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Patterson Scholars are committed to exploring the natural world, the challenge of sustainability, and science education through public engagement.

Named in honor of the late William J. Patterson, Chair of the Academy’s Board of Trustees from 2007 to 2010, the Academy’s Patterson Scholars inspire the next generation of scientists through visionary leadership and bold scientific investigations.

These endowed chairs are made possible by friends, family, and colleagues in his memory.

See below to learn more about the first four Patterson Scholars and their research in 2018.

Brian Fisher

Dr. Brian Fisher looking for insect specimens in the field

Dr. Fisher is the Academy's Curator of Entomology. His research focuses on leveraging new technologies and tools to discover, document, and understand the diversity of ants and other insects particularly in threatened ecosystems, and ensure these results are widely available and put to use effectively and quickly for conservation action.

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Shannon Bennett

Dr. Shannon Bennett

Dr. Bennett is the Chief of Science and Harry and Diana Hind Dean of Research and Collections. She was the Academy's first-ever Associate Curator of Microbiology, helping broaden the Academy’s research scope to include a dedicated focus on viruses and bacteria. Her specialty lies in infectious microbes that can be transmitted from animals to humans, and she is currently exploring how biodiverse systems protect humans from emerging infectious diseases.

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Scott Loarie

Dr. Scott Loarie, co-director of iNaturalist

Dr. Loarie is co-director of iNaturalist, a citizen science social network and joint initiative of the California Academy of Sciences and the National Geographic Society, that has revolutionized the way people collect data on biodiversity in real-time. Loarie’s research focuses on the impact of land use and climate change on biodiversity across ecosystems worldwide, and on the application of technology to confront these conservation challenges.

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Rebecca Albright

Rebecca Albright in her coral spawning lab at the Academy

Dr. Albright is a curator of invertebrate zoology and co-leader of the Academy's Hope for Reefs initiative. A coral reef biologist, her research focuses on the impact of ocean acidification and warming seas on reefs around the world. She created one of the world’s only coral culturing labs that celebrated its second-annual spawning event in March 2019.

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The Academy's Research Institute

The mission of the Academy's Institute for Biodiversity Science and Sustainability is to gather new knowledge about life's diversity and the process of evolution—and to rapidly apply that understanding to our efforts to sustain life on Earth.

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