Martinsville museum chooses Roanoke College professor for research honor

SALEM, Va.-Dr. DorothyBelle Poli, a Roanoke College biology professor, was chosen this spring as one of 40 research associates at the Virginia Museum of Natural History in Martinsville.

Research associates are nominated by the museum's curators and chosen by its board of trustees for initial five-year appointments. Associates have free access to the museum to study subjects of their own interest.

Poli, a professor at Roanoke College for five years, has worked for much of the past year on projects in the museum's botanical collection. She visits the museum often, most recently to research the effects of fire on the plant, Lycopodium. She has other projects in the works, including fossil plants-related research with Dr. Alton Dooley, an associate curator of paleontology at the museum.

For its associates, the museum seeks "someone who will be contributing a great deal to studying and understanding the museum collections," said Dooley, who nominated Poli for the research associate honor. "Dr. Poli is highly active and energetic."

Poli joins other museum research associates from such institutions as Harvard University, New York College of Osteopathic Medicine and Colorado State University.

Poli said she uses her work at the museum as a teaching opportunity. Some Roanoke College students have helped Poli with research, and Dooley has visited campus to work with the professor and her students.

"The museum is very good for Roanoke College students," Poli said. "Everything that I do comes back to Roanoke academically."

Roanoke College, a classic liberal arts college in Salem, Virginia, combines firsthand learning with valuable personal connections in a beautiful, undergraduate setting. Roanoke is one of just seven percent of colleges nationwide with a chapter of Phi Beta Kappa, the nation's oldest and most prestigious honor society. The Princeton Review lists Roanoke as one of the "Best 376 Colleges" in its 2012 guidebook, which includes the top nine percent of colleges, and U.S. News & World Report ranks Roanoke the number seven "Up-and-coming National Liberal Arts College."

Released: August 9, 2011
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