By Lori Wysong
Elm Staff Writer
Dr. Amelinda Webb said that she “spends most of the time looking at seashells that are older than the dinosaurs.”
Dr. Webb is the newest addition to the Environmental Science Department, coming to Washington College as a visiting assistant professor this semester. She focuses especially on ancient marine ecosystems.
She brings a wealth of experience with her to WC, having taught previously at the University of South Florida and George Mason University.
Her primary field of research is Paleoecology, a study which seeks to understand and interpret ecosystems from the past.
In addition, she is also examining some contemporary applications in the field.
“I’ve been getting more into conservation Paleobiology, where we actually look at modern systems, and look at the history of those systems and how they change when they’re put under stress,” she said.
Dr. Webb believes that this study of past trends can reveal more about our current climate patterns, and perhaps help us in deciding what steps to take next.
She said she chose to come to WC for its close-knit atmosphere and emphasis on the liberal arts.
She attended Cornell College, a small liberal arts school in Iowa, for her undergraduate degree.
“I had such a positive experience on the other side of the podium that the chance to come back to this kind of environment and to pass it forward was really appealing to me,” she said.
She especially appreciates the preparedness and well-roundedness a liberal arts education can give to students, and attributes her own success in her field to similar educational experiences.
She said WC students should take advantage of the benefits a liberal arts education can bring.
“As a Paleontologist, I need to know chemistry, I need to know geology, I need know biology, I need to know some basic physics, I need to know the statistics. So being in a very interdisciplinary department like environmental science is a good fit for me,” she said.
Dr. Webb is a fan of fantasy and sci-fi. In her free time, she enjoys playing board games and Dungeons and Dragons.
She said that she attends Dragon Con every year.
“If there’s a nerdy pursuit, I’ve probably done it and enjoyed it,” she said.
So far, she has “been loving it” here at WC.
“I saw a brochure that said it was unique, quirky, friendly, and that’s been a perfect description of it. The students the faculty, the staff, they’ve all been very welcoming,” she said.