About Me


As a kid, I declared myself a member of the environmental club at the high school where my Mom taught science, and subsequently attended every field trip, little lab book in hand. We spent a lot of time trudging around the Chesapeake Bay, which is where I gained my fascination with all things water.

In college, I focused my studies on water quality, which was not hard do in Florida, as water seemed to be everywhere. It was there that I became acquainted with the beautiful Indian River Lagoon, America’s second largest estuary system (everyone loves a fun fact, right?).  After completing my Master’s degree, I took a job based on the key words “Indian River Lagoon”, “boat”, and “50% field work”, which is where I gained my entry to the stormwater world.  Working for a local stormwater utility was the first time I got to see the practical (i.e outside the lab) side of environmental science.  I realized that in this venue, science, policy, and community could not be as neatly separated as they had been in my college courses. I worked closely with our outreach specialist to learn more about the social aspects of stormwater policy and education. Eventually, I was inspired to pursue a PhD as a way to more deeply investigate these relationships; and what better place to study polluted water and communities than New York City, right?

New York City has a combined sewage and stormwater system which is different (and more disgusting) than anything I came in contact with in Florida- Perfect! I decided to take it one step further and use the Gowanus Canal, an active Superfund site in Brooklyn as a case study for my research.  I am working to determine, in a quantitative fashion, how community efforts can aid in mitigating stormwater and sewage contamination to the Canal in addition to existing and future engineering controls. My research interests include stormwater, combined sewage overflows, best management practices, geochemistry, superfund activities, environmental policy, environmental sociology, citizen science, and environmental education.

Read more about my dissertation research project here.


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