VI-EPSCoR is entering its fourth year of the 5-year NSF Mare Nostrum Caribbean grant. Kim Waddell, Ph.D., as incoming Director, will guide the program through to the end and ideally, onto another EPSCoR grant shortly thereafter.
Some members of the Virgin Islands community may remember Dr. Waddell who served with VI-EPSCoR in 2009 - 2010 as Program Administrator and then Interim Director of the Integrated Caribbean Coastal Ecosystems grant. He was awarded a prestigious position with the National Academy of Sciences in Washington D.C. where he worked for past seven years, but a 40-year love affair with the US Virgin Islands encouraged his return. As a former College of the Virgin Islands student he has always felt an affinity with the VI and is thrilled to be back once again.
Dr. Waddell notes that he is most impressed by the progress that has taken place in marine research at UVI during his hiatus. The level of research at the Center for Marine & Environmental Studies (CMES) is of the highest caliber and is not going unnoticed on the national stage. Likewise, Outreach & Education has blossomed and matured, touching the USVI community on many levels.
Another area in which Dr. Waddell observes growth is in STEM, also known as VI-ISERP. With the support of VI-EPSCoR, STEM researchers at UVI work directly with Territory educators on several levels including through summer learning programs and with year-long support via mentorship. These collaborations have been encouraging and fruitful examples of how a few well-placed individuals can have a tremendous and lasting impact in a focus area.
While appreciating the growth and achievements of VI-EPSCoR, Dr. Waddell looks forward to impacting the program in the areas of Citizen Science. Citizen Science is ripe with potential and is ready to engage fully with the Territory. Coupled with a stronger online presence and greater community partnerships, it is anticipated that VI-EPSCoR will become a recognizable symbol of successful engagement.
He emphasizes that for young folks interested in science, it is essential to be broadly trained and capable of communicating effectively across disciplines. The challenges researchers tackle are complex and will require multidisciplinary teams to solve. Success in this arena is achieved through discipline, a broad educational base, and the ability to work in partnership. This type of learning is gained through internships and experiential opportunities.
Outside of the office, Dr. Waddell spends his free time in or on the water as much as possible. He is a self-described wine geek and gourmand. He is looking forward to strengthening his diving skills and potentially joining researchers at CMES on dives from time to time.
Dr. Waddell can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org and 340-693-1628.