Dr. Gabriela Chavarria joins the Burke Museum as its new Executive Director

The oldest of five children, Dr. Chavarria grew up in Mexico City and developed a passion for nature and science at an early age, especially for bees. She received her bachelor’s degree in biology from the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), and her master’s and Ph.D. in organismic and evolutionary biology from Harvard University, where she studied under two-time Pulitzer Prize recipient Edward O. Wilson. She has devoted her career to the conservation of native pollinators—especially bumble bees. 

Another species that brought Dr. Chavarria into the conservation world was the black-footed ferret, during her work with the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation. She oversaw the building of a breeding facility for the black-footed ferret in collaboration with experts, including Defenders of Wildlife. To date, hundreds of ferrets have passed through the facility on their way to the wild. 

Dr. Chavarria also serves on several boards and advisory councils, including the American Institute of Biological Sciences, the National Parks Conservation Association, Defenders of Wildlife, The Nature Conservancy of Colorado, and the Doris Duke Conservation Scholars at the University of California, Santa Cruz. In addition, Dr. Chavarria was recently named a 2021 American Association for the Advancement of Science Fellow for her work in research administration, the intersection of science and policy, and science advocacy. 

Looking ahead to the future of the Burke Museum, Dr. Chavarria is prioritizing expanding the museum’s Inside-Out approach and outreach to the community by: Digitizing collections so anyone can access and learn from them across the globe; working with the public outside the museum’s walls; and bringing more people into the Burke’s visible workrooms and labs. “In a world where we’re trying to be more inclusive and diverse, more equitable, the Burke has much room to grow, incorporating new ideas and thoughts,” Dr. Chavarria said. “As we all emerge from the pandemic, I look forward to all of us reconnecting after the two years we’ve been at home and have the Burke be a safe place for the community to gather to learn, spend time with our families, experiment, test new concepts, and more.”

Article Source: Burke Museum