Herpetologist takes helm of national society


Maureen Donnelly, associate dean of graduate studies in the College of Arts & Sciences and professor in the Department of Biological Sciences, has been named president elect of the American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists (ASIH).

The organization is devoted to the study and conservation of fishes, amphibians and frogs.

Maureen Donnelly

Maureen Donnelly

“It is an honor to have been elected by my peers – the youth vote carried the day demonstrating that social media can be a force for engagement,” Donnelly said. “This has always been my favorite among the professional societies to which I belong. ASIH has always had an excellent mix of students and professionals, so there is a very energetic and dynamic mix of attendees at our meetings that make them informative and fun.”

Donnelly will serve her term of office for the next four years. She will recruit to boost student membership and be involved with the society’s centennial celebrations.

“Having student-researchers join a professional society is a great opportunity for them to come to meetings, present their work and meet potential colleagues and mentors,” Donnelly said. “

Donnelly, who served as ASIH’s secretary since 2001, will satisfy a professional goal to be the longest serving ASIH secretary. Early in her career, the amphibian expert set four long-term goals, including becoming the society’s longest-serving secretary; publishing 100 academic papers; reviewing 100 academic documents, including grant proposals, tenure and promotion files, scholarly papers and articles, etc.; and producing 10 Ph.D. students.

Donnelly has met the first three of her long-term professional goals. She is working on accomplishing her fourth goal, having graduated seven doctoral students in her 20 year-long career at FIU.

“Goal-directed behavior is important because it helps you keep your eye on the prize and persevere through the tough times when you feel like quitting,” Donnelly said. “It’s important to ask yourself ‘What do I want in this career of mine?’”