November 30, 2017 – Georgetown alumna Deirdre Collins (C’17), who hopes to work to promote environmental preservation and sustainable development, has been named the 2018 Rhodes Scholar for Bermuda.
Collins, a native of St. George’s, Bermuda, will use the scholarship to pursue a M.Phil in environmental change and management at the University of Oxford, beginning next fall.
A biology major at Georgetown, Collins received the only Rhodes Scholarship awarded to a Bermudian this year.
“On behalf of our entire Georgetown community, I wish to congratulate Deirdre on this extraordinary achievement,” said Georgetown President John J. DeGioia. “We look forward to the many contributions she will make to our global community as she engages more deeply in her studies in environmental science at Oxford.”
DNA and Mars
Deirdre Collins (C’17) traveled to an icefield in Juneau, Alaska, for fieldwork as part of a NASA summer research internship program.
Collins excelled in the classroom during her years at Georgetown and impressed her professors from the start.
“She tackled every aspect of the [Foundations of Biology] course with intellectual vigor, mastered the work at hand, and then pushed of her own accord to reach a level of understanding far beyond what we expected,” biology professor Heidi Elmendorf wrote in a recommendation for Collins’ Rhodes candidacy.
Collins eventually served as a research assistant in the Johnson Biosignatures Lab led by Sarah Stewart Johnson, a Rhodes scholar herself and assistant professor of planetary science with the biology department and the Science, Technology and International Affairs program.
The student helped Johnson extract DNA in soil samples from regions of Western Australia thought to be similar to Mars. Such research may one day help solve the question of whether there was ever life on that planet.
Inspired by Faculty
During the summer of 2016, Collins was an intern with the Juneau Icefield Research Program operated by the Foundation for Glacier …