Achievement in the Sciences Award

thumb_p123550.tf_00D241C2-D1C9-8F19-00785722D72FD273.Kathy_Cottingham_head_shotKathy Cottingham’s parents never told her that they wanted their daughter to attend Drew. Thanks to the Governor’s School in the Sciences, they didn’t need to.

Kathy arrived from Medford Lakes, New Jersey, in July 1985 for the Governor’s School, which has now brought talented New Jersey high school students to Drew each summer for 30 years. For Kathy, the experience set her life on a different trajectory. Once admitted as a Drew Scholar, she plunged into academics and athletics, and assisted with the Governor’s School in the summers as a student counselor. She majored in biology and mathematics—she says she enjoys biology’s “messiness,” meaning that there are no definite answers, always leaving something more to learn, while math is “clean,” appealing to her appreciation of order. Kathy earned a prestigious Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship, was elected to Phi Beta Kappa and graduated summa cum laude; she also received numerous awards as a scholar-athlete in both lacrosse and field hockey. She was elected to Drew’s Athletic Hall of Fame in 2000.

Kathy is grateful to Drew’s science faculty, and is particularly thankful for Lee Pollock’s guidance that took her to the University of Wisconsin at Madison for graduate school in zoology. At Wisconsin, Kathy earned her MS in 1993 and PhD in 1996, and went on to the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis for two years of postdoctoral work. In 1998 Kathy was appointed assistant professor at Dartmouth College, where she has been co-chair of the graduate program in ecology and evolutionary biology since 2009 and professor of biological sciences since 2011. She is enthusiastic about her students in Dartmouth’s undergraduate and graduate programs.

Kathy has received many fellowships and research grants. Her list of publications and presentations is impressive, as is her record of service to professional organizations. Her awards include Dartmouth’s Graduate Faculty Mentor Award in 2013. Her scholarly interests are diverse, centering on ecology and limnology (the study of freshwater lakes) but also include projects in environmental microbiology, epidemiology and public environmental health. One of her public health interests is the occurrence of arsenic in nature, and in rice consumption in particular, with consequent effects in utero, in breast milk and in infant foods; a publication she co-led in this area was named the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences’ “2011 Paper of the Year.” She enjoys doing research that can directly affect people’s lives.

Kathy and her husband, Bob Mosdal, enjoy living in Hanover, New Hampshire. Bob, a professional librarian, currently concentrates on home and family, including their two sons, Thomas, 10, and Martin, 7. They all enjoy the local hiking trails. In her limited spare time, Kathy coaches and cheers for the boys’ soccer teams, and is active in the Lake Sunapee Protective Association.