Tribute to Margarita


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In August of 2014 Dr. Margarita Metallinou became the newest addition to the laboratories of Dr. Aaron Bauer and Dr. Todd Jackman at Villanova University's Department of Biology. Immediately, she captivated the lab with her energy, ability, and enthusiasm. A natural leader, within weeks of settling in at Villanova University she began to rapidly transform the lab by instituting novel, time and cost-saving protocols. Outside of the lab, she organized lab meetings, sat in on Aaron Bauer’s herpetology lectures and led our class discussions, using her expertise to provide unique insights. At the same time, Margarita’s cheerful demeanor and spirited personality not only drew each of us closer to her as she welcomed us into her life, but it also created a friendly and pleasant working environment unlike any other.

 

 

As the school year continued, she mentored all 11 of the lab’s graduate students by training each of them directly in the lab, and providing individual assistance with their research projects. In addition, she took on the unexpected role of class lecturer for Todd Jackman’s molecular evolution class, providing much needed support for Dr. Jackman during a time when he was experiencing personal health issues. That spring, as many of the first-year students began to prepare their thesis proposal presentations for the department, she spent numerous hours providing constructive critiques, suggestions, and moral support.

Throughout this time, many of us not only came to consider her a close friend, but began to look up to her for support and guidance. She possessed all of the qualities of promising and successful scientist. Hard-working, incredibly responsible, brilliant, helpful, cooperative, and passionate. All of us admired her greatly, and were constantly grateful for her presence in our lives.

As summer approached, Margarita helped each of us prepare for our summer field trips by helping us gather essential supplies, and provided attentive advice despite needing to prepare for her own trip to Zambia, which she had been diligently planning and looking forward to throughout the year. There, she intended to continue her research on the phylogeography of lizards in the genus Trachylepis, and the potential impacts that climate change may have on Zambian reptiles.

 

 

As each of us parted ways, she left us with many encouraging words, wishing us to have safe and successful trips. All of us looked forward to reuniting at the end of the summer, as by this time we had begun to feel more like a family than just merely a research lab, with Margarita acting as the heart and soul of it all.

The lab was suddenly struck by devastating news when on July 2, 2015, while conducting fieldwork near Zambia’s Kafue National Park, Margarita was killed by a charging elephant. Her sudden death has left a painful mark in each of us as we begin to face the harsh reality of her loss. Her death has also touched the entire scientific community who has lost a promising scientist, whose professional career was just beginning to blossom.

As we grieve, we remember her legacy and the myriad ways she touched each of our lives while cherishing the fond moments we spent together, as colleagues and as friends.

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To honor Margarita's legacy, her family has kindly asked for donations to the "Ark of the World" foundation (Ark of the World). This charity cares for children experiencing abandonment, racism, and social exclusion in one of the most underprivledged regions of Athens. Donations can be made by credit card or Paypal by clicking the "donate" button on the following webpage: Ark of the World Donations. Please include Margarita's name as a reference in the "add special instructions" section. All donations are greatly appreciated.

 

Ελληνική έκδοση του παρόντος δικτυακού τόπου