Give a Rouse: Meet Julia Kelson and Suzanne Kelson, Dartmouth Class of 2012


Twin sisters Julia Kelson ’12 and Suzanne Kelson ’12 share more than genetics and their hometown of Lafayette, Calif. Both have been active participants in the Dartmouth Outing Club (DOC), specifically the Cabin and Trail division that maintains 50 miles of the Appalachian Trail.


Twin sisters Suzanne (left) and Julia (right) Kelson have shared similar experiences at Dartmouth, but have also forged their own unique academic paths. (photo by Eli Burak ’00)

Suzanne regards the DOC as an opportunity for students to step off campus and appreciate Dartmouth’s woodlands surroundings, while Julia joined because she craved being outside and challenging herself physically.

The twins also share a love for dance and both have been members of the Dartmouth Dance Theater Ensemble. “The dance ensemble trains and rehearses every weekday to create an original movement piece that is performed in the spring,” Suzanne explains. “The ensemble allows dancers to train at a professional level, and to also grow as artists and movement creators.” The sisters performed in the ensemble’s most recent offering, Undue Influence.

While both have gravitated toward the sciences, their specific interests diverged. Suzanne pursued the biological sciences and participated in undergraduate research through the Women in Science Project and the James O. Freedman Presidential Scholars Program. In the months following graduation, Suzanne will be doing research on salmon in Woods Hole, Mass., for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Agency. Beyond that she plans to return to Dartmouth to work as a research assistant for Professor Anne Kapuscinski, the Sherman Fairchild Distinguished Professor of Sustainability Science.

Julia’s interests lie in the earth sciences and she plans to spend the summer working for the Climate Institute. After that she hopes to move west and either teach environmental studies in an outdoor education program for teenagers, or spend the winter teaching skiing. “Although I will miss Dartmouth, I do look forward to moving west and starting a new adventure,” Julia says. “After that I plan on going to graduate school to study either glaciology or geomorphology.”

Julia says that Dartmouth taught her how to be a scientist. “I’ve learned what kinds of questions are important to ask, and that answering questions is almost never as simple as you anticipate,” she says. “I’ve also seen how science really can answer big questions and solve real problems, which gives me optimism that I will have the opportunity to use what I’ve learned to positively shape the future.”

Suzanne says that while she came to Dartmouth because it is a great academic institution, some of the greatest lessons that she has learned have not been in the classroom. “My four years at Dartmouth were nothing like I expected them to be, and all for the better. I can’t wait to see what the other ’12s do with the world next year.” She adds, “I also understand now how lucky I am to have a twin sister.”

Of sisterhood, Julia says, “Having my sister on campus with me was the most wonderful thing. I always knew I had my best friend. At Dartmouth we have really helped each other grow, and have also found our own personalities while being here.”

Read more profiles of members of the Class of 2012:

Joseph Blumberg