Melinda Pettigrew ’92

Anne Stein ’84

A popular professor, researcher, and administrator at Yale University, Melinda Pettigrew ’92 says much of her focus was influenced by her time at Grinnell.

“I really loved Grinnell,” she says. “The teaching was excellent and … along with the importance of service, [those] are two things I’ve carried with me. I felt that Grinnell students were there because they were interested in learning. I try to instill that in my students. I want to see what gets them excited and not look at education as a commodity and being all about grades.”

Besides teaching and administration, Pettigrew is a molecular epidemiologist. “We look at who gets sick, when, and where,” she says. “We use genome sequencing to identify and track specific strains of bacteria, and we use that information to identify sources of infection and outbreaks. These data help us determine the best methods of prevention and control.”

Pettigrew has also been chair of the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee at Yale School of Public Health, working on fair and equitable promotion, appointment, and hiring practices. On July 1, Pettigrew took over as interim dean of the public health school. She’s embracing it as another opportunity to try things.

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