Where They’re Headed: Genevieve Dallmeyer-Drennen ’22

The biology major is traveling to James Cook University in Australia to pursue a Research Master of Science in marine biology.

Genevieve Dallmeyer-Drennen ’22 is continuing to pursue her interests in marine sciences and biology as she departs Haverford. The biology major, who minored in environmental studies, is attending James Cook University, located in Townsville, Australia, to pursue a Research Master of Science in marine biology.

Dallmeyer-Drennen will spend two years at one of the world’s top-ranked universities for marine biology. Her first year will consist primarily of field work-heavy courses, followed by a year devoted to a master’s thesis. After her first year, she will select a thesis advisor based on both her interests and the interests of the faculty at James Cook.

“I am planning on studying coral reef ecology and marine genomics,” she said. “I am incredibly interested in the ways that we can use scientific tools to understand complete ecosystems, especially coral reefs, from the microbiome to the big picture ecological relationships, as well as how these communities are changing due to anthropogenic climate change.”

Dallmeyer-Drennen was drawn to James Cook University due to not only its robust marine biology program, but also for its optimal location neighboring the Great Barrier Reef.

“I am really excited for the opportunity to learn from and work alongside the world’s leaders in marine science research, as well as major stakeholders in the preservation of aquatic ecosystems,” she said. “I am also looking forward to connecting with other like-minded people who are as passionate about the ocean as I am!”

Her passion for the ocean has been present ever since she arrived at Haverford.

“I came to Haverford intending to pursue graduate school in marine science,” she said. “I did not have a background in biology from high school, and was attracted to biology at Haverford because of the small class sizes and opportunities for undergraduate research experience.”

Eventually, she joined the research lab of Kristen Whalen, assistant professor of biology, whose research seeks to understand the molecular and cellular adaptations marine organisms use to cope with chemical threats in an ecological context. With Whalen as her thesis advisor, Dallmeyer-Drennen researched inter-kingdom bloom dynamics, studying how bacteria signaling molecules affect viral infection in phytoplankton. This research helped to shape her future plans and facilitated her growth as a scientist.

“Even though this research was not in the area I intend to pursue in the future, it was incredibly important for me to gain confidence and see myself as a scientist,” she said. “I learned so many skills beyond just lab work and data analysis in the Whalen lab that will help me in all aspects of my life, such as self confidence, time management, and how much I love science.”

The Whalen lab guided Dallmeyer-Drennen to her current interest: viral infections in the coral microbiome. Her interest was also inspired by classes including “Introduction to Fisheries Science,” Biology Superlab, where she learned about DNA barcoding, and “Environmental Philosophy.”

Dallmeyer-Drennen is interested in continuing her marine science passions after obtaining the master’s degree. She plans to either pursue a Ph.D. or an immediate career in research.

She offered a word of advice to aspiring researchers: be confident when marketing yourself.

“I was nervous applying to graduate schools without a major specifically in the field I would like to pursue, but I have learned so much in my time here and I am more prepared than I initially thought,” she said. “The worst that can happen by putting yourself out there is usually a polite no, or just no response at all, but you only need one connection to pan out! I am excited for the new networking opportunities that graduate school will bring me.”

“Where They’re Headed” is a blog series chronicling the post-collegiate plans of recent Haverford graduates.