Nick Mason is everywhere at the NAOC! As in past years, it seems like PhD student Nick Mason was everywhere at the North American Ornithological Conference; in fact I’m quite sure that no other student at the 2000+ meeting had this same degree of multifaceted contribution. Nick was accordingly awarded an original painting of a loon by the conference organizing committee in recognition of his extreme service to the meeting and more general to the American Ornithology Society! In addition to giving a great lightning talk on his work on Sporophila phylogeography (part of Nick’s ongoing collaboration with Mexican ornithologists Aldolfo Navarro-Sigüenze and Arturo Olvera-Vital), here are some of the other ways Nick contributed…:
As part of the AOU Student Affairs Committee, Nick led or co-led (1) an Introduction to R Workshop (with postdoc Leo Campagna) for 40 people to introduce them to the R Programming language; (2) an Improving Your Presentation Skills Workshop (with lab group alumni Sara Kaiser, Scott Taylor, and Matt Carling) for students on oral presentation design and delivery; (3) the annual Quiz Bowl, a centerpiece of the conference social scene attended by more than a thousand people. Nick was the master organizer as well as the super-engaging master-of-ceremonies throughout the entire event, like a young and very funny Alex Trebek of ornithology; (4) helped organize the student-professional social, also attended by many hundreds of people.
Nick also attended his first AOU council meeting as chair of the Student Affairs Committee. There he presented findings from his analysis of the AOU membership survey, very important information that will help the society stay relevant to early career ornithologists.
As part of the AOU Collections Committee, Nick had several organizational meetings about design and implementation of a website (ornithologycollections.org) for information regarding museums, permits, and all things collecting. He wasn’t at the AOU Check-list committee meeting, but I was … and I can report that Nick was celebrated there as the official graduate student affiliate who has made the strongest contribution through submitting proposals to the committee.