Steel joins UN Food and Agriculture Organization

We are proud to announce that E. Ashley Steel, an Affiliate Associate Professor of the Department of Statistics and School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences, has accepted a new position at the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO) in Rome, Italy.

Steel was the lead statistician for the PNW Research Station, U.S. Forest Service, and previously team lead at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Northwest Fisheries Science Center. She holds a Ph.D. in Quantitative Ecology with M.S. degrees in Statistics and Forestry from the University of Washington and has specialized in the delivery of science and statistics education including K-12 curricula, extension workshops, and university courses as well as statistical communication. 

Steel has been involved in various collaborations with our department. Specifically, she has written several joint papers on salmon migration, ratio estimation thinking, as well as forest fires with Professor Emeritus Peter Guttorp. In addition, she has co-taught a special topics course on statistical thinking (STAT 498) with him. She has also collaborated with Principal Lecturer June Morita on middle school science curriculum, The Truth About Science

Her research focuses on river systems under a changing climate and on human impacts to the distribution of fishes at landscape-scales. Collaborative projects have include modeling shifts in wildfire behavior with climate change, distribution of forest species across landscapes, and effects of forest management on carbon accretion.

In Steel’s new position, she will be working on statistical capacity building in the context of forest resources. More specifically, she will be working to improve statistics on food and other resources gathered in forests for a better accounting of how sustainable forests contribute to livelihoods, nutrition, and economic development; incorporating known uncertainties into estimations of carbon storage in wood products for meeting Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) guidelines; contributing to a new international curriculum on Forests; exploring trends in forest product statistics; and initiating statistical capacity building activities. 

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