Akilah Chatman, she/they and class of 2022, is majoring in Environmental Science. They are a member of the Science Communication Team, focusing on highlighting undergraduate scientists and accessibility of content . Currently on co-op they are expanding their work in the Ward Lab to include urban ecology, specifically how access to and use of green space affects mental and physical health of communities and looking for trends in the data associated with income levels of the communities. Being raised between the United States and Jamaica, Akilah is particularly aware of how access to necessities such as water and electricity aren’t equal around the world. In science, they are inspired to make sure that solutions to problems such as climate change are accessible, equal, and equitable regardless of location or socioeconomic standing. They feel most like a scientist when they are active participants in finding solutions, like when they built a multifaceted, continuous water sensor capable of remote data access for less than $1000. When not in the Ward Lab you can expect that Akilah is traveling, reading, working out, doing something crafty, or trying new recipes.
Abigail Del Grosso
Abigail Del Grosso, she/her and class of 2023, is majoring in Environmental Science. She is a member of the Snakes Genetics Team, doing work with the goal of aiding in the conservation effort for Pine Barren snakes. Abigail is inspired by science’s ability to improve quality of life for people and protect the environment. She feels most like a scientist when in the field, in the lab, or sharing her research with others. Abigail is particularly passionate about conservation, and environmental equity. When not in the Ward Lab she plays bass, draws, and even makes her own patches!
Bryan Eichen, he/him and class of 2023, is majoring in Environmental Science. He is a member of the Shrimp Team where he focuses on shrimp husbandry and tank maintenance, and takes every opportunity he gets to work on future experimental designs. In science, Bryan is inspired by the ability to add to our collective understanding of the world around us, the positive impacts he can make, and the people he gets to meet and work with. When out in the field he feels the most like a scientist. When not in the Ward Lab you can find Bryan thrifting, listening to live and recorded music, or kicking back and relaxing with a good movie or show.
Clayton (Clay) Fosterweber, he/him and class of 2023, is majoring in Environmental Science with a passion for ecology and resource management. He has joined the Ward Lab for co-op where he is looking at ecology and the instalment of greenspaces in urban settings. In science Clay is inspired knowing that nothing is ever certain so we can always test things and work to further explain them. Science is great for those who love to argue but are never totally correct. He feels most like a scientist when he wears lab goggles and remembers the words Adenosine triphosphate. When not in the Ward Lab you can find Clay taking long walks on the Schuylkill, eating chips for every meal, or forcing his cat to love him.
Alexandra (Ally) Heck, she/her and class of 2024, is majoring in Biology. She is a new member of the Snake Genetics Team practicing her PCR and gels. The ability to develop skills on specialized lab equipment makes Ally feel like a scientist. The team looks at snakes from the Pine Barrens and being a native Piney, Ally is particularly interested in the welfare of the wildlife in her community. After losing parts of her backyard due to deforestation and seeing how new roads contribute to the snakes inbreeding depression, she is excited to work to reverse some of that damage. Ally draws her scientific inspiration from the work she has done with bacteriophages through SEA-PHAGES, the work she’s currently doing in the lab, and their many impacts on human health and the welfare of the environment. When not in the Ward Lab Ally spends her free time being an EMT and volunteering on the ambulance at home!
Katarina Hojohn, she/her and class of 2022, is majoring in Environmental Science. She has joined the Ward Lab for co-op where she is working on science communication, spatial data analysis and prepping for other projects in the lab. In science, Katarina is inspired by the way science is constantly evolving leaving a never-ending list of things to discover and explore. She loves learning about the earth, its processes and organisms and how they function and interact with one another. Katarina feels most like a scientist when she is out in the field & can make sure of her scientific skill set. When not in the Ward Lab you can find Katarina painting, hiking, traveling, or doing photography.
Katie Innamorato is an Environmental Science major in her fourth year at Drexel. She recently completed her second co-op as a Research Assistant in the Integrative Ecology Lab at Temple University, where she assisted with projects related to urban ecology. In Dr. Ward’s Lab, she will be studying parasitized shrimp and their response to temperature differences. In her spare time, she enjoys traveling to new places as she just completed a study abroad experience in Edinburgh, Scotland.
Jerrin Jacob, he/him and class of 2022, is majoring in Environmental Science with a minor in Geoscience. He has joined the Ward Lab for co-op where he is doing spatial data analysis, virtual outreach for public education, and literature searches for manuscript preparation on several projects. In science Jerrin is inspired by the large diversity of concentrations, and how people still come together for a common goal. Something Jerrin feels very passionate about is water, and he wants to work towards better quality and more efficient use of this essential resource. He feels most like a scientist when doing meaningful work to better understand a new subject. When not in the Ward Lab you can find Jerrin playing video games, binging shows, or reading.
Serena Joury, she/her and class of 2022, is double majoring in Environmental Science with a minor in Product Design. In the Ward Lab she does grant writing, marine research (she can 3D print coral!), and research on how design is invaluable in making STEM accessible to wider audiences. Serena is from Amman, Jordan and grew up diving in the Red Sea, fueling her interest in the human-driven degradation of coral reefs and marine wildlife. In science, Serena finds inspiration in its potential to thoughtfully inform management, education, and conservation frameworks which impact how humans interact with surrounding ecosystems. She feels most like a scientist when given an opportunity to break down a complex scientific concept to a non-expert through design visualization, products, or services. When not in the Ward Lab or Product Design Lab you’ll find Serena underwater as she’s been free diving all her life and scuba diving since she was thirteen.
Liz Otruba, she/her and class of 2024, is majoring in Environmental Science. She is a member of the biofouling team, stemming from her interest in aquatic ecosystems and the implications of biofouling communities on conservation and biodiversity. A lover of people, animals, and the environment, Liz is inspired by all the ways she can help the things she loves. Recently she was accepted to the STAR program to extend her biofouling research! She feels most like a scientist whenever she does work with real implications that can benefit the world. When not in the Ward Lab Liz is with friends and family, exploring the city, watching movies, reading, and most importantly napping.
Joe Roberston, he/him and class of 2024, is majoring in Environmental Science. He is a member of the Science Communication Team where he writes blogs posts and social media posts to gain writing skills and create a network in a community of scientists. As a Boy Scout, Joe’s memories of camping and hiking inspire him to conserve our environment as it declines in health. He feels most like a scientist when he can make a connection between his work and a greater benefit of the environment and humanity. When not in the Ward Lab, you can find Joe playing the saxophone, reading Stephen King novels, Gundam modeling, collecting vinyl, or camping.
Jules Smith, she/her and class of 2021, is majoring in Environmental Science. She is a part of the Snake Genetics Team stemming from a love of bench work and interest in learning more about genetics. In her last co-cop, Jules oversaw a research project on how to remove PFAS from drinking water. Currently on co-op, Jules is one of two lab members working remotely for the Willistown Conservation Trust doing watershed work. The potential to find out new characteristics about organisms that could help with conservation and/or tell us more about climate change impacts inspires the science that she does. Jules feels most like a scientist when she solves problems; running gels can be tedious work, but the joy when weeks of hard work pays off is unmatched. When not in the Ward Lab you can find Jules playing with the two kittens she and Katie (one of our other lab members) have, doing photography, or working on her CD collection.
Zack Smith, he/him and class of 2022, is majoring in Environmental Science. He is a member of the Biofouling Team, where they aim to analyze succession and carbon sequestration in biofouling communities in Barnegat Bay, New Jersey. Currently on coop, Zack is one of two lab members working remotely for the Willistown Conservation Trust doing watershed work. Incredibly curious by nature, he finds his inspiration in being able to ask questions, think critically, and delve into the science. Zack feels happiest and most at home when working in freshwater ecosystems, regardless of if he’s boating or sampling. When not in the Ward Lab you can find Zack cycling, hiking, testing specialty coffee, listening to music, or working on his green thumb!
Andrew Snedeker, he/him and class of 2021, is majoring in Biomedical Sciences. He has joined the Ward Lab for co-op where he is putting together a nation wide citizen science project on bees to study arthropod diversity across land management gradients. The co-op resonates with Andrew’s interests in biodiversity, evolution, and animal behavior and gives him an opportunity to do some hands-on work. Andrew feels most like a scientist when answering questions about the things he has studied. When not in the Ward Lab you can find Andrew hiking, reading, playing sports or playing video games.
Mikayla Traini, she/her and class of 2024, is majoring in Environmental Science. She is a member of the Biofouling Team, drawing her research inspiration from mollusks’ of making a home on underwater surfaces and their possible overlap. In science, Mikayla is stimulated by the possibility of discovering something new to her on our vast planet which makes sense because she feels the most like a scientist when out in the field learning new methods of research. When not in the Ward Lab Mikayla enjoys painting and singing, she’s even in the University Chorus and Chamber Choir!
Prem Trivedi, he/him and class of 2021, is majoring in Environmental Science and a member of the Shrimp Team. He is particularly interested in how metal content in water may influence both behavioral and metabolic responses in aquatic invertebrates because small drifters form a very important base to trophic systems present in aquatic environments. With a love of water, Prem gravitates to co-ops that focus heavily on water sciences. He finds his inspiration, and feels most like a scientist when striving to better understand the world around him and, with the intention of working in STEM education, share that knowledge. When not in the Ward Lab you’ll find Prem hiking, playing ultimate frisbee, or playing video games.
Naomi Wilson, she/her and class of 2021, is majoring in Environmental Science. She is a member of the Snake Genetics Team who finds the values perfecting the skills of pipetting and running PCR’s and gels. Naomi draws her science inspiration from a lifetime’s worth of memories spent outdoors, and the drastic changes the environment has experienced in that time. Currently on co-op, she is working remotely as a Collections Assistant in the Entomology Department at the Academy of Natural Sciences. Naomi feels most like a scientist whenever she has the opportunity to talk about the amazing work she has done, environmental justice issues, and global warming which will eventually lead her to become an influential environmental advocate, with a focus on policy reform. When not in the Ward Lab you can expect to find Naomi reading, exploring outside, or trying and cooking new foods.
Lexi Wysocki, she/her and class of 2022, is majoring in Environmental Science. She is a member of the Biofouling Team. Currently on co-op, Lexi is studying cultures of marine bivalves species to increase populations and support the fishing industry at Haskin Shellfish research lab at the New Jersey Aquaculture Innovation Center at Rutgers University. She hopes to tie this back into understanding marine influence on different biofouling communities in freshwater, estuarine, and marine sub environments. The great possibility to always learn more about something drives Lexi in science. The environment is complex and increasingly more so with climate change, she aims to be a part of understanding and adapting to our new world. Lexi feels most like a scientist when thinking about interactions within ecosystems, fieldwork, and spitballing ideas with her peers to find unique questions to lead research. When not in the Ward Lab you can find Lexi reading, playing Pokemon Go, with friends, or spoiling her cats.