“I felt like I had to follow my passions.”
Melanie Szulczewski, assistant professor of environmental science at the University of Mary Washington, shares her decision to take the scenic route to her career in academia.
Melanie Szulczewski is currently an assistant professor of environmental science at the University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg, Virginia. She grew up in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and then majored in chemistry and French literature at Cornell University, becoming the first and only scientist in her family. After realizing that she wanted to get out of the laboratory and apply chemical concepts to the world outside, she discovered the discipline of soil science and fell in love with the amazing world beneath our feet. She earned master’s and doctoral degrees in soil science at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, specializing in soil chemistry and degraded environments. Since then Szulczewski has worked on projects in the Everglades, sub-Saharan Africa, and the Chesapeake Bay watershed.