Castilleja F. Olmsted Wins Graduate Student Policy Award

Castilleja F. Olmsted against a gray background

Castilleja F. Olmsted, a third-year PhD student in the Department of Biological Sciences, was recently awarded the Ecological Society of America’s (ESA) Katherine S. McCarter Graduate Student Policy Award.

The Ecological Society of America is a non-profit, nonpartisan organization of professional ecologists, and this award provides graduate students with the opportunity to receive policy and communication training before they meet lawmakers. Castilleja and the other award recipients will participate in a Congressional Visit Day, organized and sponsored by ESA, where they will interact with policymakers and discuss the importance of federal funding for science and the need for research relief for the biological and ecological sciences.

Olmstead's research investigates the importance of soil seed banks for forest communities undergoing anthropogenic changes and maintaining crop diversity in traditional agriculture. She is also pursuing a graduate certificate in Latin American Studies and a teaching minor.

Olmsted was awarded the Alfredo D. and Luz Maria P. Gutierrez Predoctoral Fellowship from the University of Pittsburgh. She currently serves as president for the Women in Science and Engineering Graduate Student Organization at the University of Pittsburgh and is a member of the Field Safety Committee and the Committee on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Biological Sciences.