Melody Brown Burkins — 14th GSA Congressional Science Fellow. Special legislative assistant, Senator Patrick Leahy from September 1999 through August 2000.
Congressional Science Fellowship
Hall of Fame
Melody Brown Burkins
Melody Brown Burkins is an adjunct assistant professor of Environmental Studies at Dartmouth, where she teaches environmental science and mentors undergraduates in Dartmouth's Women in Science Project. Dr. Burkins' research interests include: the analysis of community-scale environmental science issues and policies; and the links among geology, climate, and ecological systems in the dry valleys of Antarctica. As part of her community focused research, Burkins recently guided students in a pilot environmental indicator project assessing the long term environmental issues facing Dartmouth College. In the Antarctic, she continues her doctoral work using stable isotopes to elucidate the origin, distribution, and cycling of soil organic material in polar deserts-working collaboratively with the NSF-supported McMurdo Region Long Term Ecological Research (MCM-LTER) program. She has also been involved in ore geochemistry studies in south-central Ireland and central Mexico, glacier studies in southeast Alaska, and marine geochemistry research in the Bering Sea. As a graduate student at Dartmouth, Burkins served as president of the Graduate Student Council in 1998-98 and won the Hannah Croasdale Prize for Excellence in Graduate Research and Teaching in 1998. Burkins received her B.S. in Earth Science from Yale University. Dr. Burkins has been a member of GSA since 1997.
Burkins' broad interests in science and policy include the complex issues of global climate change, ecosystem health, and standards for air, water, and soil quality. She is keenly interested in the growing communication among scientists, communities, business, and policymakers surrounding environmental legislation. As an active advocate for earth and ecosystem science literacy, Burkins speaks in community venues such as the Vermont Law School, Dartmouth's Women in Technology program, and local public school classrooms. To further encourage young earth scientists, she spent the fall of 1998 teaching geology and field methods to 10th grade students in Zermatt, Switzerland.
Melody Brown Burkins is extremely pleased to have the opportunity to work on science and policy issues in Washington, D.C. She is working with GSA to develop an interactive Website for the GSA-USGS Congressional Science Fellow, and will continue the fellows' tradition of publishing perspective articles in GSA Today.