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For Members 2020 SVP Election Slate Member-at-large

STERLING NESBITT




Current Position: Assistant (tenure packet submitted) professor in the Department of Geosciences, Virginia Tech

Professional Service (SVP): Award coordinator (2009-2011); Member, Romer Prize Committee (2014-2019); Member, Dawson Predoctoral Fellowship Grant Panel (Society of Vertebrate Paleontology) (2013-2019); Co-lead field trips in 2005 (with guidebook) and in 2018; Student Roundtable (2008-2014).

Professional Service (non-SVP): Member of Global Change Center at Virginia Tech (2016-Current); Research associate at the American Museum of Natural History; Smithsonian, Vertebrate Paleontology Lab at The University of Texas at Austin; Virginia Museum of Natural History; and North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences; Helped create exhibits at the American Museum of Natural History, Arizona Museum of Natural History, Museum of Geosciences, Virginia Tech; and the Field Museum; Organized (with Paul Olsen) at symposium for Southeastern GSA (2014); Member of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute Inclusive Excellence program (at Virginia Tech).

Research Interests: I am interested in the tempo, mode, and drivers of vertebrate diversity patterns over the past ~400 million years and how these features can explain the diversification or extinction of vertebrates through time. To understand drivers of evolution, I specifically study the vertebrate assemblages of the Triassic Period (~250-200 million years ago). My current passion is focused on the rise of dinosaurs, one of the most successful groups of vertebrates and have shown dinosaurs were not that successful when they first appeared in the fossil record ~230 million years ago, but were just a component of a larger radiation of a reptile group containing dinosaurs and their closest relatives. Other members of my research group are examining questions about vertebrate development, ecological transitions, reptile growth, and anatomical transitions near the origins of important vertebrate groups.

Proposal: I attended my first SVP meeting when I was a junior in high school before I was an official member, and then became a member as soon as possible. With the exception of missing the Mexico City meeting, I have been to every SVP meeting since and have watched the society grow immensely. Given my academic upbringing through SVP annual meetings, I am dedicated to the mindful and mutual-respect mentoring of high school, undergraduate, and graduate students. Furthermore, I have a number of ideas that have grown directly out of my experience as an active SVP member. For example, I would be interested in leading an initiative to promote early-career though seeking funds for a new Early-career award. As the Member-at-Large I will concentrate on communicating the importance of vertebrate paleontology to the public and public officials, the importance of conducting responsible fieldwork on both Federal and private lands, and responsible data management. Additionally, I will work hard to make SVP meetings more inclusive (e.g., better inclusion of young families).