This series showcases the work of accomplished faculty from underrepresented groups. Invited scholars will give a research presentation and lead a second workshop to share their personal perspective on navigating an academic career. 

As part of our ongoing commitment to foster diversity within the College of Natural Sciences, the Dean’s office, in collaboration with the College of Engineering, has launched the Distinguished Scientist & Engineer Seminar Series.

Faculty from CNS or COE may nominate visitors for the series. Nomination instructions

Third Annual Distinguished Scientist & Engineer Seminar Series

Erich JarvisErich Jarvis, Ph.D.

Professor, The Rockefeller University

Discussion: Monday, Oct. 19 at 10am (via zoom)— "Surviving and thriving as an under-represented minority scientist in a majority environment"

Science Talk: Monday, Oct. 19 at 4pm (via zoom)—  "Evolution of brain pathways for vocal learning and speech" 

Register for either event here. These talks are in collaboration with the Initiative on Neuroscience.

Dr. Jarvis will also be featured in a unique Interdisciplinary discussion hosted by the UMass Fine Arts Center at 7pm on Mon Oct 19th called "Bodies at Risk." Click here for more information.

Erich Jarvis is a professor at The Rockefeller University. He leads a team of researchers who study the neurobiology of vocal learning, a critical behavioral substrate for spoken language. Dr. Jarvis has examined vocal learning in songbirds, parrots, and hummingbirds. Like humans, these bird groups have the ability to learn new sounds and pass on their vocal repertoires culturally, from one generation to the next. Jarvis focuses on the brain pathways involved in the perception and production of learned vocalizations and the development of brain circuits for vocal learning. He and his research colleagues are studying the brain pathways of songbirds as a model to give bold new insight into how these animals produce and use vocal communication.

Before deciding on a career in science, Dr. Jarvis was invited to audition for the prestigious Alvin Ailey Dance Theatre in Harlem. He later graduated from Hunter College in New York City with a bachelor's degree in Biology and Mathematics and then earned his Ph.D. Neurobiology and Animal Behavior from Rockefeller University.  At Rockefeller, he worked in lab of Fernando Nottebohm, who pioneered research on the neurobiology of song-learning in birds as a model for understanding neural plasticity in the adult brain.

In 2002, the National Science Foundation awarded Jarvis its highest honor for a young researcher, the Alan T. Waterman Award. In 2005 he was awarded the National Institutes of Health Director's Pioneer Award providing funding for five years to researchers pursuing innovative approaches to biomedical research. In 2008 Dr. Jarvis was selected to the prestigious position of Investigator for the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.

Click here for more information. 


Jessica WareJessica Ware, Ph.D

Assistant Curator, Invertebrate zoology, American Museum of Natural History

Workshop: Friday, Oct. 23 at 11:15am (via zoom)— "A BIPOC academic journey"

Seminar: Friday, Oct. 23 at 4pm (via zoom)—  "The Evolution of Odonata (Dragonflies and Damselflies)"

Register for either event here.


Jessica Ware is an assistant curator in invertebrate zoology at the American Museum of Natural History. Dr. Ware’s research focuses on the evolution of behavioral and physiological adaptations in insects, with an emphasis on how these occur in Odonata (dragonflies and damselflies) and Dictyoptera (termites, cockroaches and mantises). Her research group uses phylogenetics and phylogenomics to investigate reproductive, social, and flight behaviors in insects. Jessica holds a BSc from the University of British Columbia in Canada, and a PhD from Rutgers New Brunswick in New Jersey. She was an NSF postdoctoral fellow at the American Museum of Natural History from 2008-2010, before being hired at Rutgers Newark where she was an associate professor of evolutionary biology. She is the current president of the Worldwide Dragonfly Association, and serves as an elected board member on the executive committee of the Entomological Society of America Governing Board. She was recently awarded a PECASE medal from the US government for her work on insect evolution. 




Distinguished Scientist & Engineer Seminar Series