In February 2008, Dr. Melody Brown Burkins joined the College of Engineering and Mathematical Sciences full time as Associate Dean for Economic Development and Research Partnerships. In her role, Burkins works with the Dean and faculty to advance strategic partnerships and communications in support of College-wide priorities, including continued hires of world-class faculty, growth of an innovative research enterprise, and advocacy for a competitive, holistic approach to 21st-century science and engineering.
Burkins is also a point person for individuals, companies, and organizations hoping to explore research ideas, partnerships, and technology transfer opportunities with CEMS. She visits regularly with small and large business and government interests, participates in statewide economic development and higher education discussions, and helps connect CEMS with federal opportunities and programs.
Educated as an earth and ecosystems scientist at Dartmouth College (M.S. and Ph.D.) and Yale University (B.S.), Burkins was chosen as the 1999-2000 AAAS Congressional Science and Technology Fellow for the Geological Society of America and U.S. Geological Survey, then became permanent staff to U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy as his aide for energy and environment issues in Vermont and the nation.
Burkins arrived at UVM in 2002 and has held several successful often simultaneous administrative roles to advance interdisciplinary research, education, and innovation, including Director of Federal Relations, Director of the Northeastern States Research Cooperative, and Executive Director of the Vermont Monitoring Cooperative. She has also led multi-year ecosystem research and monitoring programs and spent a winter term as visiting professor in the Environmental Studies Program at Dartmouth.
Burkins' commitment to the success of higher education, to helping craft strategic and sustainable solutions, and to advancing the UVM research and economic development enterprise continues to drive her professional interests. Her work continues to be informed by her extensive science and policy experience as well as several years spent teaching and pursuing research in Antarctica, central Ireland, southeast Alaska, Mexico, Switzerland, and the Bering Sea. Burkins lives in Jericho, Vermont with her husband, Derek, and two young sons.