Caren Cooper, PhD, is an associate professor at North Carolina State University, jointly appointed as assistant head of the Biodiversity Research Lab where her research lab is on display at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences. At NCSU, she is part of an interdisciplinary team of faculty in the Chancellor’s Faculty Excellence Program in Leadership in Public Science and mentors conservation biology graduate students within the Department of Forestry and Environmental Resources in Fish, Wildlife, and Conservation Biology. She is author of Citizen Science: How Ordinary People Are Changing the Face of Discovery. On Twitter, Cooper (@CoopSciScoop) is founder and moderator of #CitSciChat (panel discussions), @IamCitSci (an account with weekly rotating hosts), and #WhoLaidIt (a natural history game). She is director of research partnerships with SciStarter.com, the largest searchable repository of citizen science projects. Cooper’s research focuses on birds, public stewardship of birds, and community pollution monitoring and mapping (sometimes with birds!).
Cooper has over 60 publications, including research papers that relied on data from NestWatch, Project FeederWatch, Christmas Bird Count, Breeding Bird Survey, and My Yard Counts. Cooper helped design citizen science projects at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology including YardMap, NestWatch, and Celebrate Urban Birds. She has two current citizen science projects. Sparrow Swap helps volunteer nest monitors minimize damage by house sparrows while exploring the potential of house sparrow eggs as a tool for the biomonitoring of contaminants. Sound Around Town investigates ecology and human well-being associated with soundscapes in suburban and urban areas. Cooper also studies the phenomenon of citizen science across the ecosystem of people and project within SciStarter.com in order to guide project design.
Cooper serves on the Board of the CSA (2017-2020), the ethics working group, and led the committee to create a new journal, Citizen Science: Theory and Practice. She was co-editor-in-chief for the CSA’s journal (2014-2016) and now associate editor (2017+). She is co-chair of the international CODATA-WDS Task Group on Citizen Science and the Validation, Curation, and Management of Crowdsourced Data.