Member Spotlight

Dr. Judith Weis

Professor Emerita
AWIS member since 1971


“Stay calm, and explain things slowly and logically.”

Dr. Judith Weis

What’s the most important leadership lesson you’ve learned?

Stay calm, and explain things slowly and logically.

What do you consider to be your most important career achievement or milestone?

I can list several achievements. In terms of leadership, I served as President of the American Institute of Biological Sciences in 2001. In terms of research recognition, I have received awards from professional societies and Rutgers University. In terms of self satisfaction, I have published four well-received books for the general public. I also enjoy seeing the success of my former graduate students.

What do you aspire to accomplish in your career and why? What obstacles will you overcome?

As Professor Emerita, I hope to be able continue to stay active in my field, and continue to contribute and participate for many more years.

Describe an amazing opportunity in your STEM career.

Through the Estuarine Research Federation (now Coastal and Estuarine Research Federation, CERF, I had an opportunity to travel with a delegation of estuarine scientists to China in 1983 to visit coastal labs and interact with our Chinese counterparts.

How was AWIS helped you professionally and/or personally?

I can’t think of anything concrete, but it was always nice to know AWIS was there.

What is your favorite word? (only one word)


How do you define it?

Look before you leap – think twice before you fly off the handle. (It’s taken from a character in a Gilbert and Sullivan operetta, Ruddigore. I know some AWIS members will recognize it!)

How has this word influenced or inspired your career?

Having a quick temper and flying off the handle is not conducive to making friends and influencing people!

How does AWIS impact your career journey?

AWIS has provided secure knowledge that other women scientists were going through the same things as I.

What are you currently reading or listening to?

The Great Mistake by Jonathan Lee, called a novel, but is an account of the life of Andrew Green, who was important in the development of New York City. He was responsible for Central Park, the Museum of Natural History, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the NY Public Library. And I had never heard of him!

What do you consider the best professional or personal advice you’ve ever received?

“Make sure that your future husband is very supportive of your career.” The support of my husband, Pete, has been a vital and essential part of my successful career for 60 years.


Dr. Judith Weis received her BA from Cornell University, and MS and PhD from New York University. Her areas of study include estuarine ecology and ecotoxicology. She has written over 250 articles and books on such topics as marine pollution, invasions and animal behavior, and microfiber pollution. She serves on the editorial board of BioScience, the journal of the American Institute of Biological Sciences, and is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and a Fulbright Senior Specialist. She has served on the advisory committees of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, NRC, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protections, Biology Section of AAAS, the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry. In 2001, she was President of the American Institute of Biological Sciences.


1629 K Street, Suite 300, Washington, DC 20006
Contact Us
(202) 827-9798

Registered 501(c)(3). EIN: 23-7221574


© 2023 Association for Women in Science. All Rights Reserved.

© 2023 Association for Women in Science. All Rights Reserved.