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Amanda Demopoulos Receives 2014 USGS Early Career Excellence in Leadership Award

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The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) has awarded its 2014 Early Career Excellence in Leadership Award to research ecologist Amanda Demopoulos of the Southeast Ecological Research Center in Gainesville, Florida. The award was presented on May 5, 2015, at the USGS Honor Awards Ceremony in Reston, Virginia, where Demopoulos was recognized for her “outstanding acts, services, and achievements that exemplify and support the USGS leadership goals throughout the Bureau.”

Here is the award citation, written by Nancy Prouty, research oceanographer with the USGS Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center in Santa Cruz, California, and frequent collaborator with Demopoulos.

Amanda Demopoulos
Above: Amanda Demopoulos [No larger version available.]

“In recognition of Dr. Amanda Demopoulos’ tremendous leadership, as well as her scientific contributions to both the U.S. Geological Survey and the scientific community, it is my pleasure to nominate Dr. Demopoulos for the Early Career Excellence in Leadership Award. As Project Chief for the Outer Continental Shelf, Exploration and Research of Mid-Atlantic Deepwater Hard Bottom Habitats with Emphasis on Canyon and Coral Communities in the USGS Terrestrial, Freshwater, and Marine Ecosystems Program, Dr. Demopoulos developed and strengthened relationships with the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). As a result of Dr. Demopoulos’ leadership, this project received the Department of the Interior Partners in Conservation Award for “Deepwater Canyons” [see “Deepwater Canyon Study Among Projects Given Prestigious DOI Partners in Conservation Award”].

“Dr. Demopoulos’ effective communication skills and ability to sustain cooperative working relationships with both Federal and academic partners were pivotal to the success of this project as well as its predecessor ‘Lophelia II,’ which was also awarded the National Oceanographic Partnership Program Excellence in Partnering Award [see “USGS Scientists on Team Honored by Excellence in Partnering Award”]. Dr. Demopoulos’ recent nomination to the Ocean Exploration Advisory Board as Special Government Employee as well as to the Deep Submergence Science Committee is testament to her leadership skills and scientific credentials. As a result of her ability to communicate effectively both orally and in writing, Dr. Demopoulos was sought out to represent the USGS at both national and international meetings, presenting and contributing to over 17 presentations over the last two years, highlighting her technical competence and scientific creativity.

Amanda Demopoulos about to board the deep submergence vehicle Alvin on the research vessel Atlantis during a shakedown cruise
Above: Amanda Demopoulos about to board the deep submergence vehicle Alvin on the research vessel Atlantis during a shakedown cruise in the Gulf of Mexico in March 2014. Demopoulos was one of the deep-sea scientists chosen to test the capabilities of the newly upgraded submersible (see “Riding in Style”). USGS photograph by Jill Bourque, contractor to USGS through Cherokee Nation Technology Solutions. [larger version]

“Dr. Demopoulos is incredibly focused and well organized, having participated and led over eight research cruises within the last two years in partnership with NOAA, BOEM, and NSF [National Science Foundation]. Her success at sea as both a research scientist and chief scientist is in large part due to Dr. Demopoulos’ problem-solving skills to make logistical decisions that support science excellence. At sea, Dr. Demopoulos has demonstrated creative solutions to manage conflicts effectively, confronting issues and disagreements in a positive and constructive manner. As Project Chief for the USGS DISCOVRE project, Dr. Demopoulos effectively handles pressure, maintaining focus and intensity, and successfully juggles administrative responsibilities with a prolific science career.

“As a result of her thoughtful leadership manner and ability to translate vision into action, Dr. Demopoulos was appointed by the USGS Steering Committee to spearhead the RESTORE Act proposal to support restoration and conservation of deep-sea coral habitats and adjacent ecosystems in partnership with BOEM. She currently serves as a USGS Marine Science Advisor for the DOI [Department of the Interior] Ocean Partnerships Team, providing guidance for ocean research priorities for the DOI, expanding on her role as a USGS Expert Reviewer of the Secretary’s Report on a Comprehensive Offshore Energy Program.

“At the USGS Southeast Ecological Science Center, Dr. Demopoulos is the director of the Benthic Ecology Laboratory, overseeing the work of six employees (one Federal and five contractors). She is responsible for supervising the finances, human resources, and technical resources effectively. Additionally, Dr. Demopoulos advises two Ph.D. students and a post-doc, as well as mentors two student contractors and five volunteers. As a mentor, Dr. Demopoulos is both respectful and values differences and opinions within her lab group, meeting with individuals at least once a week to review targeted tasks and progress. In managing her lab, she offers personnel a chance to pursue academic and career growth, recognizing the importance of future scientists.

“Dr. Demopoulos’ outstanding leadership achievements are demonstrated by these activities as well as her accomplishments over her eight-year tenure with the USGS. It is truly a pleasure to work with Dr. Demopoulos. Whether in the field, the lab, or the office, Dr. Demopoulos demonstrates and integrates the USGS Guiding Principles to support science excellence. As both a colleague and collaborator, I have experienced and benefited greatly from Dr. Demopoulos’ outstanding leadership skills. She encourages and inspires her colleagues, collaborators, and students to excel and to continually learn, whether it be mastering new techniques or developing new science directions. Dr. Demopoulos is a tremendous asset to the USGS and to the next generation of aspiring scientists. For her unparalleled scientific contributions and leadership, Dr. Demopoulos is most deserving of the Early Career Excellence in Leadership Award.”

Learn more about Demopoulos at “USGS Professional Pages”.

Related Sound Waves Stories
Deepwater Canyon Study Among Projects Given Prestigious DOI Partners in Conservation Award
Jan. / Feb. 2014
Interdisciplinary Exploration of Seamounts in the Anegada Passage, Northeast Caribbean
November / December 2014
Exploring Undersea Terrain Off the Northern U.S. Atlantic Coast Via Telepresence-Enabled Research Cruise
Nov. / Dec. 2013
Earthquake, Landslide, and Tsunami Hazards in the Northeastern Caribbean—Insights from a 2013 E/V Nautilus Expedition
May / June 2014
Corals Damaged in the Deep Gulf of Mexico by Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill
Sept. / Oct. 2012

Related Websites
Terrestrial, Freshwater, and Marine Ecosystems Program
Ocean Exploration Advisory Board
Deep Submergence Science Committee
Benthic Ecology Laboratory
USGS Guiding Principles
Amanda Demopoulos, Research Ecologist
USGS Professional Pages

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in this issue:

Scientists Investigate the Virtually Unexplored Mariana Trench

Expedition Explores Deep-Sea Areas near Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands

Imaging Methane Seeps and Plumes on the U.S. Atlantic Margin

Some Communities May Not Have Time for Tsunami Evacuation

Spotlight on Sandy
Mendenhall Postdoc Joins Estuarine Physical Response Project

Spring 2015 Monterey Bay Marine GIS User Group Meeting

Amanda Demopoulos Receives USGS Leadership Award

Fran Lightsom Receives Leadership and Innovation Award for Data Integration

Jim Hein Receives DOI Distinguished Service Award

Jim Jacobi Receives DOI Distinguished Service Award

Cheryl Hapke Is New Director of St. Petersburg, Florida, Science Center

Publications New Maps Reveal Seafloor off San Francisco

March–June Publications

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