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School of Environment and Natural Resources


EPN Community Connections Blog - March 2020

EPN Student Spotlights

By Rylie MacDonald

Earlier this month, we switched to an online webinar platform for our March EPN Breakfast program co-hosted with Water Management Association of Ohio, Ohio Water Resources Center and TerrAqua. The webinar program focused on non-regional and regional climate change effects on water resources, as well as how to communicate about changing weather and climate to water resource managers of the School of Environment and Natural Resources. 

Rylie MacDonald, a student in the School of Environment and Natural Resources, who also serves as vice president of TerrAqua, shared with the Environmental Professionals Network, a list of students to highlight from TerrAqua and students studying and interested in water related research and careers.

As student affiliates of the Water Management Association of Ohio, TerrAqua board members assisted in planning the March EPN Breakfast program over the past year. 

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As student affiliates of the Water Management Association of Ohio, TerrAqua board members have assisted in planning the March EPN Breakfast program over the past year. TerrAqua members actively monitor water quality in the greater Columbus area through a Citizen Lake Awareness and Monitoring (C.L.A.M.) program and macroinvertebrate sampling. Additionally, members do site visits to water research-related facilities, and have industry speakers at meetings to discuss working in the field and organization opportunities. Board members include Hannah Comune, Rylie MacDonald, Kelly Luebbering, and Melina Mallory.

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Hannah Comune

Hannah is a third year Environmental Science major, and currently serves as TerrAqua’s president. She has been an active TerrAqua member since her freshman year, and will be introducing Eugene Braig, TerrAqua faculty advisor for the March EPN program. Hannah spent a semester volunteering in Dr. Lauren Pintor’s lab, where she assisted in processing macroinvertebrate samples, and spent a summer as a Marina Attendant for the Stark County Park District. On campus, she is a Student Instructional Assistant for Dr. Joe Campbell’s Community, Environment and Development course as well as Social Media Coordinator for Ecosia, the search engine that plants trees.

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Kelly Luebbering

Kelly is a fourth year Environmental Science major and secretary of TerrAqua. She spent the summer of 2019 working as a Naturalist with the Walking Mountains Science Center in Avon, Colorado. As a naturalist, she led watershed programs, creek-side tours, and restoration programs. After she graduates this spring, she will be joining Walking Mountains again, as an Environmental Stewardship Associate. Through this position, she will be teaching high school students how to do field work, research and restoration. To do so, she will be teaching them how to do various water quality and fish surveys.

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Rylie MacDonald

Rylie, a fourth year Natural Resource Management major and TerrAqua vice president has been highly active in and out of the SENR community for the last four years. For the last three years, she has worked in Dr. Suzanne Gray’s Aquatic Physiological Ecology Lab as an Undergraduate Research Assistant. She recently completed her Research with Distinction project analyzing the effects of water clarity on cichlid fish reproductive behavior, and had the opportunity to share her findings at the Denman Undergraduate Research Forum. Additionally, she has completed three internships during her time at Ohio State. Her first internship was during the summer of 2018, developing and leading a marine science and watershed ecology curriculum at a summer camp through the University of Maine. The following fall, she worked as an Animal Husbandry Intern in the aquarium at the Columbus Zoo. During summer 2019, she worked as a Sea Turtle Intern on Bald Head Island, North Carolina. She was able to tag and monitor nesting sea turtles and their nests, and enjoyed the experience so much she has recently accepted another Sea Turtle Nighttime Tagging position on Sanibel Island in Florida for summer 2020.

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Melina Mallory

Melina is a third year Environmental Science major and TerrAqua treasurer. Melina is currently a Water Sustainability Intern for Ohio State’s Office of Energy Services and Sustainability. Through this position, she assists with identifying and reducing wasteful water practices through water audits and implementing water-reducing infrastructure. Additionally, she spent last summer as an intern for the Reef Check Foundation in her home state of California. In this internship, she assisted with data collection for reef surveys and educated the public during interactive boating excursions.

For more information on how to get involved with TerrAqua or to receive event updates, please send email to Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, TerrAqua club meetings have been canceled for the rest of the Spring semester. 

As a way to stay connected to stay connected to other SENR student and their work related to water, we wanted to highlight a few other outstanding students Paul Acheson, Harrison Fried, Hailey Hayes and Ansley Watkins. 

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Paul Acheson

Paul is a fourth year Honors Environmental Science major, studying the impacts of intraspecific behavior variation in aquatic ecosystems. Originally a biology major, he transferred to SENR for its engaging courses, especially those related to water. He also enjoyed the ease of fostering relationships with faculty in SENR and began research with Dr. Lauren Pintor’s lab. In particular, he was involved in Dr. Pintor's National Science Foundation funded Early-Concept Grants for Exploratory Research (EAGER) project. He concurrently conducted his honors thesis under the larger EAGER project, studying the effects of intraspecific variation of rusty crayfish behavior on nutrient cycling in aquatic environments. Additionally, he was awarded the competitive SEEDS and SENR Small Research grants to fund his study. This spring, he had the opportunity to present his findings at the 2020 Denman Undergraduate Research Forum, where he was listed as a Sustainability Institute finalist for having a project exemplifying the commitment to a sustainable future. He will be presenting his thesis before graduating this spring.

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Harrison Fried

Harrison is a graduate student in the School of Environment and Natural Resources and also completed his undergraduate degree in the same school. Currently, he is a part of the Environmental Social Sciences Program, where his research focuses on collaboration on climate change adaptation in Ohio. Much of this research focuses on water issues that plague the state – including changing warm season and weather patterns that reshape hydrology, water quality, and as a result, human health. He studies the “gaps in collaboration” that occur when two interdependent organizations who both work on the same environmental issue fail to collaborate with each other. In other words, he studies how environmental stakeholders confront an increasingly complex world – a world with hundreds of implicated stakeholders and uncertain ecological changes. During his undergraduate program, Harrison spent a summer at Stone Laboratory as an REU student with Dr. Suzanne Gray, where he studied the effects of algal blooms on the ability of fish to swim. While this line of aquatic science research is strikingly different from the social science research he does today, he utilizes much of his natural science background to inform his current studies of interconnected social and ecological systems.

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Hailey Hayes

Hailey Hayes is a fourth-year graduating senior studying Environmental Science and specializing in Water Science. She is a Fellow of Food and Water Watch's Take Back the Tap Campaign, aiming to end the privatization of water and ban the sale of plastic water bottles and is the President of both the SENR Student Leadership Board Peer Mentors and Students for Recycling. Over the summer she volunteered with the Cornell Co-Operative Extension of Suffolk County near her hometown on Long Island and assisted with the Unified Water Study (UWS). The UWS is a water quality monitoring study to collect data on the health of Patchogue Bay and measure human impacts on the water quality. She measured dissolved oxygen, chlorophyll a, temperature, salinity, macrophytes, water clarity, and algal concentrations. Her passion for water science stems from her belief that everyone should have access to clean water. There have been some concerning water quality issues affecting Long Island and the surrounding ocean that she feels are an issue to human health, especially long-term exposure due to drinking water. Hailey will be taking a gap-year in Hawaii before she plans on working at a water treatment facility or an environmental consulting company focusing on water quality issues.

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Ansley Watkins

Last summer, Ansley interned with Mosaics in Science in partnership with The National Park Service. The summer before that, she worked at the Wetlands Research Park as part of STRIVE Lab with Dr. Mažeika Sullivan. As far as her career goes, she would like to work in an area that blends conservation and education— especially in work outside of the United States. She is considering joining the Peace Corps directly after graduation or completing a short fellowship before starting graduate school.

Her work at STRIVE focused on harmful algal blooms (HABs) and gathering information for aid in creation of a HAB mapping tool. So, that summer, she worked in the lab and in the field collecting data and processing samples. She also worked with the summer LSAMP Bridge Program as Mažeika’s assistant. Last summer (2019), she worked along Lake Michigan, where her main role was to create maps showing the historic range of bee species native to the Great Lakes Region.