Dr. Julia Sheldon P’20, ’23

Dr. Julia Sheldon P'20, '23

Science Faculty



B.S., University of California at San Diego
M.S., Yale University
Ph.D., Yale University

Dr. Julia Sheldon P’20, ’23 began teaching science at Walker’s in 1998. Her childhood fascination with the natural world led her to love science and eventually to pursue a degree in chemistry at the University of California at San Diego. During her time at UCSD, Julia became a certified SCUBA diver and worked in a research lab studying fish physiology at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography. Julia also discovered a passion for teaching through serving as a teaching assistant and mentoring low income, first-generation college students in the Ronald McNair program at UCSD. After college, Julia continued her research and teaching at Yale University, where she earned a Ph.D. in bioorganic chemistry while studying the interactions between DNA and the proteins that begin the cellular process of transcription.

At Walker’s, Julia is passionate about engaging girls in science by encouraging them to observe the environment around them and to explore how science can help them understand and improve their world. A highlight of her career was being named a National Geographic Grosvenor Teacher Fellow, which allowed her to travel on an expedition to the Arctic and develop and teach an interdisciplinary elective course in Arctic Studies at Walker’s. Julia also co-developed and now co-teaches Honors Biochemistry, Walker’s research-based science course that allows girls to search for new antibiotics in response to the worldwide antibiotic resistance crisis. Julia has also held several administrative roles at Walker’s including science department chair and co-dean of faculty, and she currently serves as dean of studies.

What was it about The Ethel Walker School that made you want to work here?

The warmth of the community during my campus visit in 1998.

What was your favorite subject when you were in middle or high school? Why?

It might be surprising to learn that it was English! I took six English courses in high school because I really enjoyed writing and grammar.

What is your favorite part about the subject(s) you teach now?

I enjoy getting students involved with the hands-on aspects of science and love it when they see how they can relate scientific concepts to their daily experiences.

What is your favorite Walker’s tradition?

I enjoy watching the different classes “move up” to their new spots at senior goodbye chapel.

What is your favorite thing to do in your free time?

I love to go bird-watching, and I have seen more than 100 species of birds on our beautiful campus.

What other roles do you hold on campus?

EWS Cum Laude Society Chapter President; Assistant Varsity Swimming Coach; Assistant JV tennis Coach

Please list any awards, fellowships, or distinctions you have earned during your career:
  • National Geographic Society Grosvenor Teacher Fellow
  • Radio Shack National Teacher of the Year