STEM Shoutout: Dr. Siobhán Mattison

UNM professor hired as rotator in the National Science Foundation Cultural Anthropology Program

University of New Mexico Assistant Professor Dr. Siobhán Mattison was recently hired as a rotator for the National Science Foundation (NSF) Cultural Anthropology Program, where she will serve as a program director.

“I’m very excited by this opportunity. Obviously, it’s going to be beneficial in terms of learning the ins and outs of how and where to submit competitive proposals. I envision other benefits too, for example learning how to work with different programs and divisions at NSF, how to engage in better collaborative projects, how to increase representation in STEM,” she said.

Rotator positions at NSF are temporary positions that give academics the chance to pursue program director positions without cutting ties to their current institution. According to the NSF website, the goal is for them to “return to it with new insights and experience for your team.” 

“I am excited for what the experience might bring to the  broader UNM community — having that kind of insider knowledge — I hope this will  also benefit the larger research environment here going forward,” Mattison said.

Mattison said a large part of her position entails assembling the panels that will review research proposals and will jointly make decisions about which ones will receive funding. She will hold the position for at least one year and will start in September. 

“From what I understand, I will be dealing with a multi-million dollar budget, and allocating that to new projects in cultural anthropology,” Mattison said.  “Having a hand in shaping the discipline going forward is both exciting and humbling.” 

Mattison is currently the director of the Human Family and Evolutionary Demography Lab in the Department of Anthropology at the University of New Mexico. The lab currently hosts  two graduate students and several undergraduates working to understand the evolutionary causes and consequences of human variation. 

When she returns to UNM, Mattison said that she wants to support the students in her lab as well as interdisciplinary arts and science initiatives, including improving research infrastructure and broadening participation in STEM.  

“It seems like a really wonderful place to work,” Mattison said about her new position at NSF. “It’s a bunch of people really excited about improving science and it’s hard not to get jazzed about that in your role as a research scientist at UNM.”