ESSM graduate student David Toledo recognized in 2012 NSF IGERT video & poster competition

David Toledo was one of 25 students to receive the Judges' Choice award for his entry in the nation-wide National Science Foundation-IGERT (Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship) video and poster competition. The competition, which ran May 22-25, 2012, featured more than 110 entries across multiple disciplines and involved more than 150 students from universities throughout the country.

David's video and poster, titled "To burn or not to burn: Balancing societal risk perceptions and ecological needs of fire adapted systems," detail his research into identifying socio-economic and ecological factors that drive landowner use of different land management practices to restore degraded ecosystems. This project includes the development of simulation models that can be used to guide management and policy.

David is a trainee in the IGERT program in Applied Biodiversity Science (ABS) at Texas A&M University, which integrates biodiversity research and on-the-ground conservation. Three pillars support the program: 1) integrated research in social and biological sciences; 2) cross-disciplinary research and collaboration with conservation institutions and actors in the field; and 3) application of conservation theory to practice.

Every year, one trainee from the ABS-IGERT is selected to participate in the competition and attend the annual IGERT meeting. "I decided to participate in this competition this year because results from my research exemplify what the IGERT program is about," said David. "By participating in this event, I could increase the exposure of my work to a broader audience."

As the culmination to the video and poster competition, David and the other competition winners attended the annual NSF-IGERT Annual PI meeting at the end of May in Washington, D.C.

You can view David's video and poster online at More information about the NSF-IGERT video and poster competition, including all the winning entries, is online at Learn more about the NSF-IGERT program at