Brown Environmental Leadership Lab: Rhode Island Faculty
Lauren Watka graduated from Brown University with a Master's in Environmental Studies in 2012 and continues to explore the natural, and specifically marine, world at every opportunity. She received a B.S. in biology and has conducted research at Brown University, the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, and Dartmouth College in subjects from micro- and molecular biology to ecology. In addition to research, Lauren has worked as a fisheries scientist on a few New Bedford commercial fishing boats and as an educator with the New England Aquarium in Boston. Now back at Brown, as the Assistant Director of Experiential Learning, she enjoys the opportunity to learn alongside seasoned environmental education veterans and students new to the field. As a Providence resident, Lauren supports local food and fishery initiatives, bikes as a means of transportation, and serves with her church in the city.
Kimberly McCabe is currently a high school science teacher at Beaver Country Day School in Chestnut Hill, Ma, where she teaches foundational biology, aquaponics, anatomy and physiology, and environmental science. She holds a B.S. in biological sciences from Connecticut College and a Masters in Ecological Teaching and Learning from Lesley University. After college, she taught the marine science curriculum for a high school semester at sea program where she used hands-on exploration of coastal and pelagic marine ecosystems to teach students about ecology, climate change, and sustainability. In 2012, she participated as a volunteer researcher on a plastic research expedition to the "Giant Pacific Garbage Patch", and continues to educate people about the impacts of plastic on the ocean as a teacher, blogger, and public speaker. She also worked for the Visitor Education Department at the New England Aquarium from from 2012 to 2014, focusing on teaching volunteers how to effectively communicate scientific concepts and conservation messages to the public. An avid SCUBA diver, ocean-lover, and fish-impersonator, she also leads marine science and conservation trips for National Geographic Student Expeditions in the summer to locations including Monterey Bay, Belize, and most recently Bali. This will be her second year teaching for BELL. In her downtime in her current hometown of Pembroke, Ma, you will find her spending quality time with her dog, growing vegetables, and making ceramics.
Alexandra Lacy holds a B.S. in Environmental Science from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. In the six years since graduation her experiences have revolved around environmental sustainability and community outreach. As a Research Assistant, she studied the historical political struggles and environmental outcomes of power and flood control on the Connecticut River Valley. She spent three years teaching wildlife biology to willing students at North Star: Center for Self-Directed Teens. Last year, she volunteered at Blue World Institute in Veli Lošinj, Croatia, researching a resident population of bottlenose dolphins and educating tourists about sustainable marine practices. When she is home, she volunteers with Salem Sound Coastwatch quantifying marine invasive species and helping with public school outings to conservation areas. She has organized trash pick-up charity events in her town, engaging unlikely ages groups in environmental responsibility and increasing waste management awareness. Recently, her focus has shifted to organic agricultural practices both locally through the Farm-Based Education Network and abroad via her membership with World Wide Opportunities for Organic Farming, or WWOOF. She is currently learning about organic farming through action and employing alternative energy techniques in family households. Activities that bring her the most joy include bicycling, singing, and travel.
Erik Donofrio recently finished his M.S. from the Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources at the University of Georgia. While there he looked at the relationships between foraging success, optimal microhabitat selection, and water velocity in juvenile Chinook Salmon. Erik holds a B.S. in Environmental Science from Lynchburg College in Virginia, where he double majored in Environmental Science and Environmental Studies. He had the amazing opportunity to work with students as a Resident Assistant for 4 years as an undergraduate and as a Teaching Assistant for 3 years as a graduate student. In his time as a Teaching Assistant, he helped run the lab section of the Ecology class for the Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources. In between degrees, he worked for The Nature Conservancy on the Massachusetts Chapter’s Fire Management Team, where he assisted with the management of fire-adapted communities using prescribed fire and mechanical treatments. He has also worked with the Rocky Mountain Field Institute, where he helped create sustainable trails to two 14,000-foot summits in the Sangre de Cristo Mountain Range in Colorado. Originally from South Windsor, Connecticut, he now resides in Athens, Georgia where his hobbies include playing and watching sports, reading, birding, cooking, eating good food, and exploring the great city of Athens.