Janet Dewey, Research Scientist

Hiking Lake Marie and Medicine Bow Peak, WY

Education & Experience

2011-Present:  Associate Research Scientist at University of Wyoming

1993-2011:  Research Associate at Mississippi State University

1993-1997:  Instructor at Mississippi University for Women

1993-1994:  Instructor at Mississippi State University

1993:  M.S. in Geology at Auburn University

1990:  B.S. in Geology at Mississippi State University

My interests

My research interests focus on examining geochemical connections in the critical zone – interactions between bedrock and biota. I enjoy hiking, skiing, gardening, reading, and playing the mandolin. I also manage a family-owned pine plantation in MS.

How I became a scientist

In high school I was fascinated by the periodic table as an elaborate puzzle – why were there so many elements, how did their properties relate, and how did we even figure this out? I also took my first geology course in high school and that seemed to be an even bigger puzzle – just waiting to be solved. But I was really good at English and soaked up a couple of books a week, so I thought I wanted to pursue a career in journalism. Like many university students after reality sets in, I went through several majors before I finally decided to go to work until I could figure out my real vocation. Nine years later, I was on vacation with friends in the Adirondacks and discovered that their version of outdoor activities and mine (checking out every outcrop we passed) was not the same. I suddenly realized that geology had been in front of me the whole time, but I hadn’t seen it. I quit my full-time job to seek a BS in Geology. In college I discovered a love of research and an aptitude for analytical instrumentation – I had found my niche. But the story doesn’t end there…

How my work benefits society

I run an analytical geochemistry facility that serves researchers from many different disciplines such as geology, soil science, chemistry, engineering, and atmospheric science. I train dozens of graduate students yearly and mentor them in their research. These students pursue careers in academia, industry, and education, and have the capability to influence research, policy, and the future of science.