Claudia Czimczik will receive the 2017 Sulzman Award for Excellence in Education and Mentoring at the 2017 American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting, to be held 11–15 December in New Orleans, La. The award is given to “one mid-career female scientist…for significant contributions as a role model and mentor for the next generation of biogeoscientists.”
I am honored to be recognized with the Sulzman Award and would like to thank all who supported my nomination. I am glad to be a biogeoscientist and to be part of the international community of scientists and educators within AGU.
Many uncertainties remain as to whether thawing permafrost will become a carbon source to the atmosphere, and training the next generation of scientists who can help solve this critical issue is important to me. As a biogeoscientist, fieldwork connects me to the system I study, and keeps me fit. More important, it challenges me to understand my data sets within the context of a landscape. Just as how my mentors taught me the importance of taking representative samples, I endeavor to pass this knowledge down to my students and postdocs. Back in the lab, we use torches, cryogenic liquids, and instrumentation the size of a room, and it gives me great joy to see students mastering techniques and learning about the power of radiocarbon and how we can use this to understand the changing world around us.
As biogeoscientists, we are in a unique position to share our knowledge so that the people in our communities can make more informed decisions for a sustainable future. I strive to take all my students into wildlands and cultural landscapes to teach them about the importance of soils and plants. It is my hope that through these experiences my students can appreciate the services terrestrial ecosystems provide to us humans and how our actions can have local, regional, and global consequences. I also believe that biogeoscientists can lead by example and show our students and the public how the pursuit of knowledge brings people from different backgrounds together in peaceful discourse.
I am grateful to my mentors, students, and peers who helped shape the researcher and teacher that I am today. My mentors, including C. Beierkuhnlein, K. Müller-Hohenstein, A. Paulsch, C. Preston, J. Randerson, M. Schmidt, E.-D. Schulze, S. Trumbore, J. Welker, and X. Xu, welcomed me into their worlds, patiently taught me how to read landscapes, write, operate instruments, and quantify uncertainties, and encouraged me to always share good ideas. I thank my postdocs and my graduate and undergraduate students for their curiosity and hard work. As an educator, I encourage all students to keep on asking questions, demand time with their mentors, go on field trips, be peer mentors, and become part of the research community.—Claudia Czimczik, University of California, Irvine