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After working at the NOAA Northwest Fisheries Science Center as a National Research Council Postdoctoral Associate in 1995, Dr. Gardner spent 10 years in Mexico conducting research on sea turtle conservation and the effects of chemicals on marine ecosystems. She returned to the United States in 2006 to work as a AAAS Fellow at the U.S. Department of State's Office of Environmental Policy where she continued to work until she was promoted to Deputy Director of the Office of Science and Technology Cooperation in 2010. Her research has resulted in more than 30 published manuscripts spanning the fields of fisheries, toxicology, and ecology. In recognition of her work she was awarded board-certification as a Fellow of the Academy of Toxicological Sciences in 2007. Dr. Gardner has received a Meritorious Honor Award (2008), a Superior Honor Award (2009), and two Quality Step Increases (2010 and 2012) from the Department of State and a Gold Medal for Exceptional Service from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (2011).