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Out & About: Dartmouth hires new Arctic Studies director

  • Melody Brown Burkins is the new director of Dartmouth College's Institute of Arctic Studies. (Robert Gill photograph) Courtesy photograph—Courtesy photograph

Valley News Staff Writer
Published: 7/4/2021 9:36:34 PM
Modified: 7/4/2021 9:36:36 PM

HANOVER — Dartmouth College has selected Alaska native Melody Brown Burkins to be the director of its Institute of Arctic Studies.

Burkins, previously the associate director for programs and research at Dartmouth’s John Sloan Dickey Center for International Understanding, began her new role July 1, according to a news release from the college. She replaces Ross Virginia, a professor of environmental studies at Dartmouth.

Virginia will continue to teach at the college in addition to serving in leadership roles at University of Greenland, University of the Arctic and the U.S. National Academies of Polar Research.

“Melody Brown Burkins has an impressive record of achievement in a broad range of areas, including Arctic fieldwork, publishing and teaching in environmental studies and Arctic science, and sustainable community development, as well as experience with national public policy development and international diplomacy,” Dean of the Faculty Elizabeth Smith said in the release.

Burkins was raised in Fairbanks, Alaska. She earned a bachelor’s degree in geology from Yale University, and a master’s degree in earth sciences and a doctorate in earth sciences and earth, ecosystems, ecological sciences at Dartmouth. Virginia was one of Burkins’ advisers. Among Burkins’ accomplishments are: serving as natural resources policy adviser to U.S. Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont, chair of the Board on International Scientific Organizations at the U.S. National Academies, and a governing board member for the International Science Council, according to the release.

“In the Arctic and around the world, this work to develop more collaborative, equitable, and inclusive scholarship informing a more sustainable future for our planet is critical,” Burkins said in the release. “For our students and our children, we must continue to try.”

West Central Behavioral Health honors two with leadership awards

CLAREMONT — Michael Whitman, of Lyme, and Shawn Cornell, of Newport, N.H., received leadership awards from West Central Behavioral Health at the nonprofit organization’s annual awards ceremony.

Whitman, who has helped organize support groups and been a longtime advocate for suicide awareness and prevention, received the Lilla McLane-Bradley Award for Mental Health Advocacy.

Cornell, who has been the IT director at West Central for 22 years, received the Fred Hesch Award for Excellence in Performance, which honors staff members at the nonprofit’s locations in Claremont, Lebanon and Newport.

Vermont Association of Area Agencies on Aging names new director

COLCHESTER, Vt. — Vermont Association of Area Agencies on Aging — also known as V4A — has named Mary Hayden as its new executive director.

V4A oversees the five Vermont area councils on aging including Senior Solutions, which serves seniors in Windsor County, and the Central Vermont Council on Aging, which assists seniors in Orange County. Hayden, of Barre, Vt., was previously the development and communications director of Central Vermont Council on Aging and will begin her new role July 19, according to a news release. She replaces Janet Hunt, who is now the executive director of the Upper Valley Community Nursing Project.

“I believe this is a critical time for the area agencies on aging and their partners in Vermont’s aging network,” Hayden said in the release. “Vermonters, like all Americans, are living longer. A strong aging network in Vermont is critical to ensuring older Vermonters are not left behind without the resources needed to age with equality and dignity and to have a better life.”

Vermont Law School administrator joins Law School Admission Council board

SOUTH ROYALTON — John Miller, who serves as Vermont Law School’s vice president for enrollment management, marketing and communications, has been appointed to the board of trustees of the Law School Admission Council.

The nonprofit organization works to promote equal access to law school education. Miller, who is also an adjunct professor at VLS, joined the South Royalton law school in 2009 as the associate director of admissions.

“We are at a critical point in history where the rule of law has become crucial to American democracy and as the world responds to a global pandemic,” Miller said in a news release. “A legal and legal-related education has never been more compelling and access to a legal education from disadvantaged communities has never been more important. I look forward to working with LSAC to harness this momentum and innovate on its delivery.”

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