Inspired and encouraged by her high school science teachers and college professors, Diane Marie Dudzinski, PhD, excelled in her advanced placement classes during her high school years and began her postsecondary studies at Villa Maria College, now part of Gannon University, where she earned a Bachelor of Science in 1968. Going on to join Fordham University in New York City, she worked as a lab assistant from 1969 to 1972 and a teaching fellow from 1972 to 1974 while she worked toward a Master of Science and Doctor of Philosophy, which she obtained in 1970 and 1974, respectively. During this time, she also worked as an instructor at Ladycliff College from 1970 to 1971 and at Pace University from 1972 to 1973. Furthermore, she became certified as a secondary school teacher in Pennsylvania and New York and as a power boat pilot.
Holding considerable expertise in ecology, marine biology, environmental science and microbiology, Dr. Dudzinski was first hired by Manhattan College as an instructor in 1973 and rose to the role of assistant professor of biology from 1975 to 1978. She subsequently served as an associate professor at the College of Santa Fe in New Mexico from 1978 to 1981 and a full professor of biology from 1981 to 1986, during which time she also held the position of chair of the department of science and mathematics from 1982 to 1985. Over the course of her tenure with the College of Sante Fe, she additionally dedicated her time to environmental consulting, working with Environmental-Medical Laboratories in Louisiana from 1979 to 1980 and Controls for Environmental Pollution in Santa Fe from 1979 to 1981.
From 1986 to 1991, Dr. Dudzinski was a professor of biology at Mercyhurst College, a position she went on to hold at Washington State Community College from 1991 until her retirement in 2012. She remains active as a donor for the Washington State Community College scholarship fund to support native Appalachian students, and has notably supported the fund since its inception. Previously, she spent 1995 to 2013 as a member of the Zonta Club of Marietta in Ohio, which provides scholarships and other financial aid for students. A regular contributor of articles to professional journals, Dr. Dudzinski has also been active with a variety of professional organizations in her field, including the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Society of Microbiology and the Pennsylvania Academy of Science.
With the American Institute of Biological Science, Dr. Dudzinski served as a student chapter moderator for Manhattan College from 1975 to 1978 and was the audiovisual director for the fifth international congress of the American Society of Protozoology in 1977. In the 1980s, she was very active with the New Mexico Network for Women in Science and Engineering, acting as the treasurer on three occasions between 1981 and 1986 and sitting on the board of directors from 1985 to 1987. She also holds membership in TriBeta, a national biological honor society; Sigma Xi, The Scientific Research Honor Society; and the Gannon University Heritage Society.
Among all her accomplishments, Dr. Dudzinski cites her career highlight as the time she was named the first woman participant of the joint U.S.-USSR Bering Sea Expedition. She is also incredibly proud to have achieved a fellowship from the National Science Engineering Educators Association, which allowed her to work at the NASA Ames Research Center, in conjunction with Stanford University, during the summers of 1982 to 1984. Her duties involved working on the closed environment life support systems for the space station and the prevention of microbial contamination.
Dr. Dudzinski was the recipient of a number of National Science Foundation grants throughout the mid-late 1970s and also received a grant from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in 1977. From 1980 to 1981, she was a grantee of the National Institutes of Health and later was awarded an education grant from the Eisenhower Foundation. For her many contributions to the field of science, Dr. Dudzinski was presented with the Distinguished Alumni Award for career achievement from Villa Maria College in 1986 and the 50 Year Award from Gannon University in 2019.