The Claremont University Consortium (CUC) named Jennifer Gee Interim Manager of the Bernard Field Station (BFS) on March 1.
According to Tim Morrison, CUC Vice President for Facilities Management and Planning, Gee will be responsible for supervising 5C programs and activities at the BFS. Gee will also maintain all BFS facilities, ongoing projects, and classes.
Gee, who comes to CUC from her post as Research Associate in UC Riverside’s biology department, has worked with field stations in the past. She has conducted research at the Boyd Deep Canyon Desert Research Station and has engaged in a number of field projects, including designing field studies and establishing field sites in California, Alaska, Panama and Barbados. Gee also has experience advising undergraduate and graduate student research projects—including junior and senior theses—at Princeton University, Cornell University, Harvard University, and Whitman College.
In an e-mail to The Student Life, Gee said she plans to bring her lab and field work experience to her role as Interim Manager.
“I have what I like to think of as a big bag of field ecology ‘tricks,’ tools to use to answer research questions,” she wrote. “I will serve as a good resource for students and professors that wish to consult with me to get ideas for projects and classes, maintain their projects and classes, and troubleshoot various problems that may arise in the field.”
Gee completed a Postdoctoral Fellowship at Harvard University, where she conducted research on evolution, genetics, and development of avian beaks. She was also a Postdoctoral Trainee at Cornell University, where she conducted research on the California Quail, research she hopes to continue at the BFS.
“It is an ideal position for me to gain experience managing a field station while pursuing my long-term field research program on California and Gambel’s Quail hybridization,” Gee wrote.
According to Morrison, a search committee chaired by Pomona Vice President and Dean of the College Cecilia Conrad chose Gee because of her extensive experience working in locations similar to the BFS.
“The Search Committee… selected Dr. Gee based on the quality and breadth of academic credentials, strength in field research [and] publications, as well as experience working with undergraduate and graduate students,” Morrison wrote in an e-mail to TSL.
The BFS has been without a manager since last November, when the previous manager was fired. CUC anticipates the hiring of a permanent manager to take place this summer.
According to Ali Corley PO ’11, a biology major who conducts research at the BFS, having an interim manager will be an asset for students.
“I hope the new BFS manager will not only schedule and oversee student projects on the BFS, but will work to maintain the coastal sage scrub habitat and conserve the endemic species that still reside there,” Corley said.
In the past, Harvey Mudd College (HMC) has considered developing a portion of the BFS land, and last semester the Claremont City Council approved a partition of the land into four parcels, which HMC can more easily sell and develop.
Corley said she hopes Gee will be an advocate for preserving the BFS in its entirety.
“I think that having a new manager will be helpful in trying to save the BFS because hopefully she will become a strong advocate for its preservation,” she said. “Since the manager lives on the BFS and organizes all the projects that take place there, I’m sure she’ll have a strong appreciation for the BFS and will fight to keep it around as long as possible.”