Faces of AOS: Scott Lanyon Bio

1975 – Scott and Dad (Wesley) collaborating on Northern Mockingbird song project

• Email:

• My position with AOS:
Past President

• My current full-time title and institution:
University of Minnesota Vice Provost and Dean of Graduate Education; Professor Dept. of Ecology, Evolution & Behavior

• My current career stage:
Senior Professional

• My lineage of mentors/labs:
Wesley Lanyon (all my life)
Frank Gill (summer research between High School and undergrad; also between undergrad and Masters)
Charles Thompson (undergrad)
Val Nolan (Masters)
Van Remsen (PhD)

• #badlyexplainyourjob:
As a professor, I advised grad students. As Dean, grad students advise me how I should advise faculty how to advise students.

• My favorite bird and why:
Whichever one I’m looking at. Even the most common species, if you stop to really watch what they are doing, you see amazing behaviors.

• I am involved with AOS because:
AOS is my professional home – supportive throughout my career. The organization works to ensure a bright future for ornithology.

• The best part about being a member of AOS is:
Changes with career stage. At first, it was being welcomed by great ornithologists. Now it is the chance to mentor young ornithologists.

• Birds are important to me because:
I’ve always been jealous of their ability to fly. And, I find them fascinating. An endless source of questions to be asked and answered.

• Advice I have to offer a student (master’s level or younger) in ornithology:
Not everyone loves birds. You must be able to explain your work in a way that excites and engages even these lost souls.

• One ornithology question or problem I would like to solve or see solved:
What is a subspecies?

• Fun random fact about myself:
Highlight of my career – when a student approach my dad at an AOU meeting and said, “Say, are you Scott Lanyon’s dad?”


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