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Speakers

Dr. Alonso Aguirre

DR. ALONSO AGUIRRE

Associate Professor, George Mason University

Dr. Alonso Aguirre heads a program of collaborative research that focuses on the ecology of wildlife disease and the links to human health and conservation of biodiversity.  His research has been instrumental in revealing the impact of emerging diseases of marine wildlife populations. Dr. Aguirre’s international experience brings applied solutions to ecological health issues accomplished through trans-disciplinary teams, innovative research, scientific excellence, and long-term monitoring of sentinel species. Dr. Aguirre served as the Executive Director of the Smithsonian-Mason School of Conservation and Director of the Mason Center for Conservation Studies.

He has authored three books, published over 160 professional papers, monographs and scientific reports, and advised government agency and NGO leaders of several countries in the Americas, Southeast Asia and Western Europe. He currently serves as co-editor of EcoHealth, Journal of Wildlife Diseases and European Journal of Wildlife Research.

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Speakers

Dr. Jennifer Salerno

DR. JENNIFER SALERNO

Assistant Professor, Environmental Microbiology, Marine Biology, Coral Reef Ecology, George Mason University

Dr. Salerno is a marine biologist and microbial ecologist working at the intersection of science and policy.  Dr. Salerno’s research interests focus on symbiotic and free-living microorganisms and the role that they play in maintaining and destabilizing organism health and ecosystem function. Recognizing the important link between human health and ecosystem health, this research is approached through the lens of seeking to advance basic science, while also developing environmental monitoring tools, practical applications, and policy guidance for environmental resource management and conservation. The Salerno Laboratory is currently working on projects pertaining to coral and fish disease, interactions between microbes and microplastics, and microbes as biological indicators of aquatic health.
Dr. Salerno also engages in science communication and interdisciplinary work at the intersection of science, policy, and diplomacy. She previously worked on coastal and ocean issues in the U.S. House of Representatives as a NOAA Sea Grant Knauss Fellow and served as an American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Science and Technology Policy Fellow at the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs, Office of Economic Policy. In this capacity she advised and coordinated U.S. policy on science and technology, energy, and oceans issues across U.S. federal agencies and in the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC).

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Advance Team Staff

Nathaniel Aponte

NATHANIEL APONTE

Advance Team Member

Nathaniel Aponte is a rising sophomore at Christopher Newport University.  He plans to study Marketing and Graphic Design. Nathaniel enjoys spending time with friends, taking photos, and visiting D.C.’s restaurants and museums. He’s excited to work on the Advance Team and to meet all of the team members.

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Faculty Advisor Staff

Julie Walker

JULIE WALKER

Faculty Advisor

Julie Walker completed her PhD in Interdisciplinary Ecology from the University of Florida in 2021.  Her research focuses on the ecological influence of climate mitigated range expansion of tropical mangrove trees into coastal wetlands traditionally dominated by temperature saltmarshes, as well as investigating the potential for advancement of coastal wetland management on all geopolitical scales. Prior to her graduate studies Julie worked at the Chesapeake Bay Program, where she was a part of the Stewardship goal team aimed at increasing science literacy, public access, and land protection across the bay watershed. Currently, Julie is working as Visiting Assistant Professor at her undergraduate alma mater St. Mary’s College of Maryland, where she teaches in the Biology and Environmental Studies Departments. In her spare time, Julie likes explore nature through kayaking, bike riding, or just walking her dog.

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Junior Faculty Advisor

Taylor Rutter

TAYLOR RUTTER

Taylor Rutter is a 2022 graduate from George Mason University’s Honors College, where she earned a Bachelor of Science in Criminology, Law, and Society with a concentration in Homeland Security and Justice and plans to start the academy for her local police department in the fall.  While her degree and future career may not be environmentally focused, her passion for bettering the environment and teaching others how to be better environmental stewards, which started as a child, is still strong. Taylor has volunteered with the North Carolina Coastal Federation for several years, where she assisted educators in teaching youth during summer camps how to protect their local waterways and identify native species; she also helped build living shorelines and oyster reefs to restore coastline ecosystems. Taylor first attended WYSE as a North Carolina Delegate during the summer of 2017 and returned as an Intern the following summer of 2018. While Covid-19 prevented her from becoming a JFA earlier during her time in college, she is beyond excited to return to WYSE once again to help share her passion for the environment!

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Faculty Advisor Staff

Abigail Loughlin

ABIGAIL LOUGHLIN

Faculty Advisor

Abigail Loughlin is ecstatic to be joining WYSE for her fourth summer!  She attended the program as a high school student, a Junior Faculty advisor, and is thrilled to be working as a Faculty Advisor for the second time. Abigail is an alum of George Mason University, and is currently completing her Master’s Degree in Climate Change and Anthropogenic Roles at Columbia University. When she is not in the classroom learning, she can be found teaching fellow graduate students, engaging with elementary students on sustainability topics, or reading in a nearby park. Abigail can not wait to rejoin the WYSE team in-person this year, as well as learn from fellow advisors and incoming students!

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Junior Faculty Advisor

Elizabeth Allen

ELIZABETH ALLEN

Elizabeth Allen (WYSE 2018) is a junior Biology Major at Roger Williams University with a minor in  Educational Studies. She is originally from Watertown, Massachusetts and currently resides in Bristol, Rhode Island. While at Roger Williams, she has assumed the position of Treasurer of the Beta Beta Beta Biological Honors Society for the 2022-2023 academic year. She is part of the Marine Science Club and All Paws In Club on the RWU campus. She volunteers at the National Marine Life Center as a member of their Animal Care Team working in seal and turtle husbandry, rehabilitation, and release. Elizabeth is still in contact with connections she made during her time at the WYSE program in 2018 and cannot wait to return as a Junior Faculty Advisor!

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Faculty Advisor Staff

Thomas Lippincott

THOMAS LIPPINCOTT

Faculty Advisor

Born and raised in Fairfax VA, Thomas Lippincott is a George Mason Alumni. There he received his B.S. in Environmental Science.  While there Thomas was involved with Student Government, Greek Life, and was an Orientation Leader. After graduating, Thomas went on to work for the University of Chicago Marine Biological Laboratory as a lab assistant before moving to Baltimore where he is now a middle school science teacher. His hobbies include going to the movies, rock climbing, and volleyball.

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Junior Faculty Advisor

MacKenzie Mullis

MACKENZIE MULLIS

MacKenzie is a rising junior at University of North Carolina Wilmington pursuing a degree in marine biology with a minor in theatre.  Her passion for animals and the environment started young as her favorite shows to watch as a kid were animal planet documentaries, and she would love to use her degree to help with ocean conservation. She also has a passion for sharks and would love to work with them one day. In her free time, she enjoys watching and being involved in theatre, baking, and watching Marvel movies. MacKenzie attended WYSE in 2019 and is so excited to be coming back as a JFA. She can’t wait help make WYSE 2022 an amazing experience for the delegates this year.

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Advance Team Staff

Lukas Baines

LUKAS BAINES

Advance Team Member

Lukas Baines will be joining the advance team for 2022 and is looking forward to meeting and working with everyone.  He is a sophomore at GMU and is double majoring in electrical and mechanical engineering. He interned at Lockheed Martin and participated in Washington Workshops Congressional Seminar. He spends his free time reading or playing with his dog and currently works at REI’s bike shop but looks for every chance to get outdoors.