Dr. Nicolas Benedict was honored by DU as one of 17 outstanding alumni from various academic units at the annual Masters Program Awards Dinner on Monday, April 4th. The Masters Program is an annual event that recognizes alumni from all academic units who are distinguished professionals in their fields. The Program serves as a way to connect alumni directly with current DU students. Successful alumni professionals are selected by academic units to be “Master Scholars.” The alumni are then invited to participate in lectures or teach courses during a regular day in the academic schedule. Through direct contact with faculty and student groups, alumni can share their expertise and insights on various career fields. The Masters Program also allows students to learn about the different ways a DU education can be applied in the years after college.
Dr. Benedict is an accomplished biologist whose academic areas of expertise include environmental science, conservation genetics and molecular biology. He earned a BA in Environmental Science at DU in 1993, followed by a PhD in Biology in 2001. Much of his original research focused on the development and use of novel molecular tools to address taxonomic and population level uncertainties which were fundamental to developing sound wildlife conservation and management strategies. Many of these necessitated the development of complex research collaborations among multiple federal, state, non-governmental agencies and organizations, as well as within the private sector.
Dr. Benedict has an extensive background in education ranging from the University to Elementary school levels. He is now the President and CEO of eScience Labs, a local company that produces an array of at-home educational lab kits. With a unique blend of hands-on activities and online content, these kits provide interactive, safe and complete experimentation tools for the modern student at the middle school, high school and introductory college level.
While visiting DU as a Master Scholar, Benedict engaged with the current NSM community by hosting a Q&A session with Geography and Biology students and faculty. Additionally, he participated in Dr. Don Sullivan’s Environmental Sustainability Living and Learning Seminar, a course that examines the current threats to biological diversity on regional and global scales, the implications of those threats, and the challenge of slowing rates of species extinction.
During his visit with current DU students, Benedict was able to demonstrate how his education at DU has led to many professional achievements and life experiences. He provided them with a first-hand example of how a NSM education can be applied once the textbooks have been closed.