Dickinson will invite students back for the spring. Campus buildings are closed and face coverings are required on campus.
Tell us about your career. What does a typical workday look like for you?
I am a Senior Forensic Chemist at the Vermont Forensic Laboratory. I supervise forensic biology in the lab and also serve as the DNA technical leader, which is a federally required position for all forensic DNA laboratories. As a senior forensic chemist, I primarily serve in a managerial role, interacting with staff and managing training. In my role as DNA technical leader, I am responsible for overseeing all aspects of the DNA system for the lab and ensure that the DNA laboratory is in compliance with federal and international quality assurance standards. My day can change with a phone call, but generally my daily tasks include case file review and management, reviewing protocols and interacting with law enforcement to triage evidence.
Can you speak to how Dickinson’s useful liberal-arts education helped you in your life?
Obviously, my degree in biology is with me every day in my job since I work in forensic biology. However, taking electives helped expand my horizons. I was able to learn about different areas like social justice and environmental issues. This helped inform my education and gave me first-time exposure to new topics. For example, having living communities like the Treehouse helped to open my mind to different areas of environmental issues. These electives helped enrich my life and gave me the skills to make me more cognizant and informed about the world around me.
What inspired your gift to Dickinson?
I have always had a huge drive to give back in whatever way I can. Not just to Dickinson, but I support other organizations as well. When I can’t give back monetarily, I feel that it is important to give of my time as well. I have served as a Dickinson volunteer and helped at college fairs. It’s always been important for me to help however I can.
Why do you feel that it is important to give back to Dickinson?
I wouldn’t have been able to attend Dickinson without the support of scholarships. The scholarships and grants that I received made it possible for me to get a Dickinson education. I want to help out in any way possible to make sure that future students have the opportunity to attend Dickinson. I also support the McAndrews Fund because my time on the track team was a big part of my Dickinson experience and really helped me grow. As much as I can, I try to give to as many areas of campus as possible.
What is your favorite memory from your time at Dickinson?
I would have to say that my favorite memory is being a part of the indoor and outdoor track and field team and winning several championships. It was a true team effort, and I feel very proud to have been a part of such a great team.
Can you tell us about what you do outside of work—hobbies, interests, etc.?
Volunteerism is very important to me. I have volunteered at food banks and served as a youth mentor. I’ve also had the chance to volunteer with the Vermont Pride Center. Given the beautiful scenery in Vermont, I spend time biking, hiking and playing frisbee. We used to play ultimate frisbee as a part of our track and field workout, and it’s an activity I still enjoy today. Given that Vermont is often cold and snowy, I have also started to enjoy snowshoeing and other winter activities.
What is one piece of advice you would give to today’s students?
I would encourage students to get involved and stay involved. I spent a lot of time focused on track and field and studying, and I felt like I didn’t have the time to get involved in other activities. But I would encourage you to try something new! There are so many opportunities to get involved.
Published September 30, 2020