Ruth Varner

Dr. Ruth K. Varner is a research associate professor in the Earth Systems Research Center at the University of New Hampshire. She is jointly appointed in the Department of Earth Sciences and in the Institute for the Study of Earth, Oceans, and Space. Dr. Varner completed her master’s and doctoral degrees in earth sciences at UNH and has been a faculty member since 2003. She is a trace gas biogeochemist researcher and the director of the Northern Ecosystems Research for Undergraduates program (NERU). Among the many students Dr. Varner has mentored is Kaitlyn Steele, ’10, ‘12G, who had a Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) in 2008 and participated as a research assistant and mentor to the undergraduates in the NERU project. Dr. Varner has been working with Victoria on various research projects for several years since they first met at a summer research field site in Barrington, New Hampshire. Throughout the NERU research, Dr. Varner was continually surprised by Victoria’s independence and impressed by her work ethic and capacity to learn, noting that she became a vital part of the student group. Working with undergraduates on research, says Dr. Varner, “has enhanced both my ability to communicate and teach and my research skills and success.” She believes that it is important for scientists to be able to communicate their work to a broader audience through publications such as Inquiry, particularly since society is ultimately impacted by the research findings of scientists.