2021 Cooperative Research Unit Recognition Awards

Release Date:

These awards represent significant achievement in the CRU Program. We congratulate the recipients for their scientific excellence, and service to the program, to their cooperators, and to natural resource conservation. 

The Wildlife Management Institute (WMI) has awarded the Administrative Excellence Award to Kimmie Takaki, Business Manager for the Wyoming Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit. Kimmie is recognized for her outstanding performance in 2020 and for exceptional service to the Unit, the Wyoming Unit’s cooperators, and the CRU National Program.

Dr. John D. Thompson, Deputy Chief, CRU – Service Award
This award acknowledges Dr. Thompson’s extraordinary service to the unit program and its cooperators, and partner agencies. Dr. Thompson provided leadership, as Acting CRU Chief, to the units through some unprecedented circumstances. This included a significant budget increase requiring hiring numerous new scientists while navigating the unknown operating circumstances caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The CRU awards panel received 28 nominations in support of this award which is direct evidence of the impact of his service and acknowledgement of the importance of Dr. Thompson’s support of the CRU mission and its’ scientists and students.

Dr. Clint W. Boal, Assistant Unit Leader, TX Unit – Excellence in Science
Dr. Boal’s achievements have made him a world-renowned raptor ecologist and brought wide recognition for his research and conservation efforts with important species of concern such as Lesser Prairie Chickens. The geographic scope of his current research is impressive, encompassing Texas, the southwestern US, and the Caribbean. Dr. Boal is notable with 26 scientific presentations, three journal articles and two book chapters published, and co-authorship of Raptors of Texas. His distinguished record of awards includes The President’s Award in recognition of his service to The Raptor Research Foundation and the Fran and Frederick Hamerstrom Award received in 2019; 2020 W.L. McAtee and G.V. Burger Award for outstanding service as an Associate Editor for the Wildlife Society Bulletin; and two separate honors by Texas Tech University for achieving national recognition for excellence in research. His recognition as a leader is matched only by the quality of his mentorship skills and recognition of his students.

Dr. Courtney J. Conway, Unit Leader, ID Unit – Excellence in Science
Dr. Conway has exhibited an outstanding level of research productivity over the last several years including publishing 27 papers in peer review journals, maintaining over 25 grants and contracts, 15 active projects, supporting over 20 graduate students and regularly attracting nearly $1M in research funding per year. He has been a key Doris Duke Program participant since 2016 and continues to mentor graduate students from under-represented groups. His overall level of productivity, and commitment to education and mentoring, is largely unparalleled in the CRU Program. Dr. Conway’s research program has a high impact to his cooperators and is focused on the highest regional priorities. The impacts of his science as well as the application impact of his research program is broad and substantial and exemplifies the true value of the CRU Program and has greatly enhanced the portfolio and profile of CRU.

Dr. Angela K. Fuller, Unit Leader, NY Unit – Excellence in Leadership
Dr. Fuller demonstrates excellence in leadership in all aspects of her career. She has a distinguished record of scientific leadership in the development and implementation of large inter-disciplinary research efforts of extraordinary scope and complexity. Many of her research efforts seek to develop a socio-ecological approach to conservation, applying innovative concepts of computational sustainability to designing systems in a manner that formally integrates biodiversity, social values, and economics. As noted in one of her nomination letters, this is exactly the way conservation science should be conducted. Dr. Fuller also exemplifies leadership in her mentoring and training of the next generation of scientists and resource managers. Her approach to training graduate students emphasizes structured decision making where her students participate in the class she teaches on this subject where they engage in collaborative research with real-world management decision making issues.

Dr. Matthew J. Kauffman, Unit Leader, WY Unit – Excellence in Leadership
Dr. Kauffman is a shining example of leadership within the CRU Program and his excellent leadership with the Wyoming Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit has demonstrated an outstanding level of research productivity – notably publishing 26 papers in leading journals in three years - and innovative leadership in science and applications to management that has accelerated the conservation of western ungulates. Dr. Kauffman’s most significant achievement has been his efforts to lead research and technical support on ungulate migration and ecology in the west. The Department of Interior has recognized his decade long commitment on western ungulate migration and established a Secretarial Order (SO3362) to advance the coordination and collaboration of the DOI with the activities of the all willing western states. Dr. Kauffman was selected to lead this effort for the DOI, bringing significant positive focus to the CRU Program. In doing so, he exceeded all expectations by delivering highly advanced technical support through a team of state-based scientists in 12 western states. Dr. Kauffman is an emerging recognized global leader on the science of ungulate migration and spatial ecology. The impacts of his science as well as the application impact of his research program is substantial and exemplifies the true value of the CRU Program.

West Virginia Unit – Excellence in Management
The West Virginia Unit consisting of Dr. Patricia Mazik as Unit Leader, Drs. Petra Wood and Stuart Welsh as Assistant Unit Leaders, and Ms. Becky Nestor as the Unit Administrative Assistant consistently does an excellent job in addressing all administrative tasks. Administrative reports and requirements are complete and received by established deadlines. Dr. Mazik is a very capable administrator, but the administrative success of the unit is largely due to the capabilities of Ms. Nestor. Ms. Nestor has a great relationship with the graduate students at the unit and works with them to ensure all necessary training and paperwork is completed. Congratulations to the West Virginia Unit for a job well done.