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WVU Davis College seminars to feature prominent women in natural resources field


As Women’s History Month comes to a close, the West Virginia University Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design will welcome to campus two inspirational and distinguished leaders in the field of natural resources as guest speakers.

Toddi SteelmanToddi Steelman, wildfire expert and Stanback Dean of the Nicholas School of the Environment at Duke University, and Mamie Parker, former assistant director of fisheries and habitat conservation for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, will give presentations on March 26 and 27, respectively.

As this year’s Davis-Michael Distinguished Lecturer, Steelman will present “A Change in Climate for Climate Change” at 11 a.m. on Tues., March 26, in G06 Agricultural Sciences Building.

Her presentation will be the keynote address for the College’s annual Graduate Student Research and Creative Scholarship Day scheduled for 8:15 a.m. – 5 p.m. in the Agricultural Sciences Building.

Although best known as a wildfire expert, Steelman is well-recognized nationally and internationally for her work in environmental and natural resource policy. Her research has been funded by the National Science Foundation and Canadian Tri Agencies as well as a variety of federal and state agencies.

The author of four books, Steelman has published extensively in peer-reviewed journals, as well as opinion and editorial pieces in Nature, the Globe and Mail and the Los Angeles Times.

Prior to joining Duke University in 2018, she served five years as the first permanent executive director for the School of Environment and Sustainability at the University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Canada. She also spent 11 years as a faculty member in the Department of Forestry and Environmental Resources at North Carolina State University, and four years in the Graduate School of Public Affairs at the University of Colorado at Denver.

She holds a Ph.D. from Duke University, a master’s in public affairs from Princeton University and a bachelor’s in political science and international studies from WVU.

The following day (March 27), Mamie Parker will present “Passion, Inspiration and Excellence” at 6:30 p.m. in the lower lobby of Percival Hall. Mamie Parker

During a career spanning more than 30 years with the federal government, Parker spent 20 of those years in the field before being named special assistant to the director of the Service. She was later promoted to regional director of 13 northeastern states, the first African American to hold the position in the 135-year history of the agency.

Parker has extensive experience in environmental impact analysis, fish culture and health, and invasive species and habitat restoration.

Currently, she is the principal of Ma Parker and Associates, a public speaking, facilitation and executive coaching business in Washington, D.C.

She holds degrees in biology and ecology and is a graduate of the University of Arkansas and the University of Wisconsin. She also received executive leadership training at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

Parker’s presentation is sponsored by the Terry L. Sharik Natural Resources Diversity Fund which was established to enhance undergraduate, graduate and faculty diversity in the College’s Division of Forestry and Natural Resources.

Both seminars are free and open to the public.