Meet DEB: Caroline Robertson, Program Assistant


Caroline and her pup, Gracie


What’s your role here at DEB? I am a Program Assistant with the Ecosystem Science and Population and Community Ecology Clusters. One of my favorite tasks is coordinating travel arrangements (no, really!) because it breaks up my day and gets my brain going.

What did you study in school? I have a degree in anthropology from SIU Carbondale where I focused on cultural transmission of historical violence (see here for my senior thesis for a better understanding of what I enjoy studying). Currently, I am in school at American University studying Public Anthropology for a master’s degree and continuing to focus on the cultural transmission of historical violence (stay tuned for the online archive I am creating). I am scheduled to receive my degree in August after I finish my thesis, so wish me luck!

What do you love to do in your spare time? Spare time? What is that!? When I’m not doing school work, I spend any spare time playing with/training my Australian Shepherd puppy, Gracie! She takes up most of my fiancé’s and my time, but we love her for it!

Hamburgers or hotdogs? Depends who is cooking it, but if it’s a restaurant, then hamburgers!

Why do you enjoy working with DEB? DEB is full of kind people who are a joy to work with! There are many different personalities here that all have their own charm. I am happiest when working with people and so love to work with the diverse crowd that is DEB (I am an anthropologist after all).


A quick refresher for blog visitors

We’ve come a long way since launching the blog in February of 2013. For one, there are a lot more of you following us and reading posts on a regular basis.

So we’re interrupting our normal content to post a quick “nuts and bolts” refresher in the hope of improving your experience here and encouraging more participation. Continue reading

DEB Numbers: An Introduction

This is the first of what will hopefully be somewhat regular posts on Division of Environmental Biology data.  Our goals for these posts include: stimulating discussions with our PI community, providing deeper context for understanding the grant review process, and sharing insights we gain through ongoing examination of our programs.

This introductory post outlines some of the things we hope to cover in future posts and provides an overview of the challenges that apply to reporting and interpreting DEB Numbers. Continue reading

DEB in the News, Feb. 19, 2013

This will be a semi-regular feature where we share with you links to press coverage and other media featuring DEB PIs that came our way. (Note: today’s items cover the last 2-weeks, but that is not a planned frequency at this point.) Some of the items are picked up via the NSF public affairs team, others we only hear about when you tell us.  If you saw something they didn’t, feel free to share it in the comments. Continue reading

A New DEB Blog

Welcome everyone to the first blog in the history of the National Science Foundation!  Those of us in the Division of Environmental Biology are grateful to NSF for the opportunity to take the agency another step forward in its social media presence, and most importantly, for the chance to engage with the DEB community in a new way.  We hope you find this site useful, and welcome your comments in response to any post.  Please do be aware that this blog represents a federal agency, thus there are rules we must follow in both the review of and responses to comments.

In the coming weeks to months, you will find a variety of information on this site.  In part, we launched this blog because DEB has undergone significant changes in recent times, perhaps most notably to the proposal review system in our core programs.  As announced in a prior letter to the environmental biology community, we are now engaged in a broad evaluation of that new approach, one that includes multiple forms of dialogue with all stakeholders.  We view this site as one important part of that approach, thus data and other information on the new review system will be shared here in the near future.

That said, this site will not only address the new review procedures.  We plan to share a wide range of information here, including news on compelling science done by the DEB community, introductions to DEB staff members, and information on other programs and developments at NSF that may be of interest to readers of this blog.  In the end, we hope it represents a way for us to get useful information to you in a timely and accessible fashion, and for you to share your thoughts with us.  Like any good blog, we hope it evolves with time in response to both our ideas and yours. (As described in more detail on the About page, bear in mind that this blog is a 6-month pilot for now.)

Finally, some thanks are due.  Those in the leadership of the BIO directorate, and of the NSF legal, policy and public affairs offices have all been very supportive of this new venture.  Likewise, program officers and other staff members throughout DEB have helped enormously in getting this site off the ground, and have happily agreed to take on the new responsibilities it will bring.  I especially want to thank DEB-ers John Adamec and Greg Adams for all of their considerable efforts to date.

More to come soon! In the meantime, I encourage you to let others know about this blog.  The more people that see it, the more useful it’s likely to become to all of us.


Alan Townsend

Director, Division of Environmental Biology