The Fellow Award recognizes current members of the SIVB who have been active members for at least 10 years. A Fellow has made outstanding contributions in their area of specialization or discipline to include research, teaching, and administration in public, government, academic, or private industry activities. The Society for In Vitro Biology honored Valerie Pence and John Finer with Fellow Awards at the 2011 In Vitro Biology Meeting. This issue of the In Vitro Report will highlight Dr. Valerie Pence, and Dr. John Finer will be highlighted in an upcoming issue of the In Vitro Report.
I can think of no one more deserving of a Fellow Award from the Society for In Vitro Biology (SIVB) than Dr. Valerie Pence. Valerie has worked in the application of in vitro culture for plant restoration and conservation and shared her expertise with SIVB for many years. Dr. Pence has been Director of Plant Research at Center for Conservation & Research of Endangered Wildlife at the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden since 1986 and has developed an internationally-recognized and very productive research program involving the application of in vitro culture for rare plant conservation. She developed the In Vitro Collection (IVC) method, a procedure for establishing living collections while working under field conditions. This procedure was adopted by many rare plant conservationists around the world and its value was shown by her keynote speaker status at the 2009 Plant Conservation for the Next Decade celebration at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
The international scientific community recognizes her scientific contributions of consistently high quality papers and book chapters. Valerie developed one of the best educational tissue culture kits “Young Scientist Living Collection Kit” which introduces students to in vitro plant culture, rare pant conservation and the scientific method. Her colleagues in science education have stated that it is the most effective in vitro plant culture education kit available today.
Co-nominators Michael Kane and Carol Stiff noted that Dr. Pence’s dedicated service to promoting SIVB is long standing. Since 1989, she provided leadership in program planning for each SIVB Annual Meeting. She always strives to maintain a balanced scientific program which meets the diverse needs of the SIVB membership. Valerie worked to keep the fundamental aspects of plant culture, including advances in micropropagation technology, represented at each SIVB annual meeting. She always suggests innovative symposia and workshop topics and also acts as organizer and convener for many topics. There are very few years when Valerie is not involved in both convening a symposium and making presentations at the SIVB meeting. Valerie is a great example of what an SIVB Fellow should be: international reputation in rare plant conservation and in vitro culture research, dedication to promoting teaching and scholarship, and long-term dedication to promoting the SIVB mission.
Submitted by Barbara M. Reed