Mentor Award

The Mentor Award was created in 2015 by student members of the Society of Ethnobiology to celebrate the Society's strong tradition of supporting and mentoring students and new members. The award is given annually and is elected by the student members through nominations and voting.

It's time again to nominate candidates for the 2024 SoE Mentor Award. Once we have a list of nominees, online voting will open to all student members. We will present the mentor award at the Annual Meeting. Please send the Student Board ( a paragraph describing why you would like to nominate your mentor. See important dates below:

  • March 17 - Nominations Close
  • March 19 - Voting Opens
  • April 17 - Voting Closes

Don't forget to spread the word!

Past Award Winners:

2024 Dr. Andrew Flachs

Dr. Andrew FlachsDr. Andrew Flachs is an environmental anthropologist and ethnobiologist based at Purdue University. The Society of Ethnobiology is by far his favorite academic collective, because it provides a space to revel in the interconnections of living beings. His research in food and agriculture systems has taken him to explore communities of knowledge, resistance, solidarity, and joy across small farms and fermented foods in India, Eastern Europe, and the US.

2021 Dr. Michael Glimore

Dr. Michael GilmoreDr. Michael Gilmore is an Associate Professor in George Mason University’s School of Integrative Studies (SIS). He is an ethnobiologist with over twenty years of experience working with the Maijuna indigenous group of the Peruvian Amazon on community-based biocultural conservation. Dr. Gilmore has published over 30 peer-reviewed articles in a variety of scholarly journals spanning the fields of ethnobiology, geography, ecology, and policy. He is also the producer of the award-winning documentary film Guardians of the Forest (2020), which chronicles the Maijuna people’s fight for their biologically rich ancestral lands and cultural survival. In addition to his work at George Mason University, Dr. Gilmore founded and is president of OnePlanet, a non-profit organization that partners with the Maijuna.

2019 Dr. Dana Lepofsky

I nominate Dana Lepofsky for the mentor award of the Society of Ethnobiology because she is simply the best and I cannot tell how much she meant to me as supervisor. She is always encouraging, kind, caring, knowledgeable but also humble. All her students know that she always finds time for them, via Skype at any time of the day and night and over weekends; in person, she slips you among other appointments if you have an emergency, she listens to your problems (even if they are personal), she opens her heart, office and home to all the students she supervises. As regards my personal experience, probably I won’t be the scholar that I am now if it was not for her: she is the person who taught me the most in my career. I would like to see her receive the award because she sacrifices so much of her personal time (and sleep!) to help others. She is a legend among her students for being a night owl: she is up (even at 3 am) reading the papers you sent her at the very last minute, so you can have them in the morning and submit them in time.

2018 Dr. Nancy Turner

Dr. Nancy TurnerNancy Turner's love for ethnobiology has always been one she was quick to share in the classroom, on walks, and anywhere else she can. She puts together people with ease and she made ethnobiology feel practical and hands-on. Her understanding of the importance of traditional systems of land use and guardianship have led her students to do what they can to document, revitalize and advocate for these systems. Her work ethic and humility set a template to follow when working in this area.

2017 Dr. Daniela Shebitz 





2016 Dr. Steve Wolverton

What can we say about Steve? Well, the recent cohort of students who have inundated the Society of Ethnobiology in recent years have him to thank for the genuine love and exictement he brings to a community that are fundametally in support of young academics. While there were many nominees this year, we had little doubt that Steve would win, given his commitment to his own students, not to mention how he has carved his way into the hearts and minds of all the Society's young scholars. With his grounding in strong methods-based research and his success in promoting open-access research and scholarship, young people everwhere flocked to support his nomination. Please see Steve's heartfelt letter to students here.

2016 Dr. Leslie Johnson

Dr. Johnson has over three decades of experience and contribution to the field of ethnobiology. Her exemplary work throughout Western Canada has inspired students and colleagues to expand their breadth and depth of both Indigenous knowledge and Western science for the benefit of human and non-human communities. She has inspired generations of students through her publications, presentations and most notably to us, her engagement with students both at conferences and in the field. Dr. Johnson was the perfect recipient for the first SOE Mentor Award and was recognized in front of peers and students at the 38th SOE Meeting in Santa Barbara, CA. In nominating Leslie students echoed the sentiments of the many community members who continue to speak highly of Leslie's work. SOE students were pleased to honour Leslie as she continues to inspire and support students through her sincere and highly distinguished work in ethnobiology.

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