Alumnae Share Career Guidance

On May 29, 2014 by Grad Forum
Dr. Melody Brown Burkins and Professor Patricia Wadsworth lead discussion during lunch.

Dr. Melody Brown Burkins and Professor Patricia Wadsworth lead discussion during lunch.

Graduate alumnae, Melody Brown Burkins and Patricia Wadsworth, discussed their careers with current graduate students over lunch on Friday, May 16. Both alumnae have had very successful careers, although they have followed different paths. The event was hosted by the Graduate Studies Office and the Science, Technology, and Engineering Policy Society (STEPS) at Dartmouth.

Burkins obtained both an MS and PhD in earth sciences from Dartmouth, focusing on geochemical studies and life in extreme Antarctic environments. She performed her doctoral studies under the mentorship of Professor Ross Virginia. After completing her PhD, Burkins headed to DC for a national Congressional Science and Technology Fellowship in the US Senate. Following this fellowship, she was appointed as a legislative aide to Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy; she advised him on issues related to energy, agriculture, and natural resources. Currently, Burkins is the senior director of Research and Strategic Initiatives and director of the Vermont Advanced Computing Core at the University of Vermont (UVM). She also serves on two non-profit boards—the Science Policy Exchange and Vermont’s Energy Action Network—and is chair of the US National Committee for the International Union of Geological Sciences, where she works to advance national and international efforts in science-based policy and diplomacy.

Wadsworth obtained her PhD in biology at Dartmouth under the mentorship of Professor Roger Sloboda. In fact, she was Sloboda’s first graduate student! Since leaving Dartmouth, Wadsworth has pursued a career in academia. She completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and is currently a professor of biology at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Wadsworth’s research focuses on cellular division and the cytoskeleton.

Graduate students in attendance found the discussion very informative, and many stayed after lunch to continue talking with Burkins and Wadsworth. Students thought it was helpful to learn more about both an academic career track and a non-traditional career track.

by Amanda Balboni

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