2018 Lester Scholarship Recipient: Ellen Dymit, C'19

Please join the Department of Environmental Sciences in congratulating rising ENVS senior, Ellen Dymit, on her $5000 Lester Scholarship award.  The Lester Scholarship is awarded each year to a rising senior in ENVS  who not only demonstrates academic excellence, but who is a leader in the ENVS and Emory community.


For Ellen, Environmental Science has always been more of a lifestyle than an academic interest. Growing up in Minnesota, her most meaningful childhood experiences were those spent backpacking up the north shore of Lake Superior and canoeing through the glacier-carved landscape of the Canadian borderlands. These countless hours spent exploring northern Minnesota and other protected wilderness areas throughout the U.S. have strengthened her devotion to the study of wild places and commitment to environmental stewardship.

Upon coming to Emory, Ellen quickly found her niche in the ENVS department. She began working in the Brosi lab as a freshman and has remained there ever since, accompanying Dr. Brosi and his PhD students to the Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory last summer to conduct field research on the effects of climate change on plant-pollinator networks. Additionally, she has undertaken several independent research pursuits within the department, including the monitoring of Atlanta’s growing coyote population and a senior honors thesis investigating the territoriality of spotted dusky salamanders.

This year, Ellen has worked as a teaching assistant with Professor Anne Hall in ENVS 131; helping her peers learn to love the natural world while practicing her knowledge alongside them. Through her various leadership roles on campus in student organizations like Emory Bike Social, the Emory Scholars Program, and WMRE Student Radio, Ellen strives to engage the broader Emory community in discussions of ecologically significant topics and environmental service work. Ellen’s most recent obsession has been her project to establish several native, pollinator-friendly plantings on Emory’s campus, which she has been granted funding for by the Office of Sustainability Initiatives.

This summer, Ellen will be studying abroad in India through Emory’s Tibetan Mind/Body Sciences Program, then traveling to Nepal for two weeks of trekking in the Himalayas and tiger-spotting in Chitwan National Park. Next year, Ellen will continue working in the Brosi lab, with Professor Hall as a teaching assistant, and as a steward and advocate for the environment. While finishing up coursework for her second major (Biology), she plans to spend the majority of her free time in the lab with her salamanders and bumble bees or in Lullwater, Emory’s nature preserve and Ellen’s second home.