Jim Beck, ’97
2008 Elkin R. Isaac Alumni Lecture
Program Analyst in the Office of Policy, Planning, and Evaluation (PPE)
“From Albion to Africa and Back Again: Reflections on Alternative
Careers in Science”
7:30 pm, Wednesday, April 23, 2008
Towsley Lecture Hall/Norris 101
Jim Beck is currently a program analyst in the Office of Policy, Planning, and Evaluation (PPE) in the Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research (OAR) of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). He plays a technical support role or two high-level advisory bodies (NOAA’s Science Advisory Board and Research Council) that guide NOAA on research matters concerning climate modeling, weather forecasting, ecosystem management, ocean and coastal resource management, and related issues.
Over the last 10 years, Beck has focused on international natural resource management issues in Africa with a variety of leading science-based environmental organizations, initiatives, and government agencies. From 2003 to 2007, Beck worked on land-use planning and ecosystem management projects in central Africa, first for Global Forest Watch at the World Resources Institute (Washington, D.C.) and later for the Wildlife Conservation Society (Republic of Congo). He also worked at Cornell University, where he was a research assistant on a socio-economic study related to park management in Gabon for the World Wildlife Fund.
Following his graduation from Albion, Beck served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Gabon for two years, assisting with a rural aquaculture development project, and then spent a third year with the Peace Corps as a researcher collaborating with the World Wildlife Fund and the Gabonese Ministry of Forest and Water. He has also taught at the University of Maryland.
Beck’s career experiences also include management of “think tank” programs seeking to strategically influence environmental policy and practice, multi-stakeholder coalition building, and grassroots rural development.
He received a B.A. from Albion College, with a biology major and environmental science concentration, and a master’s in sustainable development and conservation biology from the University of Maryland at College Park. While an undergraduate, he had a special interest in marine biology, and conducted research with Albion biologist Jeffrey Carrier and at the Duke University Marine Laboratory in Beaufort, N.C. He participated in the Isaac Symposium in 1997 with a presentation on “Male Nurse Shark (Ginglymostoma cirratum) Movement in Relation to Mating Activities.”
2013 Student Presentations
Click here to download the 2013 schedule
Eileen Hebets, ’94
2007 Elkin R. Isaac Alumni Lecture
Assistant Professor in the School of Biological Sciences at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln
“Exploring life on eight legs: The journey from Albion to Arachnophilia”
7:30 pm, Wednesday, April 25, 2007
Towsley Lecture Hall/Norris 101
Eileen Hebets is currently assistant professor in the School of Biological Sciences at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, where she teaches zoology and behavioral ecology. From 2003 to 2005, she held appointments at the University of California, Berkeley as assistant professor in the Department of Environmental Science Policy and Management/Division of Insect Biology, curator of the Essig Museum, and member of the Helen Wills Neuroscience Institute. She held a National Institutes of Health post-doctoral research fellowship in the Department of Neurobiology and Behavior at Cornell University in 2002-03.
A specialist in the evolution of animal communication systems, Hebets is currently focusing her research on the development of complex signaling systems in various spider species. Supported by a Searle Scholars Program Fellowship and a National Science Foundation CAREER grant, her work includes both field-based experiments and observations and an array of laboratory techniques and methods drawn from molecular biology and neurophysiology. Hebets' field research has taken her to caves in Puerto Rico, rain forests in Costa Rica, and the sky islands in Arizona.
Her findings have been covered by national and international news organizations including The New York Times, USA Today, The Boston Globe, BBC Online, CNN, ABC News, and National Public Radio. She also served as a consultant for the movie Spiderman (2002). Hebets' scholarly publications include articles in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, Journal of Experimental Biology, Animal Behaviour, Behavioral Ecology, and the Journal of Insect Physiology, among others.
After graduating from Albion College in 1994, Hebets went on to earn a master's in biology at the University of Cincinnati (1996), and then a master's (1998) and Ph.D. (2002) in ecology and evolutionary biology at the University of Arizona.
This year's lecture marks the first time in the history of the Isaac Symposium that our Alumni Lecturer also participated in the symposium as an undergraduate. In 1994, Hebets gave a presentation entitled, "Habitat and Courtship Behavior of the Wolf Spider Schizocosa retrorsa." Named the outstanding senior biology major that year, she also received the Edmund and Kathleen Jenkins Research Award from Albion.
Joseph S. Calvaruso, ’94
2006 Elkin R. Isaac Alumni Lecture
Senior Vice President and Director of Risk Management for Mercantile Bank
“Albion College - the Training Camp for the Nine Innings of Life”
7:30 pm, Wednesday, April 26, 2006
Bobbitt Visual Arts Auditorium
Joseph Calvaruso currently serves as senior vice president and director of risk management for Mercantile Bank in Grand Rapids. He is also secretary and treasurer for the Board of Directors of Michigan Certified Development Corporation, which provides funding for business start-ups and expansions. As a member of the Michigan chapter of the Risk Management Association, he has held numerous leadership positions, including the presidency, and won many achievement awards. He has also served on the association's international Board of Directors and on numerous national committees.
Prior to joining Mercantile Bank, Calvaruso spent nearly 20 years as executive vice president of Chemical Bank Shoreline in Benton Harbor. He left that job in June 2004 to join Vice President Dick Cheney's reelection campaign as a member of the national advance team. Over the past six years, Calvaruso has also served as a coordinator for visits to Michigan and throughout the country by members of the Bush administration. Earlier in his career, Calvaruso held positions with City Bank in Jackson and Comerica Bank in Kalamazoo.
Calvaruso sits on the Gerald R. Ford Institute for Public Policy and Service Visiting Committee at Albion College and is a former member of the Michigan Work Force Investment Board. He is a past chairman of the Kalamazoo County Republican Party and is a current member of the Republican State Committee.
Earlier this year, Calvaruso and his wife, Donna, endowed the Joseph S. Calvaruso Keynote Address for this symposium. In keeping with Calvaruso's personal goal to "try different things in life," the keynote endowment ensures the symposium will continue to provide an exceptional variety of presenters from the arts, sciences, social sciences, and humanities. An Albion native and a product of the Albion Public Schools, Calvaruso graduated from Albion College in 1978 and holds an M.B.A. from Western Michigan University.