top of page

Plenary Session

ATBC Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion:

Lessons Learned from the Workplace Environment Survey

Fri, July 23, 17:15 hrs (UTC±00:00)

ATBC is committed to promoting an inclusive culture within our Association and for tropical biologists in all workplaces. During this 1-hour session, we will present the results of a workplace environment survey that had participation of ATBC members. Participation in the survey has been completely voluntary and confidential. Also, we will have a space to hear reactions/suggestions/questions from the participants in the session that will help understand how ATBC can improve in DEI aspects.


Farah Carrasco is a biologist with a Ph.D. in Interdisciplinary Ecology from the School of Natural Resources and Environment at University of Florida. Her PhD dissertation focused on evaluating the impacts of agricultural activity in bat diversity in two areas of the Peruvian Amazon. She obtained her bachelors in biology and a Masters of Science in Conservation of Forestry Resources at the Universidad Nacional Agraria La Molina, Peru. Since 2019, she is coordinating the Field Museum’s efforts to consolidate the Putumayo Biocultural Corridor—a mosaic that will help conserve 12 million hectares of the most diverse forest areas in the world. Earlier in her career, she worked as an environmental consultant in the private sector in Peru undertaking biological base lines and inventories for environmental impact assessments of gas and mining activities. She participated in a Canopy Bridges project conducted by the Smithsonian Biology Institute, which evaluated the impacts of the construction of a pipeline and tested the effectiveness of natural canopy bridges for arboreal mammals. She joined the ATBC as a member in 2013, and currently serves as the chair of the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee and a member of the Grants and Awards Committee.


Lou Santiago’s primary research interests are in plant physiological ecology. He has an active interest in determining how different plant species survive drought and the role of plant water use in the hydraulic cycles. His field research has been conducted in tropical forests of the Neotropics, Pacific Islands and Southeast Asia, and in Mediterranean climate ecosystems of California. He employs a variety of techniques including plant hydraulic measurements, stable isotopes, modeling, and databases. Lou Santiago’s academic background includes a Batchelor of Arts from the University of California, Berkeley, a Masters of Science from the University of Hawaii, and a Doctor of Philosophy from the University of Florida. In 2006, he joined the Botany and Plant Sciences faculty at the University of California, Riverside as an Assistant Professor of Physiological Ecology, in 2012 he advanced to Associate Professor, and in 2017 he advanced to Full Professor. He received an appointment as Research Associate for the Smithsonian Institution in 2011.


Bea Maas is a Postdoctoral Fellow, lecturer, project coordinator, and lead scientist at the University of Vienna (Austria). She holds a Ph.D. in Agricultural Sciences. She is also a science communicator working internationally in the field of Sustainability Science. Her research and outreach activities integrate trans-disciplinary perspectives into a bigger picture of biodiversity conservation and management. Her research focuses on the study and communication of biodiversity conservation and ecosystem services, as well as on strengthening diverse perspectives on sustainable land use development. Cross-disciplinary concepts continuously flow into the design, application and communication of her work. The outcomes of her projects are translated to diverse audiences and aim to promote a cross-disciplinary understanding of biodiversity conservation and land use sustainability. These goals are also the basis of her teaching at the University of Vienna (UVIE), the supervision of international theses, and her work as an Associate Editor for two scientific journals, BIOC and PECON.


Rebecca J. (Becky) Williams’ is a Visiting Assistant Professor in the Center for Latin American Studies and a core faculty in both the Master of Sustainable Development Practice program and the Tropical Conservation and Development program. Her research has two primary focuses: (i) the connections between climate change, violence, and migration, and (ii) gender and participatory development with a focus on natural resources and indigenous communities. Becky Williams’ most recent research was funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and took a socio-ecological systems approach to investigating how rural livelihoods in Honduras are being influenced by climate change, resulting in migration and illicit livelihood opportunities (such as gangs and narcotrafficking) becoming alternative opportunity pathways. The results of her research are being used to develop USAID-Honduras’ next 5-year development strategy. She holds an M.S. from Florida State University in Instructional Systems Design and a Ph.D. from the University of Florida in Interdisciplinary Ecology with a focus on Tropical Conservation and Development.Williams’ serves on many student committees (Masters and PhD) and participates in the Latin American Studies Curriculum Committee. She enjoys teaching as much as she enjoys research and she offers courses in the Fall and Spring semesters. Dr. Williams holds an M.S. from Florida State University in Instructional Systems Design and a Ph.D. from the University of Florida in Interdisciplinary Ecology with a focus on Tropical Conservation and Development.

bottom of page