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Alumnae scientists return for Women in Science Panel

Amanda Rumore, professor of biology, moderates the 2022 Science Festival’s Women in Science Panel. Quay Dortch ’70, seated, attended the event in person, while Maddy Carmain ’13 and Scotti Estes’76 did so virtually.

Maddy Carmain ’13, Quay Dortch ’70, and Scotti Estes ’76 discussed their lifelong passion for discovery during the Randolph College Science Festival’s Women in Science Panel on Friday.

Carmain read National Geographic growing up, itching to learn more about nature. Estes was so drawn to it that, at age 7 or 8, she filled her wagon up with frogs from a nearby pond and brought them to her parents’ garage for further study.

Dortch, too, loved exploring the world around her.

“As a girl,” Dortch said, “you didn’t think of yourself as a scientist. I just loved being in the woods and observing things.”

Dorch, Carmain, and Estes have all gone on to excel in their respective fields and are examples of what can be done with a liberal arts degree from the College—what Estes called “a powerful foundation.”

Maddy Carmain ’13
Carmain is a second-year OBGYN resident at Bridgeport Hospital in Bridgeport, Connecticut. She majored in chemistry at Randolph and worked as a laboratory technician for Chemtreat, a company that provides industrial water treatments, before enrolling in medical school. She earned her degree from the University of Virginia in 2019 and went on to complete a preliminary internship in general surgery there.

She spends most of her time doing patient care in Bridgeport, performing surgeries and delivering babies. One of her medical interests is the care of LGBTA patients, which she has been lecturing about to medical students since her third year of medical school. She plans to pursue a fellowship in urogynecology and is working on a research project examining urinary retention in women who have recently delivered.

Quay Dortch ’70
Dortch majored in chemistry at the College and also holds a master’s in chemistry from Indiana University and a Ph.D. in oceanography from the University of Washington. Her work has focused on Harmful Algal Bloom (HAB), hypoxia, and eutrophication in coastal water.

Before retiring, she managed several NOAA programs that provided funding for research on HABs and also briefed Congressional staff and helped develop legislation pertaining to HABs and hypoxia. She also served as a faculty member at the Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium, and a research scientist at Bigelow Laboratory of Ocean Sciences

Dortch is currently a consultant to the NOAA, providing advice on HAB research and response.

Scotti Estes ’76
After considering careers in environmental science and medicine, Estes soon found a new passion: emerging digital technologies.

She worked in a technology research and development lab and then at a software development startup, before starting her own company focused on helping firms with strategy, development, and implementation of new technologies. Her firm had clients all over the world, and she eventually joined one of them, a Swiss bank, running one of their internal businesses. She worked with venture capital firms to discover cutting edge products and companies while also mentoring young women in their careers.

Estes, who retired 11 years ago, is also a co-founder of a not-for-profit focused on design thinking and manufacturing and was invited to the White House to participate in Supply Chain Innovation. She is an advisor to a small fund that provides grants for interdisciplinary science and technology projects, including RM Science with Peter Sheldon.

The panel was held in a hybrid format, with Dortch in person and Carmain and Estes virtual. The event is part of Randolph’s 2022 Science Festival, which continues through the weekend. Find the full list of events at randolphscience.org.

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