Co-Founder and Director, Project Dragonfly/Earth Expeditions
Chris Myers received his Ph.D. in ecology from Vanderbilt University and is now a professor of Zoology and Interdisciplinary Studies at Miami University. His research areas include community-based conservation, participatory science, and national education reform. Chris is the founding Director of Project Dragonfly and served as Editor-in-Chief of Dragonfly magazine--the first national magazine to feature the investigations of children. Project Dragonfly has reached millions of children through award-winning print media, teacher programs, and the Emmy-Award winning national PBS children’s television series, DragonflyTV. He has written more than 60 professional articles and has directed projects funded by the National Science Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Organization for Tropical Studies, and other agencies. Chris directs Earth Expeditions and the Global Field Program, served as a Fulbright Scholar in Thailand, and taught environmental education at Yale University.
Co-Founder and Co-Director, Project Dragonfly
Lynne Myers received her B. Phil. from the School of Interdisciplinary Studies at Miami University. As a founder and co-Director of Project Dragonfly, she oversees national exhibits, participatory media, and learning programs. She served as the founding editor for Dragonfly magazine and now leads the development of national exhibits for Wild Research and Saving Species. These two NSF-funded projects are designed to engage millions of families at zoos, aquariums, and other public learning institutions throughout the U.S. Lynne also writes fiction and nonfiction books for children with her husband, Chris, including McCrephy's Field (Houghton Mifflin), Forest of the Clouded Leopard (Houghton Mifflin), and Galapagos: Islands of Change (Hyperion). She has developed conservation partnerships in many countries for Earth Expeditions, and works on a variety of research and education projects addressing human relationships with nature.
Visiting Assistant Professor
Amanda Bentley Brymer earned her Ph.D. in Environmental Science through the National Science Foundation IGERT Project at the University of Idaho. She received her M.S. in Recreation, Parks, and Tourism Sciences and her B.A. in Communication from Texas A&M University. Her interdisciplinary research integrates ecosystem services and social process concepts to understand how environmental change influences human well-being. Specifically, Amanda functioned as the lead facilitator for the social-ecological impact assessment conducted by her doctoral research team in coordination with the Bureau of Land Management in Owyhee County, Idaho. Her disciplinary research interests involve democratic processes and decision-making for public lands and natural resource management. Prior to academia, Amanda was a professional tour director for Collette Vacations, and enjoyed sharing the cultural and natural history of Europe while guiding guests through the British Isles and Swiss Alps. At home in Oxford, Amanda volunteers with the Miami University Natural Areas as Curator for the Silvoor Biological Sanctuary. She also enjoys hiking, birding, gardening, and reading with her husband Rhett, son Luke, canine companion Dekoda, and feline companions Puddin and Sakura.
Director of Communications and Research
Jamie Bercaw Anzano has a bachelor's degree from Southern Methodist University in journalism, a master's in environmental science with concentrations in environmental education and public policy from Miami's Institute of Environmental Sciences, and post-master’s work in pursuit of a Ph.D. in educational leadership from Miami. Through her role with Project Dragonfly at Miami University, she instructs international and web-based graduate courses and serves as a graduate advisor. When Dragonfly began more than 17 years ago, Jamie served as an editor for Dragonfly children's magazine. She has since worked on a number of Dragonfly initiatives to implement inquiry-driven reform in formal and informal learning environments. Prior to her work at Dragonfly, Jamie wrote hundreds of articles as a newspaper reporter and magazine writer. Her interests lie within the intersection of theory and practice and in helping educators and other professionals explore ways to use inquiry to improve human and ecological communities. Jamie has explored many countries throughout the world, but she particularly enjoys rediscovering her backyard with her husband and two sons.
Curricular Support Assistant
Kerry Boulton has a bachelor's degree from The Ohio State University and an MAT in life science from Miami University's College of Education, Health, and Society. Kerry has worked as a community health educator for Case Western Reserve University in the Cleveland Public Schools and as a high school and middle school substitute teacher. Kerry joined Project Dragonfly in 2014 as a Curricular Support Assistant, where her focus is on supporting Advanced Inquiry Program partners and faculty on the Dragonfly Collaborative Web Platform and assisting with the organization and development of instructional and promotional materials. When she is not working with her amazing Dragonfly family, she enjoys traveling with her husband and two boys and going on walks with her dog, Woody.
Mark Celsor is a 21 year, Internet marketing technology veteran with a unique mix of technical, creative, and business sensibilities, who has led technical projects for many Fortune 100 companies. In 2016, he stepped back from a role as the Director of Technology at a national interactive agency to focus on making the world a better place, coming to work with Project Dragonfly to help grow their online classes and other technical projects.
Senior Program Assistant
Meggan Davison has a bachelor's degree in Theater Production from Ball State University. After working in professional theater settings, she found her way back to Oxford where she became involved in mentoring local high school students and participating in the local community theater. Meggan joined Project Dragonfly in 2015 and is thrilled to be part of a community that works toward improving our communities and environment. Outside of work, she likes to spend time with her husband, daughter and snuggling with her new son. She and a friend are also season subscribers and have standing "mom dates" to see touring Broadway shows.
Visiting Assistant Professor
Claire Dell obtained her Ph.D. in Marine Ecology from Georgia Tech and her Master’s in Aquatic Bioscience from Glasgow University in Scotland. Her dissertation research focused on how species acclimate to conditions in healthy and degraded coral reefs, which involved substantial field work in Fiji. Prior to this she spent several years working on the coral reefs in the Caribbean. Teaching and helping others understand and appreciate this ecosystem are passions of hers. She also enjoys swimming and diving!
Dragonfly Graduate Assistant, she provides support to the Dragonfly staff in a variety of ways. Becca received her Bachelor of Arts degree in marketing with a minor in economics from the University of Northern Iowa in 2014. She held a strong interest in entrepreneurship and market research in her undergraduate and early professional career. After graduating, Becca focused her work on market research and on contracted marketing positions working with small teams that faciliated various types of projects. Becca traveled across the country and moved to Denver, Colorado, before deciding to come to Miami to work towards a degree in environmental science. With a love of outdoors and an appreciation for the majestic oceans, mountains, and the beautiful landscapes back home in Iowa, her interests include environmental policy/management, and she is thinking about going into consulting work.
Visiting Assistant Professor
Shafkat Khan received his Ph.D. from the University of Georgia’s Odum School of Ecology in August 2016. Shafkat completed his B.A. in environmental studies at Goshen College in Indiana. Shafkat’s ecological interest lies at the intersection of anthropogenic factors and plant communities. For his dissertation, Shafkat examined whether tropical montane tree species are able to persist in conditions dissimilar to the species’ native range currently. This work addresses questions both theoretical and applied: what factors limit species distributions and how will climate change cause changes in species distributions in near future. Besides his focal research, Shafkat is interested in interdisciplinary approaches to examining conservation and sustainability, especially from anthropological and geographical perspectives. Shafkat is passionate about student mentoring and teaching, and he considers working with Project Dragonfly a privilege. A native of Bangladesh, Shafkat comes to work at Miami University, Ohio by way of de-glaciated northern Indiana, the Piedmont of Georgia, and the southern mountains of Costa Rica.
Assistant Director of Field Programs
Jill Korach earned an undergraduate degree in biology from Washington University in St. Louis where she focused on tropical rainforest ecology, a master's from Miami University's Institute of Environmental Sciences concentrating in conservation biology, and she is currently working toward her Ph.D. in biology. As a part of Miami’s Ecology, Evolution, and Environmental Biology doctoral program, Jill is exploring the role important natural areas play in our lives and how ecological, cultural, and social values contribute to conservation. Through her role with Project Dragonfly at Miami University, she instructs international and web-based courses and serves as a master's advisor. Jill is president of the board of Imago, a Cincinnati-based grassroots environmental organization focused on connecting communities to nature and sustainable living (http://imagoearth.org). She credits her love of the natural world to the outdoor adventures she takes with her family and getting a chance to climb trees as a child.
Senior Program Assistant
Mary Jo Lahrmann has a bachelor's degree from Xavier University and a master's in environmental science from Miami's Institute of Environmental Sciences. Through her role with Project Dragonfly, she provides overall administrative support and works to promote the great things Dragonfly partnerships are doing for conservation and inquiry action. Prior to her work at Dragonfly, Mary Jo worked as an environmental specialist for the Butler County Recycling and Solid Waste District, a waste planning and public relations specialist for the Fernald Environmental Remediation Project, and as a juvenile probation officer. Outside of work, she volunteers as a Cub Scout leader. Mary Jo is a music lover and enjoys spending time with her husband Steve and sons Jack and Henry.
Graduate Student Services Manager
Connie Malone loves her work with Project Dragonfly! After completing a B.S.Ed. in physical education from Miami University, a Master of Historic Preservation from the University of Georgia, and working in a variety of positions at both UGA and Miami, Connie now serves as Project Dragonfly's Graduate Student Services Manager, where she delights in assisting Advanced Inquiry Program and Global Field Program students in their master's journey from application to graduation. An Oxford native with lingering roots in Georgia, Connie's free time finds her reading (books, real books!), walking her epic dog, Rou, binge-watching "The Walking Dead," or listening to opera. She's also passionate about service learning and community engagement, which she embraces annually through the organization of Oxford's Empty Bowls soup luncheon benefiting the local food pantry.
Associate Director/Instructor, MA/MAT Programs
Since 2002, Kevin Matteson has researched ecology, pollinator conservation, and entomology in heavily developed urban landscapes in both Chicago and New York City. For his doctoral research, conducted at Fordham University, Kevin utilized high-resolution GIS datasets to evaluate landscape factors influencing the diversity of bees and butterflies in community gardens of East Harlem and the Bronx. In addition to teaching at the undergraduate- and graduate-level, Kevin has served as an educator in a variety non-traditional settings including bilingual art-based science education in the Bronx and student-led programming while at the Bronx Zoo/Wildlife Conservation Society. Kevin has also engaged in scientific outreach through work as a scientific consultant and blogger for an urban citizen science program (http://greatpollinatorproject.org/) and currently serves as Chair of the Urban Ecosystems Ecology section (http://www.esa.org/urbanecology/) of the Ecological Society of America. He currently resides in Yellow Springs, Ohio with his wife and two young children.
Visiting Assistant Professor
Javier Miguelena has a B.S. in biology from the Universidad de las Americas in Puebla, Mexico. He also holds a Ph.D. in entomology from the University of Arizona. Javier’s research has looked at the effects of human-induced habitat change on ant communities. For his Ph.D. dissertation, he considered the impact of urbanization on ant diversity in the arid urban environment of Tucson, Arizona. In particular, he looked at irrigated parks which are a new and extraneous habitat in that environment. He has also done research on the behavior of the exotic dark rover ant and the pest management of termites. While in Arizona, Javier was part of science outreach efforts with the Urban Entomology Laboratory, the Arizona Insect Festival, and the Insect Discovery Program. As a result, he has spoken about insects and science to audiences of all ages, frequently while holding a live insect specimen.
Marcia Nantz's work with Project Dragonfly primarily relates to the accounting functions for the program. Marcia has 35 years of experience in bookkeeping/accounting, 24 of which were spent working for small or corporate businesses and 11 of which have been at Miami University; of these, 7 years have been spent working with Project Dragonfly. With no previous experience in education or conservation, she has found working with Project Dragonfly to be an amazing experience that has taken her out of her comfort zone through exposure to new ideas and a new way of thinking. One of her other jobs at Dragonfly has been to purchase flights for all the instructors of our Earth Expedition courses; before starting at Dragonfly she had never purchased an airline flight and now has hundreds of flight purchases under her belt! The mother of one, stepmother of three and grandmother of ten, she and her husband enjoy camping, taking rides in their vintage convertible, and spending time with their grandchildren.
Curricular Support Assistant
Spencer C. Pate earned his bachelor's degree in middle childhood education (with concentrations in math and science) from Miami University in 2011, and he received his master's degree in transformative education from Miami in 2015. After three years of serving as an elementary school and middle school substitute teacher, he began working at Project Dragonfly in 2014. As a curricular support assistant, Spencer focuses on recruitment and promotion as well as data analysis and evaluation. In his free time Spencer enjoys reading and taking his cat Squeaky for walks outside.
Undergraduate Office Aide
Niki Radish is a current undergraduate student at Miami University and is expecting to graduate in May 2018. She is working toward a double major in international studies and sustainability with minors in general business and Spanish. In her future career, she plans to work in sustainable development. As a Miami University student, she is a member of Zeta Tau Alpha sorority, Phi Sigma Pi Honor Fraternity, and the Miami University Conservation Team. She has a passion for travel and has been to countries in South America, across Europe, and Africa. Her trips to Africa actually led to her involvement with Dragonfly as she traveled to Kenya twice as part of the Maasai Music Project, a program led by a graduate of the Global Field Program, where students studied cross-cultural collaboration and community-based conservation. Niki works part-time in the Dragonfly office.
Interactive Media Manager
Paul Sonoda joined Project Dragonfly in 2009 after 18 years in the auto industry, where he served as Director of New Products, Vice President of Marketing, and Global Technical Coordinator. As Interactive Media Manager for Project Dragonfly, he co-developed a ground-up master's degree program application and review platform and is primarily responsible for the design and maintenance of all program websites, including sites for Earth Expeditions, the Advanced Inquiry Program, and the Global Field Program. Paul also created interactive media kiosk apps for two National Science Foundation-funded research grants, Wild Research and iSaveSpecies.
Assistant Director and Instructor, Advanced Inquiry Program
Jennifer Verdolin received her Ph.D. from Stony Brook University in 2008. Her dissertation research focused on exploring the evolution of sociality and mating systems. A behavioral ecologist by training, her research interests have expanded to included personality, social networks, and disease dynamics in social vertebrates. After graduating from Stony Brook she began her career there as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow, then went on to be a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the National Evolutionary Synthesis Center and a Visiting Lecturer and Scholar in Residence, both at Duke University. As a volunteer at the Center for Great Apes, she was inspired by the lives of individual chimpanzees and orangutans to pursue her career in animal behavior. She is an advocate for animal conservation and protection, and her mission has always been to bridge the gap of understanding between ourselves and other species. The author of two books, Wild Connection: What animal courtship and mating tell us about human relationships and Raised by Animals: How dolphins bond, why meerkats babysit, and other lessons from families in the wild, she is the featured guest of the segment "Think Like a Human, Act Like an Animal" on the nationally syndicated D.L. Hughley Radio Show and has a popular blog called “Wild Connections” at Psychology Today. In her free time she loves hiking, photography, and traveling.