Bowser, Funk, Laituri named Fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science

2022 AAAS Fellows banner

Three members of the Colorado State University faculty – Gillian Bowser, W. Chris Funk and Melinda Laituri – have been named 2022 Fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the world’s largest multidisciplinary scientific society and publisher of the Science family of journals.

The 2022 class of AAAS Fellows includes 506 scientists, engineers and innovators spanning 24 scientific disciplines. The lifetime designation is given to those whose efforts to advance science applications are deemed “scientifically or socially distinguished.”

In a tradition stretching back to 1874, AAAS Fellows are elected annually by the AAAS Council. The 2022 Fellows will be recognized during a ceremonial Fellows Forum at the AAAS Annual Meeting, being held this year in Washington, D.C., in March.

Gillian Bowser, Warner College of Natural Resources

Gillian Bowser at the US Embassy in CroatiaGillian Bowser is an associate professor in the Department of Ecosystem Science and Sustainability.

Her research focuses on the protection of biodiversity and nature’s resources, and the ability of all people to access such resources. She has studied ecological indicators of climate change, from high-elevation pollinator insects to local community livelihoods. She has a particular passion for engaging citizen scientists from backgrounds that are traditionally underrepresented in science. She was recently part of a Marie Curie Horizon 2020 grant from the European Union that focuses on ecological indicators in the highlands worldwide.

She has been a wildlife biologist and ecologist in the U.S. National Park Service, was a Fulbright Scholar in Peru, and served as an AAAS Science and Diplomacy Fellow. Throughout her career, she has worked to elevate the voices of CSU students on international platforms, including at the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change.

Chris Funk, College of Natural Sciences

Chris FunkChris Funk is a professor in the Department of Biology, an advising faculty member in the Graduate Degree Program in Ecology at CSU, and director of the Global Biodiversity Center, housed in the School of Global Environmental Sustainability at CSU.

A conservation geneticist and evolutionary ecologist, Funk strives to understand the mechanisms that generate and maintain biodiversity, with the ultimate goal of using this knowledge to conserve small and declining populations. His research focuses on vertebrates, including amphibians, reptiles, birds, fish and mammals in tropical South America and the western U.S. His main interests lie in addressing questions of fundamental importance in evolutionary ecology that also have important conservation applications. He studies common species as models for testing evolutionary and conservation theory, as well as threatened and endangered species to inform their conservation and management.

Funk was previously an Aldo Leopold Leadership Fellow and a Fulbright Fellow in Colombia.

Melinda Laituri, Warner College of Natural Resources

Melinda LaituriMelinda Laituri is a professor emeritus in the Department of Ecosystem Science and Sustainability. She served as director of the Geospatial Centroid at CSU, which provides information and support for GIS activities, education and outreach throughout Colorado. She was also a founding member of the Center for Environmental Justice at CSU.

Throughout her research career, she worked with Indigenous peoples on issues related to natural resource management, disaster adaptation and water resources using geospatial applications and participatory methods. She also researched the role of the internet and geospatial technologies in disaster management and cross-cultural environmental histories of river basin management.

Laituri was a Rachel Carson Fellow at Ludwig-Maximilians University in Munich, Germany, and a Jefferson Science Fellow, where she worked in the Office of the Geographer and Global Issues at the U.S. Department of State. She was a Fulbright Scholar at the University of Botswana, and she is currently a research scientist at the Center for Geographic Analysis at Harvard University. She recently had published an edited volume on geography and the COVID-19 pandemic.

Last year’s AAAS Fellows from CSU were Rick Aster and Rajinder Ranu.