Testimonials for Pioneer Member Jane Silverthorne

Machi Dilworth – Recruiting Jane to NSF as a permanent program officer was one of my major professional accomplishments. There were (still are) about 500 Ph.D. level program officers at NSF and about half are “rotators”. The idea is that permanent program officers will provide stability to the program through their long-term insitutional memories, and rotating program officers will provide fresh perspectives with their up-to-date experiences as practicing researcher/educators. A permanent program officer can keep up with rapid scientific advances in a general way, but not to the same extent as practicing researcheers. But, Jane was an exception. I don’t know how she does it, but she has managed to keep on top of conceptual and technological advances in broad areas of research, including genomics, plant biology, information science and other relevant fields. Her deep and insightful scientific knowledge was critical for success of the many programs she managed over the almost 20 years of her NSF career, and it led to unprecedented advances in plant science research for the last two decades.

Scott A. Jackson – I cannot say enough about Jane and her impact on my life. She had an indelible impact in countless ways on both my professional and personal development. She exemplified what a citizen-scientist should be and helped me become a better person. Most importantly, she is a great friend!

Katherine Kahn – Jane was an invaluable guide in my early days working to fund plant sciences for agricultural development in low-income countries. Her passion to connect outstanding U.S. science to global issues helped foster a community of dedicated researchers around the world. Jane helped me understand how to encourage high-quality proposal submissions and she was an enthusiastic teacher and learner as we established the BREAD program (Basic Research to Enable Agricultural Development). I’ll be forever grateful to Jane for opening NSF to shared learning in cutting-edge plant science, and a shared passion to reach those most in need of progress in crop productivity.

Esther van der Knaap – Jane Silverthorne had a profound impact on my career in academia. Hired as a non-tenure track faculty, her support of my “young” research ideas and invitations to serve on panels guided me to become a mature scientist with a fully equipped laboratory.

Susan McCouch – Jane contributed enormously to the development of a strong, vibrant and inclusive plant genomics community that embraced international collaboration, emphasized the development of shared community resources, and championed scientific inquiry on a wide diversity of plant species. As a grants officer, senior NSF scientist, and Senior Policy Analyst for the White House Office on Science and Technology, her visionary thinking and tireless dedication have been a source of inspiration to many in the plant science research community. I was fortunate to meet Jane early in my career and will be forever grateful for the guidance, encouragement, and unofficial mentorship she provided as a leading figure in the NSF PGRP.