Melody Brown Burkins

Academic Appointments

Associate Director, The John Sloan Dickey Center for International Understanding
Adjunct Professor of Environmental Studies
Founding Governing Board Member, International Science Council (ISC)
Chair-Elect, U.S. Board on International Scientific Organizations (BISO), U.S. National Academies
Senior Fellow, UArctic Institute of Arctic Policy

Melody Brown Burkins, Ph.D., (GR '95 '98) is the Associate Director for Programs and Research in the John Sloan Dickey Center for International Understanding and Adjunct Professor of Environmental Studies at Dartmouth. With over twenty-five 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, inclusion, and gender equality.

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Dr. Burkins is an elected member of the Founding Governing Board of the International Science Council (ISC), Chair-Elect of the National Academies’ Board on International Scientific Organizations (BISO), Past Chair of the U.S. National Committee for Geological Sciences, a Senior Fellow in the UArctic Institute for Arctic Policy, and a member of the Science Policy Exchange Governing Council. Her work in national and international governance directly informs her teaching of science policy and diplomacy at Dartmouth as well as her interests in ensuring the best science informs global challenges while advancing inclusion, equality, and sustainability. She advises students and fellows working at the intersection of science, policy, and diplomacy and seeks to support the advancement of more inclusive science systems that engage communities, respect indigenous knowledge, and advance work aligned with the UN Sustainable Development Goals, or SDGs.

After receiving her Ph.D. from Dartmouth in earth and environmental science, Burkins received the 1999-2000 AAAS Congressional Science and Technology Policy Fellowship sponsored by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and Geological Society of America (GSA). She continued her work in Washington, DC, as the energy and environment policy advisor to U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy through 2003, then spent over ten years at the University of Vermont 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' leadership in science, policy, diplomacy, and strategic management have led to appointments as a formal U.S. delegate to multiple international scientific assemblies and congresses. In 2016, she was the first woman to chair a U.S. delegation to an International Geological Congress (34th IGC, South Africa) and created the first majority-female delegation of U.S. geoscience leaders. She was the recipient of a 2013 HERS Fellowship for women leaders in higher education and, in 2010, co-edited Holistic Engineering Education: Beyond Technology (Springer), a collection of essays about the future of engineering education and practice.

Burkins also believes in the importance of service to her community and state. In 2014, she was appointed by Vermont’s Secretary of Commerce to the state’s first Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS) committee and served on the Board of Vermont's Energy Action Network (EAN) from 2012 to 2015. She currently serves on the Board of Trustees of Thetford Academy in Thetford, Vermont, and serves on the Advisory Board of EmergeVermont.

Burkins earned her B.S. in geology at Yale and both her M.S. and Ph.D. at Dartmouth, focusing her doctoral studies in earth and ecosystem studies of the Antarctic Dry Valleys. 

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146 Haldeman
Environmental Studies
The John Sloan Dickey Center for International Understanding
Ph.D. Dartmouth
M.S. Dartmouth
B.S. Yale