Two Senior Scientists from the U.S. Geological Survey’s Wetland and Aquatic Research Center have been recognized by the White House for their extraordinary leadership, relentless commitment to public service, and lasting contributions to the Federal Government.
USGS Scientists Receive Prestigious Presidential Rank Award
Donald DeAngelis and James Grace have received the Presidential Rank Award, one of the most prestigious awards in the Federal career civil service. It is one of the highest awards bestowed upon the Career Senior Executive Service and Senior Professional by the President of the United States.
Both USGS scientists have nearly 30-year careers with the Department of the Interior and are considered influential scientists and leaders in their respective disciplines.
DeAngelis’ career has been devoted to furthering the understanding of ecological theory and the application of modeling to ecological conservation and restoration. He joined the USGS in 1994 after 22 years as a research scientist at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and attained the USGS’ Senior Scientist ranking in 2015.
As a USGS research ecologist, he specializes in mathematical and simulation modeling, and is one of the early developers of individual-based modeling in population ecology, which simulates populations while allowing for discrete individuals, each with their own attributes and behaviors. He leads the Across Trophic Level System Simulation (ATLSS) Program, which helps guide restoration efforts in the Florida Everglades.
DeAngelis earned his Ph.D. in physics in 1972, but then turned to theoretical ecology soon after, and has since published more than 250 journal articles and book chapters as well as five books. In 2014, DeAngelis was awarded the Distinguished Service Award of the Department of the Interior in recognition of his outstanding contributions to USGS in the field of ecological modeling and environmental decision-making.
Beyond his work with USGS, DeAngelis is a courtesy ecology research professor at the University of Miami (UM). He also devotes time to mentoring Miami-Dade County middle school students who participate in the UM’s six-week summer ecology research program intended to encourage middle school students, particularly inner-city students, to pursue careers in science.
Throughout his 29-year federal career, Grace has been dedicated to developing integrative solutions to pressing natural resource needs for the DOI and other science partners around the world. He joined the USGS in 1992 and attained the USGS Senior Scientist ranking in 2015.
As a USGS research ecologist, Grace is focused on science methodology, particularly the use of causal networks as a way to investigate complex, system-level questions. These methods have been applied to a variety of ecosystems and even the design of cities, and have included the effects of natural disasters, such as hurricanes and fires, and climate change.
Grace has published more than 200 papers and reports, including three books, and in 2019 and 2020, he was the only Senior Scientist in USGS to receive the designation of Highly Cited Scientist by Clarivate Analytics, a recognition that indicates he is in the top 0.1% of cited researchers in the world over the previous 10 years. He has also presented more than 200 invited lectures and workshops in nine countries and is regularly called upon to guide the development and conduct of science programs at the USGS WARC.
Grace was selected to be a a Fellow of the Ecological Society of America due to his 45-year sustained contributions to the environmental sciences. He is also a recipient of the Wetland Society’s Meritorious Research Award for his contributions to the field.
Prior to joining the USGS, Grace was an academic scientist at Michigan State University, as well as the University of Arkansas and Louisiana State University where he held faculty positions. He has maintained affiliations with several universities and has received the designation of Distinguished Visiting Lecturer from more than 100 universities and research institutions around the world.
For more information on the Presidential Rank Award, please visit – https://www.opm.gov/news/releases/2021/12/release-president-biden-selects-2021-presidential-rank-award-winners/.