Emma S. Esterman - Class of 2020 Valedictorian

Emma S. Esterman, Class of 2020 valedictorian, biology major and environmental studies minor, research scholar, violinist, gardener, photographer, children's book author, and the Biology department pumpkin-rolling champion gave the valedictory speech to her graduating class on Sunday, June 14th.

Emma is one of six Dartmouth valedictorians this year.  In introduction to Emma’s speech, Dean Elizabeth Smith said that the faculty speech selection committee was "particularly impressed by her broad spectrum of achievements across our liberal arts curriculum."  Emma's coursework earned her 11 academic citations from 6 departments and brought her the Rufus Choate scholarship, Francis L. Towne Prize, Sophomore Phi Beta Kappa Prize, Best Showcase Portfolio prize and the Mina Warren Scholarship prize.

Starting from her sophomore year, Emma carried out independent research in the laboratory of Associate Professor Olga Zhaxybayeva, for which she was awarded James O. Freedman Scholarship, Thomas B. Roos Memorial Fund Fellowship, and Kaminsky Undergraduate Research Award.  Her research culminated in an honor thesis entitled Evolution of DNA packaging machinery in Gene Transfer Agents and Viruses, for which she received high honors. For her scientific accomplishments she has received the Made at Dartmouth Research Grand Prize, Christopher G. Reed Biologist Award, Sigma Xi Christopher Reed Award, Gazzaniga Family Science Award, and was also awarded the prestigious Goldwater Scholarship. This summer, Emma will begin a two-year program as pre-doctoral research associate at the biotechnology company, Adimab, in Lebanon, New Hampshire.

We congratulate Emma on her many, many successes!