Dr. Emily Goldstein Murphy to Join the Maria Mitchell Association

NEWS July 5, 2016 Contact: Lauren Berlin

508-228-9198 or lberlin@mariamitchell.org

 Emily Goldstein

Dr. Emily Goldstein Murphy to Join the Maria Mitchell Association as

New Director of Natural Science



Nantucket, MA – Emily Goldstein Murphy, Ph.D. has accepted the position of Director of Natural Science at the Nantucket Maria Mitchell Association (MMA) replacing outgoing Director, Andrew McKenna-Foster.  Goldstein Murphy will begin her work at MMA in mid-August 2016, overlapping with McKenna-Foster for a month and a half until his departure this fall.


Goldstein Murphy received her Ph.D. in Ecology from the University College Cork, in Cork, Ireland in 2014.  Her undergraduate degree is from Mount Holyoke College (B.A., Magna Cum Laude) in Biological Science with a minor in Mathematics.  Emily also holds a Master’s Degree in Ecosystem Conservation and Landscape Management. Emily’s doctoral research was titled “Ecology of frontier populations of the invasive grey squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis) in Ireland.”


Currently, Dr. Goldstein Murphy is completing her postdoctoral research at the University of Arizona where she is performing sophisticated population modeling analysis on data collected during a long-term demographic study on an isolated endangered species population of red squirrels.  Prior to this work, she was the manager of the Aquaculture and Fisheries Development Center in Cork, Ireland and worked extensively on an outreach program to bring the experience of studying zoology, ecology, plant science, and geology at the university level to fifteen to sixteen-year-old science students.


David Gagnon, MMA’s Executive Director stated, “I had the pleasure to meet with Dr. Goldstein Murphy almost two weeks ago while she was here during a two-day visit.  Staff, as well as Malcolm McNab, MMA’s Science Committee Chair, also had the opportunity to spend time with her during her visit.  It is safe to say that we were all impressed with her science acumen, as well as enthusiasm for science research and education, Nantucket, and the Maria Mitchell Association.”


Dr. Goldstein Murphy plans to continue many of the long-term research projects currently underway at MMA and is excited to incorporate her experience with citizen science projects and ecology.  She is particularly excited to continue work on her grey squirrel research and is particularly interested in the grey squirrels of Nantucket, a relatively new and introduced mammal.  The MMA is looking forward to her arrival and plans are underway to invite members and the public to a reception in her honor.


The Maria Mitchell Association is named after America’s first female astronomer, Maria Mitchell.  She is known for discovering a comet over Nantucket in October 1847.  She went on to become the first professor at Vassar College. The Maria Mitchell Association was founded in 1902 to preserve her legacy of scientific achievement and to carry on her passion for hands-on learning. Today, the Maria Mitchell Association operates two observatories (Loines and the Maria Mitchell Observatory), as well as the MMA Aquarium, the Natural Science Museum, and the birthplace of Maria Mitchell.  More information about the Maria Mitchell Association can be found at www.mariamitchell.org.