Chelsea Specht

Current Position
Barbara McClintock Professor of Plant Biology, School of Integrative Plant Sciences (SIPS) and Associate Dean for Diversity and Inclusion, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS), Cornell University

Research Interests
Patterns and processes driving plant evolution and diversification, including traits such as floral development, geophyte organ morphology, carnivory and plant thermogenesis. EvoDevo and floral trait evolution with specific focus on Zingiberales and monocots. Systematics, taxonomy, biogeography, morphological evolution and population genetics in various monocot lineages and in cycads.

BSA Service
Katherine Esau, Maynard Moseley, and Karling Graduate Student Research Awards Committees; Kaplan Memorial Lecture Committee (member and chair); George Cooley Award Committee (member and chair);

Other Service
American Society of Plant Taxonomists (ASPT) President (2017-2018), Past President and President-Elect; ASPT Awards Committee (member and chair); ASPT Council member (2011-2019 various roles); CALS Committee on Diversity and Inclusion (member and chair; 2017-present); Faculty Renewal Committee (SIPS 2017-present); Cornell Faculty Senate (member at large; 2018-present); Committee on Diversity, Equity and Campus Climate (UC Berkeley member, chair 2015-2017); Committee on Demonstrations and Student Actions (UC Berkeley member, chair 2012-2015); Faculty Equity advisor (UC Berkeley, 2008-2017); Faculty Equity, Diversity and Welfare Committee (Integrative Biology UC Berkeley, 2012-2017); Task Force on Transforming Graduate Admissions (UC Berkeley 2016-2017); Service on various Search Committees, Strategic Planning for Diversity and Inclusion, and Tenure/Promotion committees.

Statement of Interest
BSA and ASPT have been my home societies since graduate school, and I’ve enjoyed engaging with both in service and leadership roles, especially those relating to Graduate Student Funding and Diversity and Inclusion. As president of ASPT, I worked with the council to establish and define the role of a Diversity Coordinator as an elected officer with the explicit goal of infusing all actions of the society with efforts towards establishing a diverse and inclusive environment in which Botany can thrive. I’ve worked with fellow BSA/ASPT members to establish the “Diversify Botany” facebook page which could be further leveraged to build a diverse community or botanical scholars and share our successes in the classroom, laboratory and public sphere. I am aware of the amazing successes that BSA has enjoyed under the leadership of your past Director for Human Development Ann Sakai, and I am excited to consider continuing to build the programs already in place (eg. PLANTS) while developing new programs and collaborations to ensure that we, as a society, continue to hold ourselves responsible for equitable and inclusive practices that enable us to prosper as a diverse community. I am passionate about infecting the next generation, however unsuspecting, with a love for all things botanical, and in being intentional such that the next generation of botanists reflects a diversity of backgrounds, interests, identities and ideas that enable us to grow and thrive.