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College of Natural Resources Distinguished Professor Named 2017 AAAS Fellow

November 20, 2017

University of Idaho Distinguished Professor Lisette Waits was named a 2017 Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). The national honor recognizes Waits’ exceptional contributions to research and teaching in conservation genetics, wildlife and conservation biology, and for development of techniques for the non-invasive sampling of DNA.

AAAS was founded in 1848 and is the world’s largest general scientific society. Members are nominated for the rank of Fellow by their peers and are voted on by the AAAS leadership council.

“I have spent the last 25 years doing what I love — conducting research, training students and trying to make a difference in conservation and management of wildlife populations,” said Waits, head of the Department of Fish and Wildlife Sciences in the College of Natural Resources and leader of the Fishery Resources and Wildlife Resources programs. “To be honored by AAAS for exceptional contributions to scientific research and teaching in conservation genetics and conservation biology by accomplished peers in the scientific community is truly a bit staggering. I am so honored and thankful to be recognized.”

"Lisette is recognized internationally as a top-caliber researcher and she is a major player in her field of study,” said Kurt S. Pregitzer, dean of the College of Natural Resources. “She is an excellent mentor and colleague who is very deserving of this recognition.”

Waits' research focuses on conservation genetics and molecular ecology. Her research has spanned four continents, and includes collaborators from North America, Europe, Asia, and Central and South America. In October, Waits received the Jean’ne M. Shreeve NSF EPSCor Research Excellence Award.

“Within AAAS the rank of Fellow is one that only a select number of scientists achieve, and is therefore quite prestigious,” said Janet Nelson, vice president for Research and Economic Development at U of I. “We are pleased to see Lisette recognized for her exceptional achievements as a STEM researcher. Lisette is a well-respected member of our faculty, and a strong contributor in our efforts to increase research and scholarship at U of I.”

Waits has a doctorate in genetics from the University of Utah and a bachelor’s in genetics from the University of Georgia. She joined the faculty at U of I in 1997. She will receive the AAAS Fellow award at the AAAS Annual Meeting in Austin, Texas, in February 2018.

Media Contact: 
Kim Jackson
Marketing and Communications Manager
College of Natural Resources
Lisette Waits

About the University of Idaho

The University of Idaho, home of the Vandals, is Idaho’s land-grant, national research university. From its residential campus in Moscow, U of I serves the state of Idaho through educational centers in Boise, Coeur d’Alene and Idaho Falls, nine research and Extension centers, plus Extension offices in 42 counties. Home to nearly 12,000 students statewide, U of I is a leader in student-centered learning and excels at interdisciplinary research, service to businesses and communities, and in advancing diversity, citizenship and global outreach. U of I competes in the Big Sky Conference. Learn more at