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Academy Council

The Council consists of the current elected Academy officers, Chairs of the Foundation and the Research Grants Committee, two at-large members, and the Executive Director. The Council is responsible for all business of the Academy

INSPECT Fellowship Director

Paul Doss

Professor of Geology, University of Southern Indiana
PhD, Northern Illinois University
Dr. Paul Doss is Professor of Geology at the University of Southern Indiana (USI). Doss has served as the Supervisory Geologist for Yellowstone National Park and the NPS Coordinating Scientist for the Yellowstone Volcano Observatory. He was honored as the Integra Distinguished Professor at USI in 2007 and IUPUI School of Science Distinguished Alumnus in 2016. His current scholarship focuses on bedrock aquifers in Southern Indiana, and the impacts of commercial groundwater extraction, ecosystem restoration, and climate change on aquatic resources in Manistee National Forest, Michigan. At USI, Doss teaches courses on Environmental Geology, Environmental Science, Geology of National Parks, and Water Resources, and directs student research. He is an active proponent of incorporating scientific and environmental knowledge into the daily lives of everyone, and into the development of sound public policy at local, state, federal, and international levels.
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Immediate Past President

Marc Milne

Associate Professor of Biology, University of Indianapolis
PhD, Ecology, Old Dominion University
Marc Milne is Associate Professor of Biology and a Ron & Laura Strain Honors College Faculty member at the University of Indianapolis. He teaches General Biology, Evolution, Conservation Biology and Entomology, and maintains a research laboatory of undergraduate students studying spider ecology and taxonomy. Marc's graduate work at Old Dominion University focused on ecological interactions between spiders and the carnivorous pitcher plant, Sarracenia purpurea. While at ODU, Marc also developed expertise in spider taxonomy, scientific illustration, and mosquito behavior. He currently works with the Hardwood Ecosystem Experiment to study the effects of fire on spider assemblages in central Indiana forests. He has identified and described new spider species in both Indiana and Virginia. Marc was most recently the chair of the Biodiversity and Natural Areas Committee, and has led multiple successful BioBlitz events.
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Michael S. Finkler

Professor of Biology, IU-Kokomo
Ph.D. Miami University
Dr. Finkler has presented at the Annual Meeting, been awarded an 私房TV Research Grant, organized the Annual Meeting at IU Kokomo in 2009, and was Zoology Section Chair. He served as Budget Committee Chair and was President in 2012-2013. In June 2015, he accepted the duties and responsibilities of Treasurer. Mike brought public visibility to the Academy as President when he appeared on 鈥淚nside Indiana Business鈥. Mike is also active in Community Service, as a Biology instructor for 鈥淪cience Rocks鈥, a summer science camp program for middle school-aged students from underrepresented groups.
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Chair, Foundation

Tom Dolan

Biology Professor Emeritus, Butler University
Ph.D., University of Georgia
Dr. Dolan recently retired from the Dept. of Biological Sciences, Butler University, after 33 years of teaching and research. He regularly taught courses in genetics and evolution as well as organismal courses in mycology and phycology. Research interests focus on the biology of the Oomycota. Dr. Dolan joined Butler in 1985. His background in budgeting and fiscal administration led him to consecutive terms as department chair, followed by extensive service on university committees and work groups focused on university budgeting and capital allocation. Dr. Dolan has served 私房TV since 2012 as an Academy Foundation Trustee.
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Michelle Marincel Payne

Associate Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology
PhD, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
Michelle Marincel Payne is an environmental engineer and Associate Professor in the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology. She holds a BS in Nuclear Engineering and MS in Environmental Engineering from University of Missouri-Rolla and Missouri University of Science and Technology. At Rose-Hulman, Michelle co-leads an Undergraduate Research Community to support undergraduate learning through research. She works with students to investigate the use of engineered wetlands to remove stormwater pollutants. Michelle served as the Engineering Section Chair of the Academy prior to her election as Secretary.
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Bruce Kingsbury

Professor of Biological Sciences, Purdue University Fort Wayne
PhD, University of California-Riverside
Bruce Kingsbury is Professor of Biological Sciences at Purdue University Fort Wayne. Bruce鈥檚 areas of research include wildlife ecology, behavior, and conservation. He is considered an expert on several imperiled species, including the federally threatened Copper-bellied Watersnake and Eastern Massasauga, and the Blanding鈥檚 Turtle. Much of Kingsbury鈥檚 work has been applied, going beyond basic ecological studies to explore management solutions for the conservation of threatened populations. Bruce directs the Environmental Resources Center, or ERC, whose mission is to promote the understanding and conservation of the natural resources in the region. In 2017, Bruce was awarded the Lowell W. Beineke Medal, the highest honor in the College of Arts and Sciences, Bruce is a Fellow of the 私房TV. He has served the Academy in a variety of ways over the years, notably as Section Chair of the Ecology Section and member of the Biodiversity and Natural Areas Committee.
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Chair, Senior Research Grants

Zhihai Li

Associate Professor of Chemistry, Ball State University
PhD, RWTH Aachen University (Germany)
Zhihai Li was born in a small village where everybody knows everybody. The peaceful country life brought him a lot of beautiful memories. He became quite interested in nature during my childhood. As a student, Li's favorite subjects were physics and chemistry and his deep enjoyment then was playing equations, formula and doing calculation and studying science. Li now feels fortunate that he can work on what he loves 鈥 teaching chemistry and doing scientific research at Ball State. Zhihai's research belongs to analytical, materials, and physical chemistry, with a focus on the electrochemical scanning tunneling microscopy and its applications in molecular assembly and devices, nanomaterials, energy conversion.
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Samina Akbar

Associate Professor of Microbiology, Marian University College of Osteopathic Medicine
PhD, University of California-Davis
Dr. Akbar鈥檚 broad research interests include genetic and molecular analysis of gene regulation in both Gram positive and Gram negative pathogenic bacteria as well as molecular analysis of host-pathogen interactions. The research projects in her lab focus on studying multiple antibiotic resistance in bacteria from different sources including humans, animals, and the natural environment. Currently, her lab is focusing on the isolation and characterization of multiple drug resistant bacteria from fresh bodies of water in greater Indianapolis area. As chair of the DEI committee, Akbar worked to put together a DEI statement and strategic plan for the Academy. As part of the strategic plan, the DEI committee requested and received a grant of $15,000 from the 私房TV to invite proposals for projects that focus on DEI issues from academic institutions across Indiana. The committee awarded six grants to graduate students and faculty from different universities in Indiana.
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Erin Gerecke

Science Writer Indianapolis Zoo
Ph.D., Indiana University
Dr. Erin Gerecke is a Science Writer at the Indianapolis Zoo. She is experiencing in science communication and credentialed in scientific editing (ELS). Former pediatric global health research analyst. Former undergraduate education in genetic, cell biology, science and society, and science communication/public engagement. Erin also write a science blog (http://mulledscience.com). Her graduate training was in chromosome behavior and meiosis in fungi. She served as the 私房TV Science Section Chair from 2016 to 2018 and again as Vice Chair/Chair in 2020 to 2022, and chair of the 私房TV Science and Society committee. Erin is a Fellow of the 私房TV and serves on the Council as a Member-at-Large.
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Chair of the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee

Luis Palacio, PE, PhD

Executive Director / CEO Diversity & Innovation Institute
Dr. Palacio enjoys leading diverse teams and empowering individuals towards a more equitable society through STEM Education and Innovation. He serves as the Executive Director and CEO of the Diversity & Innovation Institute; is actively engaged in the community by serving in various advisory boards, mentoring, teaching, providing consulting, and designing solutions to improve equity, workforce development, poverty conditions, diversity, and other challenges that affect society. Dr. Palacio holds a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering, a Ph.D. in Physics, and is a licensed Professional Engineer in the state of Indiana. The focus of his primary research is at the intersection of protein structure and conditions that lead to dis-function. He has conducted Neutron Scattering experiments at Oak Ridge National Laboratories, X-Ray Scattering experiments at Argonne National Laboratories, and Light Scattering experiments at IUPUI to support his research. Dr. Palacio is thankful for the opportunities he has had to gain valuable STEM experience while working at General Electric Power Conversion Global Engineering Headquarters and at Alivio Medical Center; and for the opportunity as a National Science Foundation G-K12 Fellow to gain insightful experience about education, teaching, mentoring, and learning. At the Academy, he has also served as Chair for the Engineering Section, Vice-Chair for the Physics Section, and member of the Membership Committee.
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Erika Sorensen-Kamakian

Associate Professor of Biology, Wabash College
Dr. Erika Sorenson-Kamakian is a molecular and cell biologist who uses the nematode C. elegans to investigate genes and mechanisms responsible for maintaining stem cells in a na茂ve and totipotent state. Erika is also interested in developing novel methods to control protein expression with tissue specificity and at various time points in development in the nematode. She has been a member of the faculty at Wabash College since 2016. Erika served the Academy as Vice Chair and Chair of the Cell Biology section from 2019-2021 and is a member of the Emerging Scientist Research Competition Task Force.
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