The Odum Award is awarded to those who demonstrate their ability to relate basic ecological principles to human affairs through teaching, outreach, and mentoring activities.
In her 13 years as a professor at Chapman University, Funk has taught, mentored, and involved students in her top-level ecological research. She is currently the Biological Sciences Program Director and Interim Director for Environmental Science and Policy within Schmid College. She also serves as a mentor for the Simon STEM Scholarship Program that helps students facing challenging life circumstances throughout their time in high school and college.
Funk is committed to supporting the next generation of scientists beyond Chapman’s campus. As part of her National Science Foundation Career award, she developed the Chapman Orange High School Ecological Research Experience (COHERE) program, which offers high school students the hands-on opportunity to learn biogeochemical and ecological lab techniques.
“I could not have won this award, or progressed this far as a researcher and instructor, without the outstanding students that I work with,” shared Funk. “A huge thanks to the hundreds of Chapman undergraduate students and high school students from Orange and El Modena High Schools that I’ve interacted with during my 13 years at Chapman. I would also like to thank Dr. Jason Keller and Hagop Atamian, who have participated in the COHERE high school program and the outstanding high school teachers who have worked with us to recruit students.”
On top of her community outreach efforts, Funk is a productive ecologist publishing in top-tier journals at an impressive rate. She has more than 38 articles in top ecological journals, many including her undergraduate students as co-authors. In addition to her publications, Funk has received $2.3 million in NSF USDA and private foundation grants.
This is not the first time Funk has been recognized for her excellence in teaching. In 2010, she received Chapman University’s Valerie Scudder Award for outstanding faculty achievement in teaching, scholarship, advising, and service. Since then, Chapman has recognized her with several additional awards. Most recently, Dr. Funk was awarded the elite Senior Wang-Fradkin Professorship Award.
Interim Dean of Schmid College Dr. Jason Keller shared, “I am delighted that the Ecological Society of America has recognized what Chapman has known for a long time – Dr. Jennifer Funk is exceptional. She is proof that being an internationally-recognized scholar and working with undergraduate students are not mutually exclusive. She is most deserving of this prestigious award.”
The Ecological Society of America will present its 2020 awards during the Society’s Annual Meeting in August. You can read more about the award and other awards presented here.