REU 2013 group shot

NameSchoolResearch InterestMentors
Kristen Balschunate State University of New York at Geneseo Hydrology Joshua Galster
Kristen Balschunat on a dock on a lake I am a curiosity-driven Geography major and Environmental Studies minor at SUNY Geneseo trying to understand the awe-inspiring complexity of the natural world around me. I am fascinated by the physical and cultural landscapes of the world, so I am enthusiastic about the opportunity to immerse myself in the landscape of NJ through the lens of hydrology. I am from Queensbury, NY in the foothills of the Adirondack Mountains. I am passionate about sustainability, and am interested in local food systems and permaculture design. I want to engage in applied research that bridges the gap between science, policy and culture to help people pursue a more sustainable future. I am also interested in biogeography, geology and using GIS to creatively illustrate data and solve problems. I enjoy hiking, kayaking, playing guitar, gardening and writing poetry. I appreciate the interdisciplinary nature of this REU, which will allow me to gain a holistic view of ecosystem dynamics.
Masha Guzner Montclair State University Hydrology Joshua Galster
Masha Guzner headshot Hello! I was born in Moscow, raised in Brooklyn and now live in a small New Jersey town called Verona. Wherever I find myself, I spend every free minute exploring outside. Currently I study geology at Montclair State University. I love that my classes foster my appreciation and respect for my surroundings, and that my work often takes me into the field with my hiking boots and backpack. I am interested in freshwater resource protection and sustainment and have spent some time researching an invasive plant species' water use in the state. The things I enjoy most are traveling, drawing, reading, watching lightning and spending time with my friends.
Matt McNicholas Bergen Community College Hydrology Joshua Galster
Matt McNicholas sitting on a rock in front of a field

Hello, my name is Matt McNicholas. I am currently a sophomore at Bergen Community College with only three classes left until I can finally move on from there with my associate degree in Biology. My plan following commencement from Bergen C.C. is to be enrolled at Montclair State University. I am mainly interested in entering the Energy Sustainability program which I know is going to be a new major up there. There is such a bright future in that field and I would be more than happy to be a part of that because I feel that is the direction our society and the world needs to go as far as resources and other such things of that nature are concerned. Aside from my career choices I would really like to make Montclair’s ice hockey team during my time there. Playing college hockey has been a goal of mine for the past few years so for the work I have put in to pay off would be really great. Thank you and I am really looking forward to this already awesome experience at the SOC this summer.

Benjamin Muller County College of Morris Hydrology Joshua Galster
Ben Muller on a boat in a lake Currently I am studying Environmental Chemistry at The County College of Morris. For the last four years I’ve taken part in re-introducing native plant life in several watershed restoration projects and on my free time I have a relentless urge to design alternative energy sources (i.e. – magnetic generators, organic oil fuel sources). That all being said let me begin by saying that if I could define myself in one word it would be curious. I find myself not only drawn to environmental science but several other branches of science. Although I enjoy listening to lectures in the classroom I find that combining such interesting theory with the experimental field brings me incredible excitement. This REU venture is an opportunity to experience a personal dream of mine: application. My objective (post REU) is to attend and present my data to several hydrology conferences and begin publishing my data.
Liana Agrios Lafayette College Erosion & Sedimentation Gregory Pope
Liana Agrios holding a bowl of food up to the camera Góðan daginn! (“Good day” in Icelandic). I come from a small town in Central New Jersey (no New Jersey jokes). I am a rising senior at Lafayette College in Easton, Pennsylvania and am double majoring in Geology and Eating with a minor in Environmental Science. You can usually find me cooking, visiting some sweet outcrops in Pennsylvania, looking at hiking boots online, running, or spending time in the outdoors. The outdoors is a place that holds countless meanings for me: adventure, curiosity, peace, knowledge and wanderlust. My love for nature was first fostered in the bugs and mud of my backyard and continues to be fueled through my study of geology as well as my experiences. I went from spending many weekends watching National Geographic and Discovery Channel as a child to getting really excited by my favorite area of geology, sedimentology! (I know you all were dying to know).

Through last summer’s experience interning with Geocorps as an interpretive ranger at Glacier National Park to studying abroad in Iceland last semester, I’ve become certain on three passions of mine: geology, the environment and people. I am extremely excited to be a part of the 2013 REU because it focuses on geology with an environmental flair. It is geology with a purpose! My hopes for this summer are to be involved with research that will further develop my passion for sedimentology and reveal possible career or graduate school paths. Lastly, the community between the students and faculty as well as the opportunity to get to know myself even better is definitely something I look forward to. I can’t wait to nerd out with fellow geeks about the environment, create lasting friendships and have a memorable summer.

Miguel Torres University of Puerto Rico at Mayaguez Erosion & Sedimentation Gregory Pope
Miguel Torres in the woods My name is Miguel and I’m from Puerto Rico. At the moment, I’m pursuing a geology degree at the University of Puerto Rico at Mayaguez. I’ve always been passionate about nature and I hope that the REU program will help me learn more about environmental science and the ways I can focus my future studies in that direction.
Salvatore Zerbo III Montclair State University Erosion & Sedimentation Gregory Pope
Salvatore Zerbo in the woods in front of trees Hello, my name is Salvatore Zerbo III, and I'm a senior at MSU majoring in Geography. I'm very interested in Earth and Environmental Sciences, and the interaction between humans and Earth systems; geography by nature is multidisciplinary and this is what drew me to the field. I'm really excited to have an opportunity to participate in REU, and to have a chance to work hands-on and see the practical applications of what we learn in the classroom. I plan to use this research experience as a stepping stone to a master's program, where I can further expand my knowledge. In my free time, I enjoy outdoor activities such as hiking, camping, and playing disc golf.
Jewel Lipps Southern Methodist University Biodiversity/Ecology Meiyin Wu
Jewel Lipps hiking on a trail with a scenic mountain background A southwestern girl, I grew up in Farmington, New Mexico and College Station, Texas. I am studying Environmental Science and Chemistry at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas. All through my life I have loved being outside and exploring wildernesses both small and large, so it followed naturally that I want to spend my career taking care of the environment. I especially love plants! Gardening, tree identification, and leaf pressing are my favorite hobbies.
Myla Ramirez Montclair State University Biodiversity/Ecology Meiyin Wu
Myla Ramirez in a green house sitting by a plant I am a rising senior at Montclair State University with a molecular biology major and triple minor in chemistry, public health, and leadership development through civic engagement. My interest is in microbiology and I am excited to incorporate my love of the outdoors with my academic interest. Through this REU, I hope to learn more about environmental microbiology and its transmission through various water systems.
Paul Tomasula Sussex County Community College Biodiversity/Ecology Meiyin Wu
Paul Tomasula in the lab I am currently a Bioenvironmental Engineering student at Rutgers University. The small town of Newton New Jersey is my home. I went to Kittatinny Regional High School. After high school I attended Sussex County Community College for Engineering. Some of my hobbies include hiking, camping, bike riding, mathematics, computers, and electronic tinkering. After college I plan to follow my passion in life and work full time in the environmental field.


NameSchoolResearch InterestMentors
Mary Birrere County College of Morris Hydrology Joshua Galster
Steven Espinosa University of Texas as El Paso Hydrology Joshua Galster
Aaron Giuffre Bergen Community College Water Chemistry Huan Feng
David Mason The Richard Stockton College of New Jersey Biodiversity/Ecology Meiyin Wu
Lindsey Mirrer Montclair State University Water Chemistry Huan Feng
Kelly Palmer Montclair State University Hydrology Joshua Galster
Erica Parker Towson University Biodiversity/Ecology Meiyin Wu
Norman Pelak University of Alabama Water Chemistry Huan Feng
Lizzie Starks Jackson State University Erosion & Sedimentation Gregory Pope
Anthony Torres Bergen Community College Erosion & Sedimentation Gregory Pope


NameSchoolResearch InterestsMentors
Diana Flores Montclair State University  Hydrology Barrett, Galster & Ophori
Amber Lutey Lehigh University  Hydrology Barrett, Galster & Ophori
Jaime Jordan University of California - Riverside  Hydrology Barrett, Galster & Ophori
Kiara Jones Saint Augustine's College Erosion & Sedimentation Feng, Galster & Pope
Marco Finocchiaro Montclair State University Biodiversity/Ecology Bologna & Wu
Elena Noonan William Paterson University Erosion & Sedimentation Feng, Galster & Pope
Scott Evans State University of New York at Geneseo Biodiversity/Ecology Bologna & Wu
Cade Weston Taylor University Environmental Chemistry Barrett & Sakar& Olsen
Jennifer Cocciardi New York University Biodiversity/Ecology Bologna & Wu
Sara Kelly California State University, Monterey Bay  Hydrology Barrett, Galster & Ophori