Melody Brown Burkins

Assoc. Director for Programs & Research, John Sloan Dickey Ctr for International Understanding
Adjunct Professor of Environmental Studies
Chair, US National Committee for Geological Sciences
Member, Board on International Scientific Organizations, National Academies
Governing Council, Science Policy Exchange
Strategy Working Group, ICSU-ISSC Planned Merger

Dr. Melody Brown Burkins (A&S'98, PhD) is the Associate Director for Programs and Research in the John Sloan Dickey Center for International Understanding and Adjunct Professor in the Environmental Studies Program at Dartmouth College. With over twenty years of experience in both academia and government, she is an advocate for policy-engaged scholarship across disciplines, international education and partnerships, creating new opportunities for academics and professionals in science policy and diplomacy, and the support of global initiatives investing in earth systems sustainability, civic engagement, and gender equality.

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Dr. Burkins is a member of the National Academies’ Board on International Scientific Organizations (BISO) and Chair of the U.S. National Committee for Geological Sciences (USNC-GS).  The recipient of a highly competitive AAAS Congressional Science and Technology Fellowship sponsored by the US Geological Survey and Geological Society of America in 1999, she continued in Washington as the energy and environment policy advisor to U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy for three years, then spent over ten years at the University of Vermont (UVM) in a diversity of leadership and management roles. These included serving as director of the Northeastern States Research Cooperative, executive director of the Vermont Monitoring Cooperative, associate dean in the College of Engineering and Mathematical Sciences, director of federal relations, director of the UVM supercomputing center, and senior director for research and strategic initiatives for the Vice President for Research and Dean of the Graduate College.

Burkins' connections across science, policy, diplomacy, and higher education management have led to appointments as a formal U.S. delegate to international scientific assemblies – including the 31st General Assembly of the International Council of Science (ICSU) in 2014 and the 34th International Geological Congress (IGC) in 2012. In 2016, she became the first woman to lead a U.S. delegation to the International Geological Congress (IGC) in South Africa, a delegation of eight U.S. geoscience leaders that included six women - the first majority female U.S. delegation to an IGC in history.  At the state level, she was appointed by Vermont’s Secretary of Commerce to the state’s first Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy committee in 2013 and has served on boards supporting the future of sustainable investments in the environment and energy. She was the recipient of a 2013 HERS Fellowship for women leaders in higher education, has co-edited a published volume of essays about the future of engineering education and practice, and has served as an invited speaker on issues ranging from the practice of science policy and diplomacy to alternative (non-academic) PhD career paths and women’s leadership. 

Burkins earned her B.S. in geology at Yale University and both her MS and PhD at Dartmouth College, focusing her doctoral studies in earth and ecosystem studies of the Antarctic Dry Valleys. She currently serves on governing and advisory boards engaged in science policy advocacy as well as women’s leadership.  

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6048 Haldeman Center
Department(s): 
Environmental Studies
Center(s): 
The John Sloan Dickey Center for International Understanding
Education: 
Ph.D. Dartmouth College
M.S. Dartmouth College
B.S. Yale University