Meet DEB: Elizabeth Crowder, Simmone Deane, & Justin Lawrence

Elizabeth enjoying her research for her upcoming WWII novel

What is your name and role here at DEB? I’m Elizabeth Crowder and serve as a Program Assistant in the Division of Environmental Biology.

How did you find out about NSF? Space Camp—when I first indulged my awe of aeronautics, earth, and the universe. The wonder never left. I also love looking in muddy puddles, listening for the barred owl near my house, and watching the seasons change. Joining the Pathways Program at NSF was the perfect fit, allowing me to serve our country, indulge my curiosity about the natural world, and continue my studies.

Tell us a little about what you studied in school:

My educational background is as varied as the flora and fauna of the Galapagos Islands:

James Madison University, B.S., Political Science with two minors: American Studies and Psychology

Vanderbilt University, M.Ed., Higher Education Administration with a focus on Institutional Development

University of California at Berkeley – Currently pursuing a graduate certificate in College Admissions and Career Planning

Cats or Dogs? Can I pick dogs that act like cats? I would probably choose cats but most of my family is allergic to them, so we have a sweet little Havanese. I visit with the neighbor’s cat on occasion to enjoy feline felicitations.

If you could have any fictional character as your best friend, who would it be? Ooooh, that’s a good question. I’m going to go with Superman. He’s a handy person to have in a crisis, and I can just imagine his beautiful view of both earth and the cosmos, all without having to make an airline reservation.

Enjoying an afternoon off from my COVID-19 vaccination outreach efforts in Central Illinois; Summer 2021

Enjoying an afternoon off from my COVID-19 vaccination outreach efforts in Central Illinois; Summer 2021

What is your name and role here at DEB? My name is Simmone Deane and I am a new Program Assistant in DEB. I am learning the administrative support duties that Program Assistants handle before, during, and after panels.

How did you find out about NSF? I heard about NSF through a friend who currently works at the agency, with whom I served in the Peace Corps. NSF was not on my radar, but I am so glad that I have friends who share about opportunities in their agencies! It definitely worked in my favor! I’m excited to work for an agency that is ALL about science!

Tell us a little about what you studied in school: I received my Bachelor of Science in Biology from Eastern Nazarene College followed by a Master of Public Health with a concentration in Epidemiology from Kaplan University.

Cats or Dogs? I’m definitely a cat lover even though I have a cat allergy. However, some canine friends have softened me up a bit over the years.

If you could live in a fictional world, where would it be and why? It would have to be Wakanda! I love the rich conglomeration of cultures, scientific advancement, self-sufficiency, the strength, empowerment, and gender defying roles of the women, VIBRANIUM, and the beauty and traditions of the African continent. Having lived in Southern Africa for three years, Wakanda would be the perfect fit! Wakanda Forever!

Justin identifying insects in the research laboratory of Professor Vince Resh.

Justin identifying insects in the research laboratory of Professor Vince Resh.

Name and Cluster: Justin Lawrence, Ecosystem Science Cluster

Education: PhD Environmental Science, Policy, and Management, University of California, Berkeley

Home Institution: Permanent NSF Program Officer (on detail from the Earth Sciences Division)

Tell us about your research:  I am inspired by the natural world and the diversity of life. My research adapts techniques from the fields of hydrology and geomorphology to better understand the ecology of aquatic insects. I like to think about how animals go with the flow and interact with landforms. Aquatic insects have personalities and are picky about their habitats, kind of like people and I think that’s neat!  I am also interested in the visual arts and exploring their potential for broadening participation in science.

Tell us about your NSF Experience/History:  I have been a Program Director in the NSF Earth Sciences Division since 2015 and have served on the management teams of a variety of programs including Geomorphology and Land-use Dynamics (GLD), Hydrologic Sciences (HS), Critical Zone Collaborative Network, Paleo Perspectives on Climate Change (P2C2), Prediction of and Resilience against Extreme Events (PREEVENTS), and Inclusion Across the Nation of Communities of Learners of Underrepresented Discoverers in Engineering and Science (INCLUDES). Prior to this I was a AAAS Science & Technology Policy Fellow in the NSF Earth Sciences Division and an NSF-funded postdoctoral researcher in the Engineering Research Center for Reinventing the Nation’s Urban Water Infrastructure (ReNUWIt).

What are you looking forward to in your tenure with DEB?  I am looking forward to building new relationships and trust with DEB teams that can lead to future partnerships. It is a privilege to be able to return to the area of science where I did my PhD work. I look forward to serving that community.

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