Kimberly La Pierre replaces Chelse Prather as graduate student co-Chair

Network News Fall 2010, Vol. 23 No. 2
Site News

At the end of 2010, Chelse Prather will step down as co-Chair of the LTER Graduate Student Committee (GSC) to be replaced by Kimberly La Pierre.

During her time as co-chair, Chelse worked with former student co-chair Amber Hardison to organize the most recent ASM graduate student symposium and an LTER graduate student-sponsored oral session at the 2010 Ecological Society of America (ESA) meeting. Mirroring her successful stint in LTER student leadership, Chelse successfully defended her dissertation at the University of Notre Dame in October, and is currently pursuing a postdoc opportunity at Florida State University, where she mentors graduate students in interdisciplinary studies involving biology, history, and philosophy. Chelse says she greatly enjoyed working with the LTER graduate students and hopes to continue her involvement with the LTER program while continuing the research that she began during her PhD program. The GSC thanks Chelse for her service to the LTER graduate student community.

Meanwhile, Kim, a Yale University graduate student who is well acquainted with cross-site work, will continue her dissertation work across three sites, which include the Konza Prairie (KNZ) and Shortgrass Steppe (SGS) LTER sites. Kim is studying the interactions between top-down and bottom-up effects on grassland plant communities across a broad precipitation gradient.

Reflecting on her work at KNZ and SGS and her interactions with other graduate students at ASM, which led to an ongoing working group, Kim says she’s impressed by how much LTER research is driven by graduate students. She believes that students can improve both their own research and the whole LTER network if they make good use of the “long-term” and the “network” aspects of the LTER Network. Like her immediate predecessor, she says she is excited to work with other graduate students to increase cross-site collaboration and to help grad students get the most out of the network.

The GSC is currently working to improve the grad student website, and wishes to thank all the grad students who sent in pictures and other material. The Committee will shortly be sending out an email with details of the new changes and improvements to the grad students list serve. Meanwhile, students who are still keen to send in pictures to be used on the website are asked to send them by email to Sally Koerner (

Sally Koerner (KNZ) and Chelse Prather (LUQ) are GSC co-chairs, and Kimberly La Pierre, is the incoming GSC co-Chair