What’s your name and role here at DEB?
My name is Amanda Ingram and I’m a rotating Program Officer in the Systematics and Biodiversity Science Cluster.
Where did you go to school?
I earned a B.S. in Biology and Environmental Science from The College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, VA and my Ph.D. in Plant Biology from Cornell University
Where is your home institution?
Wabash College, a small liberal arts college in Indiana.
Tell us about your research.
My main line of research involves understanding the evolutionary relationships among species of Eragrostis, commonly known as the lovegrasses. This is a fascinating and diverse group of C4 grasses—many species are polyploids, morphological and anatomical diversity abounds, and they grow in (and therefore must be collected in!) all sorts of interesting places. The genus also contains a cereal crop, tef, which is incredibly important in Ethiopian agriculture and is the grain of choice for making injera. I also dabble in educational and science communication research and mentor undergraduate research projects investigating mycorrhizal associations in orchids native to Indiana.
Why do you want to serve with NSF?
NSF has supported me at every key stage of my career, so I’m excited to give back to the Foundation and to help support our research community. I’ve also loved the time I’ve spent serving on panels over the years. Finally, I’m thrilled to be fully immersed in systematics research again—at my home institution, I spend a lot of time thinking and teaching broadly about a wide range of biological topics, so I’m looking forward to the time to focus on my true scientific passions while working closely with my colleagues in SBS.
What are you looking forward to in your tenure here at NSF?
I’m looking forward to getting an insider’s perspective on how science policy is shaped, learning more about how funding decisions are made, and experiencing first-hand the wonderful NSF culture I’ve heard so much about. Plus, I’m excited to have a break from small-town life to enjoy lovely Alexandria.