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ESIP Recognizes Peer Excellence at 2019 Winter Meeting

ESIP Recognizes Peer Excellence at 2019 Winter Meeting

An important aspect of the ESIP community is recognizing the outstanding accomplishments, achievements and service of our community members and individual participants. At the 2019 ESIP Winter Meeting, we recognized the phenomenal efforts of the following individuals, groups, and member organizations.

Martha Maiden Award – Lesley Wyborn

Lesley Wyborn (center) with the Award's namesake Martha Maiden (left), and 2018 ESIP President, Christine White (right).

The Martha Maiden Award recognizes outstanding service to the Earth science information community and honors individuals who have demonstrated leadership, dedication, and a collaborative spirit in advancing the field of Earth Science information. The award was presented to Lesley Wyborn by Mark Parsons. Here are some of his remarks:

“I consider Lesley a true pioneer in Geoinformatics, and she is still leading the way. I remember when I first saw her present a decade or so ago. I was blown away by both her forward thinking while still being really grounded in the actual science. Let me quote from one of Lesley’s many fans: “With her simultaneously deep and broad knowledge in the Earth, computer, and information sciences, Lesley has been engaged in the widest range of initiatives, from developing best practices for small data and physical samples to solving architectures for peta-scale computing, from rescuing data-at-risk to creating virtual research environments, from advancing FAIR data practices to advancing diversity and inclusion in the Earth and space sciences.”

Lesley started her career in Geochemistry and she worked for the Australian government from 1972 until she “retired” in 2014. She got her PhD in 1978, while working and raising a young family. No small accomplishment. During her career she made all sorts of major contributions, including the development of:

  • GeoSciML
  • OneGeology
  • Oceans Data Interoperability Platform (ODIP)
  • The Belmont Forum e-infrastructure
  • The Enabling FAIR Project.

Lesley transformed how the AGU (American Geophysical Union) program committee works and has raised the profile of the informatics section. Her work has set new standards for program design and member engagement. She has also been instrumental in starting a new chapter of ESIP in Australia. But the theme that stands out above all of Lesley's myriad accomplishments is how she fosters collaboration. More than once she has taken me by the arm and physically dragged me across the room to meet someone. “Young man,” she will say, “come with me”. It’s always an interesting and valuable meeting that she creates. While Lesley’s CV will attest to various roles she has played, it is unlikely to adequately reflect the passion she embodies in the pursuit of better outcomes through collaboration. The so-called “soft skills” of collaboration are only more recently being recognized as one of the most important elements to overcome harder organizational challenges. Here are some more quotes from Lesley's colleagues:

  • “KL: I have followed with admiration and appreciation the extraordinary level of dedication, enthusiasm, persistence, and energy that Lesley has shown in her continuous efforts to bring communities together.”
  • “SS: Dr. Wyborn has dedicated her life to the tireless collaboration work necessary to move the entire Earth, space, and environmental informatics community forward.”
  • “AT: [Lesley has] boundless energy, endless enthusiasm, and a firm commitment to working collaboratively to bring about improved outcomes. I have particularly valued the way in which she cross-pollinates ideas and approaches from one domain to another to the benefit of both!”

Lesley is the quintessential example of the “hybrid” nature of informaticists. One of the in between people. In that vein another fan writes: “The community is extremely fortunate that she continues to inspire, mentor and encourage the next generation to get past difficult barriers in pursuit of a better collaborative future for the Earth sciences. In a world that is uncertain about what jobs and careers will look like even in the near future, it is without doubt that Lesley’s career of embodying such hybrid skills will be one that continues to endure.”

Lesley is a joy to work with. She is always good spirited and sensible. Mother Wyborn she is sometimes called, and I think she likes that title. And she often has a clever turn of phase. I bet you didn’t realize that the AGU program requires a bit of “poodle fluffing” to make it right. She is a genuine leader in our community and a force to be reckoned with. It is my great honor to present Dr. Lesley Wyborn with the 2019 Martha Maiden Lifetime Achievement Award.”

Catalyst Award – ESIP Education Committee

The Catalyst Award honors those who have brought about positive change in ESIP and inspired others to take action in the past year.

2018 ESIP President, Christine White, presented the award to members of the ESIP Education Committee. Here is an excerpt from her presentation:

“This year’s award goes not to one person but to three women who have served, not only ESIP, but the Earth science community. They are true leaders on the front lines, affecting positive change and advancing science, but in ways that are less glory and more guts. This year, the Catalyst Award goes to Margaret Mooney, LuAnn Dahlman, and Shelley Olds, for their long-running service in the ESIP Education Committee.

These leaders do not only plan the Summer Meeting Teacher workshop, the Out2Lunch seminars, and advocate for getting science and informatics – and coding – resources into the classroom. They are also mentors and role models to many of us in ESIP – sometimes in their words, but always in their actions. The Committee would like to give note to the hard work of the whole committee – Becky Reid, Bob Downs, Patty Reif, Carla McAuliffe and many others.

This is a very important part of ESIP. Thank you for your excellent work and leadership.”

Check out this Tweet about the Awardees.

President's Award – Karen Moe

President's Award recipient, Karen Moe (right), with 2018 ESIP President Christine White (left).

The President's Award honors an individual who has made the most significant contribution to ESIP in the previous year. The award was presented to Karen Moe by 2018 ESIP President Christine White. Here are some of Christine's remarks:

Most significant is a difficult bar. We cannot know all the contributions you all make. But this year’s award goes to someone who has served ESIP well in the past but also continues to serve, provide thoughtful counsel, valuable perspective, and also appropriately fiery energy for making data a first class citizen in a world where that is not always the case. Also – this person is so humble, they are listening to all this and would never guess this award is going to them.

This year’s President’s Award goes to Karen Moe.

Karen spent the last 40 Years at NASA, and the last 20 or so were with NASA’s Earth Science Technology Office (ESTO) – which is also celebrated its 20th anniversary last year. Karen has been NASA Emeritus for the last 3 years, volunteering her time at ESTO. Her focus at ESIP has been in the area of disasters and opps to apply Earth Observation data and technology for social benefit. The Disaster Cluster fits in that very well, and as the cluster expands into health and human services, Karen see opportunities to bring science data to that environment. But also – Karen has served on ESIP’s Board for the past two years, digging in to help with ESIP’s AGU strategy.

Karen is kind and encouraging. She talks to new people. She listens and engages in thoughtful, meaningful ways, inspiring us to be active in our local as well as national community. She has been a hero to me and it’s been an honor knowing her through her work on the ESIP Board.”

Partner of the Year – DataONE

The Partner of the Year Award honors an ESIP member organization that best exemplifies the spirit of ESIP in one or more areas. For the 2019 award, we were particularly looking for member organizations that have supported ESIP's 2015 – 2020 Strategic Goal #3 (Promote techniques to articulate and measure the socioeconomic value and benefit of Earth science data, information and applications).

The award was presented to DataONE by ESIP Partnership Committee Chair, Nancy Hoebelheinrich. Rebecca Koskela accepted the  award on behalf of DataONE. Nancy noted that DataONE has been a long time collaborator with ESIP and has been a very important contributor to building networks of collaborators within the Earth science data community. DataONE has contributed tremendously to raising the awareness and understanding of the socioeconomic value of data by contributing to education on research and data lifecycles, and developing best practices and de facto standards for creating, sharing and managing Earth science data, especially environmental data.