re used to having our papers rejected and our proposals rejected so when you receive an acceptance of a reward, it feels really good to be recognized,” Kueppers said.

Elias, a professor in the department of environmental science, policy and management, or ESPM, specializes in animal behavior and communication. As a fellow, he said he is hoping to increase outreach and expand diversity, equity and inclusion efforts in his lab.

As the first in his family to earn a graduate degree, Elias added that receiving the fellowship was an honor and surprise.

“I never really expected to get a job in an academic institution, much less a professor,” Elias said. “When I heard the news, I really thought about the path that took me here.”

Like Elias, Carlson is a professor in the ESPM department. According to the department website, Carlson specializes in fish ecology.

Elias noted that receiving the scholarship was still “surreal.”

“I’m just thinking about all the people that have helped me along the way, the kinds of mentors that I’ve had and all the people that I collaborated with in my lab — just how much of a community is needed to be able to get to a point where you get an honor like this,” Elias said.

Contact Kelly Suth at [email protected], and follow her on Twitter at @kellyannesuth.