Diversity Sessions

We are pleased to present two special diversity sessions on Tuesday of Week 1 & Week 2 from 4:00pm–5:00pm Eastern Daylight Time (EDT). Make plans to join us and participate in both of these illuminating and thought provoking sessions.

Tuesday, July 27, 2021

4:00pm–5:00pm (EDT)

Diversity 101: Where do we start? With our hearts!

Benita Bannis, Assistant Director of the International Support Team (IIST) for the UF/IFAS Office of Dean for Research, will share her story and experience being black in academia. Benita will talk about the history of struggles black people encounter, with compelling images and stories from the past and present. This session is intended to unite us, reach our hearts and instill a desire for change by cultivating awareness at a deeper, more personal level. It is only when we become aware of racist behavior in our day-to-day lives, in our very own organizations (whether we know it or not and whether we are racist or not), that we can begin to effect change. Join us for the first of two sessions on addressing diversity and inclusion, and be a part of the discussion within the NCER Community.

Tuesday, August 3, 2021

4:00pm–5:00pm (EDT)

Diversity 102: The Conservation Journey

Invited scientists will share their stories about how they overcame hurdles in the STEM fields to advance their careers, and how their journeys shape their approaches to ecological restoration. They will share specifics about roadblocks they encountered along the way; describe gatekeepers that control who goes in or is kept out and discuss specific actions we can take to support the career advancement of under-represented groups. An agency manager will share steps they have taken to increase diversity and inclusion within their operations and share concrete actions you can take to make a difference within your circle of influence. Join us for a conversation on how we as a restoration community can do our part to advance diversity and inclusion.

Moderator Introduction & Overview

Matthew Harwell, Chief, Pacific Coastal Ecology Branch, USEPA Pacific Ecological Systems Division, Newport, OR

Presenters & Discussants:

Levi Steele Lewis, Principal Investigator, Otolith Geochemistry & Fish Ecology Laboratory, University of California, Davis, CA

Chanda Littles, Coastal Ecologist, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers – Portland District, Portland, OR

Jennifer Owen-White, Manager, Valle de Oro National Wildlife Refuge, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Albuquerque, NM


The University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) is a federal-state-county partnership dedicated to developing knowledge in agriculture, human and natural resources, and the life sciences, and enhancing and sustaining the quality of human life.


The Office of Conferences & Institutes is a full service conference planning agency at the University of Florida. OCI was created to support the Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) mission to develop knowledge in agriculture, human and natural resources, and to make that knowledge available to people to sustain and enhance the quality of human life.


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