Patricia Kelley parlayed an interest in dinosaurs at age 7 into a career of studying and teaching about fossils. She received her BA in Geology from the College of Wooster in 1975 and her PhD from Harvard University in 1979. She has taught at New England College, University of Mississippi, University of North Dakota, and University of North Carolina Wilmington and was a program officer at the National Science Foundation. She is a former president of the Paleontological Society and president of the Board of Trustees of the Paleontological Research Institution.
Her research on evolutionary paleoecology of mollusks (not dinosaurs!) earned her awards from UND and UNCW. She received the Association for Women Geoscientists Outstanding Educator Award in 2003, the AWG Professional Excellence Award in 2011, and five awards for teaching excellence from UNCW and the UNC system. In 2014 she received the United States Outstanding Master's Universities and Colleges Professor of the Year award. When not occupied with professional tasks, Tricia enjoys watching Johnny Depp movies, traveling, and spending time with family. Although still professionally active (e.g., as the Paleontological Society’s Distinguished Lecturer on Evolution and Society), she retired from teaching in 2016 for other pursuits – including helping care for granddaughter McKenzie in Virginia and grandson Owen in New Mexico.