Meet the GSC Executive Board: Justin Richardson

On July 30, 2012 by Grad Forum

The Graduate Forum will be running a series of articles profiling the new Graduate Student Council. The GSC elections were held back on May 1st. As the new board members get underway in their positions, we’d like to take an opportunity to congratulate them on their elections and to highlight their hopes for the year ahead. The second article in the series features the new Vice President of the GSC, Justin Richardson.

Justin is a first year Earth Sciences PhD student with an interest in interdisciplinary studies. Justin’s research focuses on soils—specifically, the transport of toxic metals (primarily mercury and lead) upland in forest soils. This research topic has followed Justin since his undergraduate degree in Soil Science at the University of California, Riverside.

Justin explained the importance of monitoring soils, saying, “soil tells a story of landscape history, and the interactions between living and non-living things.” Studying soil is a way of understanding levels of toxicity in the environment and learning to maintain ecosystems that are crucial to the sustainability of life. One might, for instance, study how logging affects the nutrient and mineral levels in the soil, or the concentration of mercury and lead in human water sources.

Prior to being elected Vice President, he served as a department representative for Earth Sciences in the GSC. Now that he’s working with the GSC in a higher capacity, Justin has a number of new aims. First, he’d like to promote interdisciplinary gatherings of the different programs in Graduate Studies. He believes this will bring students together and avoid the social bubbles that tend to form at research institutions. Second, he’d like to bring more sustainable events to the graduate community, such as films with talks or sustainable dinners, and he hopes to highlight the many green options on and off campus. Finally, he intends to make Dartmouth a place for unrestrained graduate studies, making sure that students have every opportunity to present their research and access the resources that can help them make the very most of their time here.

Outside of his studies, Justin enjoys outdoor pursuits, including fishing and hiking. His favorite trails are in the White Mountain National Forest and Franconia Notch. Ever the scientist, he uses these trips to learn about indigenous plant and fish species and, of course, the soils of the region. He even carries a shovel, dubbed “Rusty,” so he can dig soil pits whenever curiosity strikes.


Article by Dan Durcan

Photo curtsey of Justin Richardson

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