Early Career Alumni Award Recipients

This award recognizes an early-career alumnus or alumna of Fisheries, Wildlife and Conservation Biology who has achieved outstanding accomplishments and is poised to make significant advancements in their field.

Accepting nominations until March 20, 2022.

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2020 - Dr. Jonathan Slaght

Jonathan Slaght, M.S., '05, Ph.D., '11

Jonathan Slaght in the field with a Blakiston's Fish Owl

Jonathan Slaght is the 2020 Early Career Alumni Awardee. Since completing his MS ('05)  and PhD ('11) at the University of Minnesota, Jonathan Slaght has served as the Russia and Northeast Asia Coordinator for the Wildlife Conservation Society. He manages research projects involving endangered species such as Blakiston’s fish owls and Amur tigers, and coordinates WCS avian conservation activities along the East Asia-Australasian Flyway from the Arctic to the Tropics.

Jonathan’s writings, scientific research, and photographs have been featured by the BBC World Service, the New York Times, The Guardian, Smithsonian Magazine, The New Yorker, and Audubon Magazine, among others. A memoir of his graduate work with Blakiston’s fish owls, titled Owls of the Eastern Ice, is being published in June 2020 by Farrar, Straus, and Giroux. He also authors a blog for Scientific American about his fieldwork titled “East of Siberia.” You can follow him on Twitter.

2018 - Dr. Olivia LeDee

Olivia LeDee, Ph.D., '08

Dr. Olivia LeDee

Olivia LeDee (’08, Ph.D. Conservation Biology) has been selected to be the first recipient of the University of Minnesota - Fisheries, Wildlife and Conservation Biology (FWCB) Early Career Alumni Award. Her dissertation addressed the relationship between non–breeding shorebird populations, landscape conversion, and management of listed species in coastal areas.

Since completing her doctorate, Olivia has provided leadership for several key initiatives at the interface of natural resource conservation and climate change. Olivia is the Acting Director of the Midwest Climate Adaptation Science Center.