Waller recognized for integration of research and outreach


Jesica Waller, who conducted research in David Fields’ lab on the American lobster, has been awarded the Edith Patch Award by the University of Maine in recognition of her “effective integration of research and outreach.” The award will presented on Earth Day, April 17, 2016 from 3:00 to 5:00 p.m. at the Thomas Lynch University Club at the University of Maine, Orono.

The Edith Patch Award is given by the Friends of Dr. Edith Marion Patch each year to graduate and undergraduate women in acknowledgement of distinguished work they have done while at the University of Maine, and in recognition of their promise for future contribution to the fields of science, agriculture, engineering, or environmental education. The awardees receive a small honorarium and deliver a brief presentation about their work at the Annual Earth Day Reception in honor of Dr. Edith Marion Patch.

Dr. Patch (1876 – 1954) was the first woman scientist employed by the University of Maine. After working for a year without salary to prove that a woman could do the job, she went on to earn international professional renown for her work as an agricultural entomologist. In addition to her prolific scientific output, she was respected and revered worldwide for her numerous engaging and informative writings about natural history. She was one of America’s earliest environmental advocates, calling for reduction in chemical pesticide use a generation before Rachel Carson. She was also a national leader in the earliest days of environmental education. The Friends of Dr. Edith Marion Patch created the Edith Patch Award as a way of recognizing the accomplishments and the potential of a new generation of UMaine women following in Dr. Patch’s footsteps.

Dr. Mary Dickinson Bird, Education and Science chair of the Friends of Dr. Edith Marion Patch, wrote in a letter announcing the award to Waller: "Members of the committee were intrigued and impressed by your investigation of the ways American lobster larvae change in response to ocean acidification and warming, and the possible link between these larval responses and changes in gene expression. Your capacity to communicate your findings beyond the realm of scientific colleagues, reaching out to policy makers, members of the lobster industry, and the public at large, mirrors Dr. Patch's commitment to science in the service of our people and our planet. In fact, Dr. Patch herself often used popular media, photography, and a lively literary style for science-based environmental advocacy. She would have been delighted with your Vizzie-award winning photo -- so beautiful, and yet such a vivid reminder of the vulnerability of our marine environment. Through your effective integration of research and outreach, you are indeed carrying on Dr. Patch's legacy as a UMaine woman in science.

University of Maine Research Professor Richard Wahle nominated Jes Waller for the award.