Sam Fey, JSMF Postdoctoral Fellowship Award Recipient
Sam Fey, a PhD candidate in the Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Program, is a recent recipient of the James S. McDonnell Foundation’s Postdoctoral Fellowship Award in Studying Complex Systems, a competitive award funding postdoctoral research opportunities in science.
Fey came to Dartmouth following a BA in biology from Hamilton College and a two-year research fellowship at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Working in the lab of Professor Kathryn Cottingham, he studies the ways in which temperature can affect lakes and ponds. Such temperature-mediated effects can range from changing the movement and quality of nutrients from land to water, to altering the ways in which organisms interact with each other, such as through the spreading of non-native species.
A fellow in Dartmouth’s IGERT program for Polar Environmental Change, Fey is drawn to broad questions like these because of their potential to inform how ecosystems may respond to long-term global changes in the future, such as the anticipated climate warming. For Fey, this makes each research question “an interesting but informative puzzle to work on.” Fey is integrative in his approach to research, employing a combination of fieldwork, laboratory experiments, and mathematical modeling. “I think that this variety of approaches makes for stronger scientific inference,” explains Fey, adding that it also “makes things more fun for the scientist.”
Alongside research, Fey has shown a strong dedication to teaching. He was one of this year’s winners of the Dartmouth Graduate Student Teaching Award and most recently spent this summer teaching the intermediate ecology course, Methods in Ecology. To Fey, teaching and research strengthen complementary skills. “I’ve been surprised by the synergies between teaching and research,” explains Fey, “I feel that teaching this course has made me a better writer, in terms of knowing how to best convey a message to a broad audience.”
Fey plans to begin a postdoc position in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at Yale University this summer. Working with theoretical ecologist Professor David Vasseur, he aims to develop realistic models for how organisms respond to changes in environmental temperature. Outside of research, Fey is an avid kayaker and skier. His plans also include enjoying time with his beautiful newborn daughter, Sylvie Maxfield Fey.
Congratulations to Fey on this outstanding fellowship opportunity!
by Jessica Trout-Haney