A True Atlantic Academic
Melbourne Schriver and the UNB Chem-Biochem Society on way to ChemCon 1982 at UPEI.
In 1982, Melbourne Schriver was an undergraduate chemistry student travelling from New Brunswick to P.E.I. to attend his first Science Atlantic Chemistry Conference, commonly known as ChemCon.
Fast forward 38 years and Dr. Schriver is professor and department coordinator of chemistry at Crandall University. He continues to attend ChemCon annually with his students in towe, sits as chair of Science Atlantic’s Chemistry Committee and became a Board Member in 2018.
A self-described “true Atlantic-Canadian academic,” Dr. Schriver was “born into a Loyalist family that has farmed in New Brunswick since the American Revolution.” He has a BSc. and PhD from the University of New Brunswick, completed postdoctoral work at Dalhousie University and was a faculty member at St. Mary’s University, Memorial University of Newfoundland and now Crandall University.
“I have always been interested in chemistry,” he shares, “As I learned more about Science I was drawn to chemistry because I found that the other sciences like physics, biology and geology all turned to chemistry to answer the questions that interested me.”
Dr. Schriver always intended to teach, but he envisioned himself in a high school classroom not a university lecture hall. However, when he received a Killam Postdoctoral Fellowship at Dalhousie University he says, “the positive experience… shaped my career aspirations and convinced me that at least the teaching side of academic life was a possibility.”
Having taught at several Atlantic institutions early in his career, Schriver says he quickly learned the importance of membership in organizations like Science Atlantic to enrich academic experience and build community.
“Science Atlantic is a statement by the supporting universities that when we cooperate, collaborate and integrate our programs and facilities we become something greater than our parts”
Two things Dr. Schriver highly prizes about ChemCon is “the fact that the conferences are organized for students by students with support of faculty and society meaning that students can feel comfortable with the quality and communication of their own work. And the fact that student research does not go into to a vacuum but is appreciated by their peers.”
He keenly observes that many undergraduate students often work on a component of a larger study which can be an alienating experience. That being the case, Schriver says student conferences allow “the individual researcher to own their project, develop their own style, present to a sympathetic and
intelligent group of peers and demonstrate how they have contributed to science.”
“The existence of Science Atlantic is a statement by the supporting universities that when we cooperate, collaborate and integrate our programs and facilities we become something greater than our parts,” he says.
For Dr. Schriver, “Science Atlantic is an emergent vision of what cooperation between the universities in our region can and should become in all faculties. The significance of not just having the idea of promoting each other’s instrumentation and facilities but having the vision to follow through with something like AFRED reveals an uncovenanted fruitfulness hoped for but not anticipated when APICS was formed.”
ChemCon 2019 is fast approaching – whether it is your first or your 40th, Dr. Schriver’s story assures that it will be an inspirational and influential experience.
Dr. Schriver, age 12, with his first “hard lobbied for” chemistry set.