2021 Nominee – Member-At-Large

Caenagnathid theropod metatarsals, photo credit: Thomas Holtz

2021 Nominee – Member-At-Large

Yuri Kimura

Curator of Vertebrate Paleontology

Affiliations
Department of Geology and Paleontology
National Museum of Nature and Science, Japan

Education
Doctor of Philosophy, Southern Methodist University, 2013
Master of Science, Southern Methodist University, 2009
Bachelor of Science, Waseda University, Japan, 2005

Work experiences
I was trained to be a vertebrate paleontologist in the USA. As a curator in the only national museum of natural history in Japan, I perform diverse tasks in three fundamental roles in addition to my own research interests in Neogene mammalian community structures. For collections management, I work on collections-based projects to find scientific significance of catalogued fossils of the museum by relating them to the geological history of Japanese archipelago. For exhibition, I currently supervise two special exhibitions, for one of which I as a chief supervisor obtained strong sponsorship from a major news company with an expected funding of a few million dollars. For outreach/education, I have informally supervised three graduate students: two became assistant curators in local museums, and one became a PhD student in the USA.

Prior history in the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology
I have served as a member of the Colbert Prize Panel since 2014 and have expanded the diversity of the panel as an Asian researcher who learned English as a second language, which has proven important to ensure fair judgments of international students who are English language learners in this internationally-recognized society. Because the poster award could determine career paths for students or connect them to greater opportunities, I have taken my role as a panel member very seriously and actively attended the SVP annual meetings.

Prior experiences in other scientific societies
I have been a Member-at-Large at the Paleontological Society of Japan since 2015, assisting the public relations and education committees. As one example of my contributions, I have regularly provided consultations on career paths in paleontology for high school students to graduate students. This experience led me to publish my autobiography in 2020 (ISBN-13: 978-4893089311), which became the best seller in the “Extinct Animals” category on Amazon Japan.

Motivation and future goals as an SVP member
I am interested in becoming a Member-at-Large at SVP because I consider it a chance to learn more about how the society functions. Being outside of the USA, I can clearly see the strength of the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology. SVP is a leading center that promotes diverse topics of vertebrate paleontology, inspires other scientific fields, and associates research results with increasing public concerns. Prompt responses to social issues such as illegal fossil markets also made me interested in contributing to SVP. However, I strongly believe that SVP needs more multilateral supporters. As an Asian researcher who regularly attend SVP, I would like to provide a valuable link to East Asian (more promptly, Japanese) students. In the future, my experience and knowledge that I may acquire at SVP will be reflected in the Paleontological Society of Japan in many ways. Although my term might be more about learning rather than contributing at this point, I believe that my skills and network I described above could translate into my strength in the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology.