, an Assistant Professor of Tropical Forest Management at the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies (F&ES), has received Yale University’s 2016 Postdoctoral Mentoring Prize. The award recognizes one faculty member annually who best exemplifies the role of mentor to postdoctoral trainees.
Nominations for the award, which is offered by the Office of the Provost, are solicited from postdoctoral fellows and associates campus-wide. The honor includes a $1,000 prize.
Comita, who joined the F&ES faculty in 2014, was recognized for her efforts to help women postdocs succeed in their research by succeeding in the practical arenas of the faculty job search process, work-life balance, time management skills, conflict resolution, professional network development, and navigating the sciences as women.
She provides guidance through Women in Science at Yale (WISAY), an organization of students and postdocs that promotes the interests of women in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, and advocates for gender equality in all fields.
“The postdoctoral years are a crucial stage in the career trajectories of young scholars, and good mentoring can make the difference between success and failure,” wrote Provost Benjamin Polak
in a letter notifying Comita of the award. “Your mentorship through Women in Science at Yale makes a tremendous contribution to the professional growth and sense of community for postdoctoral women in science.”
“You provide this mentoring voluntarily through WISAY, and your mentees see your leadership as a model for themselves and others to emulate.”
Comita researches the regeneration ecology of tropical tree species and how spatial and temporal variations in regeneration dynamics act to maintain forest diversity and shape tropical tree communities
. She came to F&ES from Ohio State University, where she was an Assistant Professor in the Department of Evolution, Ecology and Organismal Biology. Prior to that she held postdoc positions at the University of Minnesota, the Earth Institute at Columbia University, and the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis.