While Colleen is proud of her contributions to oyster disease research, she said, “My number one accomplishment has been mentoring the four students that I’ve been fortunate enough to work with. They’re all really fantastic students who work very hard and are wonderful members of the community.” Tori Agnew, Mariah Kachmar, Chelsea Bergman, and Mingli Zhao (co-mentored with Eric Schott) will all continue research on marine disease ecology, aided by the mentorship they have received from Colleen.
In addition to advising her graduate students, Colleen has contributed to the education of undergraduates and the public. She was instrumental in developing a marine biology track for students at UMBC. She designed curriculum and co-taught a course with Dr. Sook Chung called Marine and Environmental Biotechnology, which combines UMBC undergrads with graduate students in the Marine-Environmental-Estuarine Science program. “Nearly all of the students have told me how much they liked the course,” Colleen said, “and I think it’s because they get a different perspective than they normally do as undergrads. They get to hear from experts and design their own research projects.” She has enjoyed sharing her scientific knowledge with these students as well as with interns in her lab and the public at the annual IMET Open House.
Dr. Colleen Burge will leave a lasting legacy at IMET. She will remain engaged as a scientific collaborator and student committee member even as she moves across the country. At the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, she will continue apply many of the skills she has strengthened while at IMET - contributing to shellfish health through research, advising young scientists, and making valuable contributions to the wider community.