Eleanor Sterling

­CSHL WiSE is thrilled to host Dr. Eleanor Sterling as a keynote speaker at our second annual In-House Education Retreat!

Photo: Cornell

Eleanor Sterling, Ph.D. is a Columbia University Adjunct Professor in the Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Environmental Biology and an Adjunct Research Scientist at Columbia’s Earth Institute, in the Center for Environmental Research and Conservation. She currently serves as Chief Conservation Scientist and Affiliated Professor at the American National History Museum’s Richard Gilder Graduate School for Comparative Biology. Dr. Sterling previously served as director of the American Museum of Natural History’s Center for Biodiversity and Conservation from 2000-2014.

Dr. Sterling received her bachelors, master of arts, and doctorate degrees at Yale University. She trained under Dr. Alison Richard in graduate school. She has studied in the field of ecological sciences and conservation all over the world, traveling to remote places including Madagascar, Vietnam, the Soloman Islands, and many more. She has published extensively in journals including Nature Ecology and Evolution, Conservation Biology, and the Journal of Evolutionary Biology

She currently serves as Secretary on the Board of Directors for the Center for Humans and Nature, an organization focused on uniting “philosophers, ecologists, artists, political scientists, anthropologists, poets and economists, among others, to think creatively about a resilient future for the whole community of life”. She is the editor of Lessons in Conservation, the official journal of the Network of Conservation Educators and Practitioners (NCEP), “an international group that develops sound biodiversity conservation practice by improving conservation training at the undergraduate, graduate and professional level,” which she helped established.

Photo: Natural History Magazine

She has received numerous awards including the 2019 Women of Discovery Award, given by the non-profit WINGS World­Quest, in the category of Humanity. This award “recognize[s] extraordinary women making significant contributions to world knowledge and science through exploration.” In 2016, she received the Yale Graduate School of Arts and Sciences’ Wilbur Cross Medal which “recognizes distinguished achievements in scholarship, teaching, academic administration, and public service.” In 2012, she received Columbia University’s Graduate Student Advisory Council Faculty Mentoring Award, having served as a mentor for numerous doctoral students there in the Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Environmental Biology. Dr. Sterling is the founder of the Women in Natural Sciences Chapter of the Association for Women in Sciences (AWIS). She is dedicated to increasing diversity in science and mentoring the next generation of scientist and leaders.

We look forward to hearing her speak this coming Sunday (9/8/19), her talk is entitled “Gender-based leadership for managing complexity: A case study from conservation biology.”

Learn more about Dr. Sterling in these interviews:


Thanks WiSE VP DeeDee Rupert for spearheading the retreat and writing this great profile!

Photos: Cornell, Natural History Magazine

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