I am an assistant professor in the Department of Politics, and a faculty member in the Center for Science, Technology and Society at Drexel University. My research and teaching focus on 1) environmental health and the politics of care, 2) the spaces in which health and disease are produced (homes, cities, clinics, and public health networks), and 3) how embodied experiences of health and disease are technologically mediated. My first book, Breathtaking: Caring for Asthma in a Time of Climate Change, is in production with University of Minnesota Press and will come out in fall 2018. This project focused on the experiences of asthmatics and how asthma is cared for across different U.S. contexts.
Currently, I lead a Philadelphia-based project focused on air quality, sustainability, and health in the context of late industrialism. I established PHEEL in spring 2014 to document this work, the work of Drexel students who are involved with these projects, and to reflect on environmental health, ethnography, and teaching more broadly.
Student Research Team
I am a rising sophomore studying an interdisciplinary combination of environmental studies, STS, and public policy. I joined PHEEL as a STAR (Students Tackling Advanced Research) Scholar, which is an opportunity offered by Drexel University’s Office of Undergraduate Research for first-year students to engage in full-time faculty-mentored research during the summer after their freshman year.
Daniel “Drex” Drexler
I’m a first year Master’s student at the Drexel Center for Science, Technology & Society. My background is as a software developer and startup founder in the tech soup of the San Francisco Bay Area. My research interests are in studying the Sociology of Software: how it’s made, how it’s understood, and how its processes come to co-create the realities of lived, technically-mediated lives.
As part of PHEEL I support and advise on technical aspects of the project, assist with field work and various clerical needs. I’m looking forward to experiencing the challenges and demands of using technology in a non-commercial space and freed from the demands of profit.
I am a third-year undergraduate studying Sociology at Drexel University with a minor in Science, Technology, and Society. My research interests include gentrification and the interaction between people and places.
I joined PHEEL in April 2019 and am currently working on the Late Industrialism project, where I am recording and analyzing different sites in Philadelphia that are being remediated, and analyzing how gentrification plays a role in the process of environmental remediation and permitting.
I am a master’s student in Drexel University’s Communication, Culture & Media program. My research interests lie at the intersection of critical food studies, music cultures, and social movements. Before joining Drexel, I spent five years working in the English as a Second Language field, including a year spent teaching English in the Brazilian Amazon through a Fulbright grant.
I joined PHEEL in spring 2019 and I have been assisting with project administration, data analysis, and content production for the Climate-Ready Philly project.
I am a first year Master’s student at the Dornsife School of Public Health at Drexel, concentrating in Environmental and Occupational Health. I have a Bachelor’s of Arts in Sociology from The College of New Jersey, where I also received minors in Public Health and Psychology. Through my coursework in sociology and my experience as a community organizer with the New Jersey Environmental Federation, I observed how social factors create inequities in populations’ differential exposure to environmental health risks and resultant health problems, notably asthma. As a public health professional, I plan to ameliorate these health disparities through research and policy reform using community-based strategies. My research interests include environmental justice, air pollution, and climate change and health. Additionally, I’m interested in how health systems will adapt to the environmental health risks associated with increasing global urbanization.
I will be assisting with qualitative data analysis on the Mapping Perceptions project and hope to build upon these analytical skills. I also welcome the opportunity to work on a project that could potentially translate the observed communities’ perceived needs and concerns into reformed city development plans.
I am the advocacy coordinator for the Clean Air Council. I work with Philly residents to report illegal burning (which is almost all burning) and dumping/drainage issues. I write letters to newspapers about coal and other energy issues. I also go to public hearings and help people engage with city agencies and their representatives. I have a degree in government from William and Mary where I helped edit the newspaper and talked on the radio. I want Pennsylvania to stop burning trash, tires, medical waste, sewage, coal waste and other inefficient fuels. I do a great presentation about the history of the jewel of Northeastern PA, anthracite coal.
Former Students Who Have Moved On To Other Projects:
Eman Addish (January 2016 – June 2016)
I am a second year master’s student at Drexel’s Dornsife School of Public Health; my concentration is Epidemiology. I chose to peruse a career in public health because I am interested in reducing health disparities in communities. My goal is to promote and improve the health of populations both locally and globally. My research interests include communicable, infectious, and chronic diseases. I am currently working on my master’s thesis with the Philadelphia Department of Public Health to evaluate the risk factors associated with the clinical presentation of extra-pulmonary tuberculosis versus pulmonary tuberculosis, in Philadelphia.
Through the Mapping Perceptions project, as a data analyst, I hope to utilize the skills I have learned in epidemiology to verbalize statistics in ways that help communities understand what is happening in their surroundings. I also hope to build on and expand my experience in data analysis. Upon completion of my master’s, I plan on working in the public health sector to surveil and analyze threats, such as communicable and infectious diseases within a population.
I was born and raised in Southern California and I received my Bachelors of Science in Biology with a minor in Art History from the University of California, Irvine.
Shivanshu Awasthi (January – March 2015)
I am a second year Master of Public Health (MPH) graduate student at Drexel School of Public Health, concentrating in Epidemiology and Biostatistics. I have completed professional pharmacy education, Pharm D (Doctor of Pharmacy) from India and have a good research background in the areas of Pharmacoepidemiology, Pharmacotherapy, pharmacology and drug utilization. For the Mapping Perceptions project I am working with the research team on the data entry process. It’s a unique experience for me as a researcher to understand how people in communities perceive threats and react to them. As a public health graduate I am focused on improving community health using the concepts and tools I will learn here at Drexel. My prime interests are to work on the emergence of antibiotic resistance in our community and its impact on patient health. My experience as a Pharmacy student, supplemented with public health research provides me with a broad array of research skills to address exigent public health issues. While studying at Drexel, I hope to develop skills in data analysis and literature review. I believe that the Mapping Perceptions project will provide me with an opportunity to apply practical aspects of these skills. Upon completion of my MPH, I want to work in the pharmaceutical industry, mainly in the areas of epidemiological studies and drug safety.
Danielle Rae Bartolanzo (September 2014 – June 2016)
I am a second year Master of Public Health student at the Dornsife School of Public Health; my concentration is in Epidemiology. I am interested in studying adverse health outcomes associated with environmental exposures, such as chemical exposures, water-borne diseases, climate change, and injury. I also have a strong interest in data analysis and statistical programming. Upon the completion of my graduate degree at Drexel University in June 2016, I aim to have data analysis experience in the statistical programs SAS, R, and STATA. With these skills, I hope to become an Epidemiologist at the local or state government and positively impact population health through disease surveillance and data analysis.
As a former Community Health Researcher for the Mapping Perceptions project, I surveyed households in three Philadelphia neighborhoods. These surveys were carried out to determine community members’ environmental risk perceptions. I then entered this survey data into an Excel spreadsheet. This project was a necessary aspect of my public health training because it allowed me to interact with my population and to learn about individual perspectives. This experience particularly emphasized to me how important it is for Epidemiologists to be aware of their population when implementing their research.
I received my Bachelor’s of Science in Zoology with a minor in Plant Biology from the University of Vermont in May 2014. My passion for ecology was what initially sparked my interest in data, which then lead me to population health and environmental epidemiology.
I am a fourth year undergraduate International Area Studies major with a concentration in Global Science, Sustainability, and Health, and minors in Spanish, Public Health, and Nutrition. My research interests include food policy, civic engagement, and public health nutrition. As a Community Health Researcher, I surveyed neighborhoods and assisted in data collection and analysis. The Mapping Perceptions project allows me to explore food justice in Philadelphia and how the environment shapes food access and vice-versa. My goals are to learn data analysis skills and to assess community health needs to find empirically-based solutions to food access issues in vulnerable and minority populations facing environmental injustice.
In my free time, I manage a community food garden at the Dornsife Center for Neighborhood Partnerships as President of Drexel Urban Growers and a Master Gardener In-Training. After graduation, I intend to pursue a MPH and work to eliminate health disparities through public health programming and policy. My work with PHEEL is undertaken as an independent study for academic credit, titled “Community Health Fieldwork”.
I am a fourth year undergraduate Culinary Arts & Science student with a science concentration and a minor in creative writing. My research interests are in community development, particularly “affordable” housing and access to nutritious foods all over the city of Philadelphia. I am also interested in regulations on food waste and food safety, and the operations of supermarkets.
I joined PHEEL in June 2016 to further explore my interests in housing. In summer 2016, I built a database on housing in Philadelphia, which included governmental datasets, resources for emergency and transition housing, redlining practices and more. This database is published on The Asthma Files site. In fall 2017, I curated bibliographies of news articles on senior citizens in Philadelphia, on oral histories in Philadelphia and on climate change evidence around the world. In January 2018, I will begin compiling datasets for three U.S. port cities — Baltimore, Houston, and Philadelphia — which will be mapped on the PHEEL site using Leaflet.
Ami Diallo (January-August 2014)
As a first year graduate student in Drexel University’s Science Technology and Society Master’s program, my research interests include environmental policy and regulation, risk and disaster studies. In addition, I hope to explore community perspectives and knowledge on asthma, it’s co-morbidities, and the ways in which city spaces shape disease conditions.
My thesis project looks at risk and disaster funding in third world and underdeveloped countries, and how funding mechanisms can be made more socially just. Specifically, I am interested in solutions that increase self-sustainability in vulnerable countries, as well as resilience and adaptation disaster planning through citizen engagement.
After receiving my Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from the University at Buffalo (with a minor in journalism), I decided to pursue my passion in environmental and risk/disaster policy. Current projects I am working on include: mapping environmental health knowledge production (such as traffic-related asthma research and exposure science) and how scientists investigate the relationships between asthma and obesity. My contribution to PHEEL entails mapping asthma research in the U.S and Europe by experimenting with data visualization tools.
I am a fourth year undergraduate student majoring in International Area Studies with a concentration in Global Science, Sustainability and Health and minors in Science, Technology and Society, Public Health and Spanish. My research interests along with my academic interests focus on social determinants of health of minority populations, environmental justice and social justice in urban communities. I wish to understand the economic, environmental and health effects placed on communities that are in close proximity to manufacturing and industrial factories.
I joined the PHEEL research team in the winter of 2016, and I have used the analytic software (SPSS) to create crosstabs and graphs based on the questions asked during the survey work in 2014. I hope to gain more data analysis skills, such as data coding and GIS experience while working with the Mapping Perceptions projects.
Outside of PHEEL, I am a Navigator at UConnect, a nonprofit organization that works one-on-one with community members in West Philadelphia and connects them with vital community resources. Upon graduation, I intend on obtaining a MSW with a focus in health. My goal is to work directly with community members to address social determinants of health and eliminate health disparities.
I am a second year Masters student in the Drexel Science, Technology, and Society studying the social and political dimensions of gene editing technology. My other interests span into the areas of science policy, governance, University-Industry relations, and climate politics.
I joined PHEEL in early 2016 as a chance to gain experience in a collaborative research group, and broaden my understanding of issues at the intersection of public environmental perceptions and policy. Working on the Mapping Perceptions project has allowed me to build upon not only technical skills in data management and analysis, but also communicative skills that are paramount to successful collaboration. Furthermore, the collaborative culture and intellectual openness cultivated through my involvement in the Mapping Perceptions project led to additional research opportunities within the framework of The Asthma Files 6Cities project.
I grew up in southeastern Michigan and earned my Bachelors of Science at Michigan State University, where I also minored in Science and Technology Studies. I plan on pursuing a PhD after completion of my Masters.
Chloe Hriso (January 2016-August 2017)
I am a third year International Area Studies student concentrating in Global Health, Science, and Sustainability with a minor in Public Health. My research interests include understanding the complexities behind socioeconomic disparities and how certain sociopolitical and environmental forces manifest themselves in the health and well-being of individuals, families, and communities. I hope to eventually pursue a career in the fields of public health and medicine to work towards eradicating disparities and improving community health.
For the Mapping Perceptions Project, I am working on connecting theoretical research involving environmental injustices, socioeconomic disparities, and risk perceptions with the survey data the team has collected and processed. The project is an exciting collaboration that allows me to apply my background in public health and the social sciences while cultivating research experience.
Allison Insley (September 2013-June 2014)
I am a graduate of the Drexel University School of Public Health master’s program, with a concentration in Environmental and Occupational Health. While at Drexel, my Community Based Master’s Project consisted of a dispersion model and health risk assessment of emissions from a chemical manufacturing plant in the River Wards. This project brought about a collaborative relationship between my work and the Mapping Perceptions project.
My primary research interest is the examination of health risks associated with occupational emissions of indoor and outdoor air pollution. In addition, I am interested in risk assessment and environmental justice. I have provided support throughout this project in matters concerning public health in the River Wards. This has created a bridge between my graduate education and my undergraduate education at Carnegie Mellon University, where I received a degree in Global Studies and a double minor in Hispanic Studies and International Relations and Politics. Following completion of my degree here at Drexel, I will be continuing my work in environmental and occupational health as part of a scientific consulting firm.
Mel Jeske (June 2014 – June 2015)
I am currently working on my thesis in the Science, Technology, and Society program at Drexel University. My master’s coursework has focused on environmental policy, public health, and medical sociology and anthropology.
I am enrolled in the accelerated degree program and will graduate in 2015 with dual bachelor degrees in Economics and Environmental Studies along with an MS in STS. My interdisciplinary background has allowed me to explore fields both within academia and industry. I worked for two years as a research assistant at a Philadelphia-based economic and public policy consulting firm where I was able to work on economic development and community-based development programs in several US cities.
My research interests include:
- Public health economics and politics
- Medicalization of human conditions
- Rise and definition of obesity as a public health concern
- Built environment and human health intersections
- Experience of health and fitness in the contemporary U.S.
I have worked on several research projects with Drexel’s STS faculty within the fields of medical sociology, environmental health, and environmental politics. My thesis examines medicalization of obesity. Through a science studies approach, I am studying the rise of ‘obesity as pathology,’ the scientific tools of obesity measurement, and research culture of obesity science.
Anna Katenta (August-December 2014)
I’m a 2nd year Master’s student in the Drexel University School of Public Health, concentrating in Environmental and Occupational Health. My research interests are emergency preparedness, built environments, healthy homes, and housing equity. My short-term career goals are to complete my degree program and continue researching topics related to environmental and occupational health. My long-term career goals will focus on developing neighborhood planning strategies that improve the built environments for low income communities, as well as positively influence access to healthy food and recreational fitness for these communities.
I was born in the District of Columbia, and spent the majority of my young adulthood in Germantown, Maryland. I’m a proud alumna of the University of Maryland Eastern Shore, where I earned a BS in Biology with a minor in Mathematics. During my tenure at UMES, I was the 5th seed on the Women’s Tennis team, and a research trainee in the MARC U*STAR program. In my spare time I enjoy running, reading, and collecting nail polish.
Gregory Kunkel (September 2014 – June 2015)
I am a senior at Drexel University, majoring in International Area Studies: Global Science, Sustainability & Health with minors in Public Health and German. My interests revolve around the ways in which various health hazards present in a clinical setting. For this project, I conduct surveys in the River Wards, gathering data on community perceptions and environmental conditions. My future plans include medical school in order to become a family practice physician working to reduce health disparities across diversified groups of people.
Matt Lesser (September 2014 – August 2015)
This is my second year in the Masters of Science Technology and Society Program at Drexel University. My research interests are focused on the social implications of public policy as well and the social underpinnings behind domestic and foreign policy. My current work is focused on the historical and current state of international drug policies, specifically between the United States, South and Central America. Before joining the program here at Drexel, I graduated from DeSales University with a B.A. in History. My research at DeSales focused on perceptions of immigrant populations in the late 19th and early 20th century.
The Mapping Perceptions project provides me with the opportunity to gain survey experience as well as the opportunity to participate in community outreach. Gaining and acknowledging community perceptions of their environment are critical in the development of effective local, state, and federal policies. I’m glad to be apart of a team that works hard to provide a voice to the residents who call the River Wards home.
Catherine Lowther (September 2015 – June 2016)
I am a senior undergraduate Environmental Studies major with a minor in Political Science. Currently, my research and academic interests lie in environmental health impacts in urban areas, with a focus on food justice and access in Philadelphia.
As a PHEEL member, I focus on data analysis. I have gained experience with data analysis processes and tools, I am getting a concrete understanding of layered environmental health impacts in local communities.
Upon completing my degree in spring 2016, I hope to continue my education and remain within academia pursuing food studies and systems research in relation to urban food access and environmental health.
Daisy Manapsal (January – June 2016)
I am a second year student in the Masters of Public Health program at Drexel University, concentrating in Health Management and Policy. I received my Bachelors of Science in Biology from the University of California, Irvine. My experience as a Residential Counselor at a youth group home sparked my interest in health education, specifically focusing on physical health, sexual and reproductive health, drug and alcohol use, and violence. I hope to have a career in which I am involved in developing, implementing, and evaluating programs that have a focus on preventative care, especially within those areas. Other interests include emergency preparedness and response in urban settings, as well as environmental health. I am curious about how the environment affects social behavior, which is why I wanted to get involved with the Mapping Perceptions project. I am excited about my role in this project, which is to assist in qualitative data analysis and GIS mapping.
Dawn McDougall (January-December 2014)
I am an undergraduate student at Drexel University in the Custom-Designed Major with a working title of “Environmental Thought.” The curriculum I have designed centers on environmental and science studies, communication, and sustainable design.
My current work seeks to investigate and evaluate methods of visualizing sustainability messages in the urban context. Environmental sustainability is a broad field that attracts a range of skill sets and knowledge traditions; this field aims to solve, at least in some part, the current challenges associated with built and natural environments.
As a growing number of professionals use their expertise to visualize and draw attention to the most critical aspects of biosphere and humanity’s role therein, it becomes equally relevant to evaluate their efforts. My work looks at how environmental sustainability projects are visualized in several Philadelphia neighborhoods; my aim is to understand how communities encounter and engage with these projects.
- Perception of the immediate local and social environment
- Knowledge consumption and integration
- Individual narratives and collective identity
- Environmental (sustainability) rhetoric and discursive frames
- Sustainable design and visualizations as part of discourse
- Sensing environments through visualizations and the relation to perception
As a PHEEL member, I assist in investigating how emerging environmental information systems work to bolster civic engagement with sustainability programs. We look at how “green” and “sustainability” are defined and leveraged in the design of digital platforms, such as mobilephone applications. In this part of the project we want to understand howdigital platformsshape citizens’ perception and behavior. Are these technologies appropriate to the target user groups? To what extent are mobile apps a viable means of civic engagement? My involvement in PHEEL is supported by a Drexel University Urban Sustainability Fellowship.
Maggie Mcnulty (January 2018 – August 2018)
I am a fourth year undergraduate Environmental Studies & Sustainability major. My research interests explore the intersection of environmental justice, sociology, history and gender studies. I’m specifically interested in the impacts of climate change on the Global South.
I am currently working on the Indexing Late Industrialism project by analyzing data from the PA Bulletin to determine how public notices relate to gentrification in Philadelphia. In addition, I will be working on the ‘Climate, Health, and Home’ project in spring 2018, helping to design three community-based workshops, and assisting with data collection and analysis.
Eliza Nobles (February 2018- March 2019)
I am a fourth year undergraduate student studying Urban Ecology through Drexel’s interdisciplinary program. My research is focused on the relationships between the natural and built environments, with my ultimate goal being to improve urban social and environmental issues through design and planning. Most recently I have conducted research on the biodiversity of urban land, in addition to volunteering with a local non-profit to actively improve the social and ecological health of the city through design.
I joined PHEEL in February 2018 to learn more about urban socio-economic and public health issues related to environmental problems. As a research assistant, I am designing workshop materials for the ‘Climate, Health, and Home’ project and gathering data on flooding in Philadelphia. I will also assist with data collection and analysis during the community-based workshops in late spring.
Derek Parrott (January 2015 – June 2016)
I am currently a second year student in the Science, Technology, and Society Studies Master’s Program at Drexel University. After growing up in Montana, I graduated from Vassar College in 2014 with a BA in Physics and a math minor (where I first started to venture into STS). I’m interested in applying and expanding my varied background of physics and STS to current energy issues, specifically looking at the development and implementation of alternative energy sources and energy or innovation science and technology policy. Of particular interest to me is the prospect of fusion energy. Additionally, I am interested in considering the way that science is taught and communicated between different expertise groups, as applied to both education and policy. My undergraduate research consisted largely of an interdisciplinary assessment and comparison of different types of nuclear fusion reactors on the road to commercialization (as well as some work on the philosophical and historical genealogy of different interpretations of quantum theory).
While I am certainly interested in exploring these fascinating research communities further, my current research activities engage my interests in a broader way. I recently joined the Shifting Energy Cultures Project (a collaboration between STS and Electrical and Computer Engineering), which aims to examine the ways that people interact with and understand energy use, distribution, and management by using the Drexel Smart Grid system as a case study and living lab. I’m very excited to be a part of this project, as it combines my interest in alternative energy solutions with my interest in science communication.
Bhavika Patel (September 2015 – June 2016)
I am a second-year Masters of Public Health student at Drexel University with the Department of Health Management and Policy. I am passionate about creating healthier communities through programs and policy change. I strive to be a leader in public health who is able to work collectively with multi-disciplinary professionals, so that together we can enable a healthier lifestyle for the populations we serve.
As a team member for the Mapping Perceptions project I’ve been involved in surveying the neighborhoods and data management. Through this experience I’ve gained and honed valuable skills in communication, observation, cultural competence, and mixed-methods data collection and analysis. I hope to incorporate these skills into my current experiences as a student leader and public health professional, to better build a foundation for my career.
I am a native of Southern California where I completed my BA in Public Health Policy at the University of California, Irvine. I am involved with the student government at the Dornsife School of Public Health and with the Graduate Student Association at Drexel University; I also have experience working on projects with nonprofit organizations. In my free time I enjoy cooking, reading, and exploring museums, new cities, and historical places.
Shreya Patel (September 2015 – June 2016)
I am a second year student in the Masters of Public Health program at Drexel University. My concentration is Epidemiology. My research interests focus on reducing health disparities in communities as well as tropical infectious diseases. As a Community Health Researcher for the Mapping Perceptions project I help survey neighborhoods, collecting data on residents’ perceptions and concerns on environmental health issues. As a public health major I wish to gain insight on how to help communities gain access to information and resources. My mission is to promote and improve the health and well being of populations as well as individuals.
While at Drexel I hope to gain experience in data analysis through involvement with research such as the Mapping Perceptions project. These activities will provide me with interdisciplinary experience that I hope to use in my public health career. Upon completion of my Masters, I hope to work in the public health sector implementing strategies to increase health security by analyzing threats such as infectious diseases.
Alexandria Pollard (April-August 2014)
I recently graduated from Drexel University with a degree in Architectural Engineering, with a concentration in Mechanical Systems. My career goals are centered on Heating, Ventilation, air conditioning, and refrigeration (HVACR) design. Two growing issues in the HVACR design field are the large amount of energy HVAC systems consume, and the indoor air pollution that occurs due to the use of chemical manufacturing. With these two concerns there is a potential link between outdoor air pollution, indoor air pollution, and the design of HVACR systems for buildings. Currently my interest lies in how air quality laws were designed for outdoor air, and how that could potentially effect indoor air quality laws that will become more common as the link between indoor air and human health grows with research. Another interest of mine is how engineering influences society, and how engineering engages with the public.
Currently, I am reviewing Environmental Health Agencies at a number of different levels, and determining how laws and regulations were created historically. Along with this, I am researching graphical representations of environmental information, which are designed to increase public awareness of how government organizations operate and how they are organized.
Since my research is on long term policies, my contribution to PHEEL is the summarization and understanding of how policies are built and then implemented at different scales of government.
Hined Rafeh (January 2015 – June 2016)
I am a second year student in the Science, Technology, and Society M.S. Program at Drexel University. I graduated from Temple University in 2014 with a B.A. in Biological Anthropology. My research interests center on public understanding and engagement with technologies and science, particularly within health and medical fields. I’m also interested in how conceptions of citizen science differ, what motivates non-accredited experts to engage in scientific labor, and how citizens’ use of different technologies to facilitate this labor relates to their motives and practices. I want to emphasize a user-centered approach in my research, of which I am gaining experience through both my work on the Mapping Perceptions project and my work as a graduate assistant with Dr. Kelly Joyce in her research with medical technology and stakeholder evaluation.
I joined PHEEL as a volunteer in January 2015, and worked as the research assistant for the ‘Building Capacity to Communicate Climate Change’ project (May-August 2015). Currently, I assist with data verification and analysis (using SPSS), and look forward to contributing to the upcoming project write-ups. I strive to contribute to the field of Science and Technology Studies (STS) in both my academic work and my public work with SciStarter, a citizen science organization where I am a program manager in partnership with NASA and GLOBE.
Elisa Sarantschin (January – June 2016)
I am a second year student in the M.S. Environmental Policy Program at Drexel University. My research interests involve incorporating community expertise into policy decisions surrounding environmental health. I have previously worked with community groups conducting citizen-led air monitoring projects.
My contribution to the Mapping Perceptions project will mainly be to assist with geocoding the project’s research data into ArcGIS maps. My experience with GIS mapping has previously been more traditional – mapping watersheds and flow systems- but consequentially, GIS mapping has evolved to be useful in many arenas, especially in public health and environmental justice. I am excited to gain more research experience from working with this project as well as a new outlook on how to map and visualize environmental health.
Lee Serpas (September 2014 – June 2015)
I am a senior undergraduate student working towards a degree in Chemistry at Drexel University. I became involved with PHEEL through a course on the politics of health taught by Dr. Alison Kenner. I am currently conducting a senior research project with Dr. Reinhard Schweitzer-Stenner in the Department of Chemistry at Drexel University. I am investigating the spectroscopic properties of ferrocytochrome c as well as its interactions with synthetic liposomes that model the mitochondrial membrane. Cytochrome c is a protein that participates in essential steps of metabolism and has recently been indicated in the first steps of programmed cell death. The protein’s reduced (ferro) state is assumed to be inactive and, as a result, has not been investigated to the same extent as the oxidized state of the protein. My project will provide insight into the activity and importance of this often overlooked form of cytochrome c. This, and all previous research I have been involved in, has been very different from the environmental health project that I am now a part of. My previous research has been spent in a laboratory somewhat secluded from the people that the work was intended for. In my work with PHEEL, I am able to see and interact directly with the people whom this project is designed to help.
I am interested in public health, environmental health, and epidemiology in addition to translational laboratory research. I got involved with the “Mapping Perceptions of Environmental Health Risks” project because of my interest in environmental health and social analysis. I am interested in expanding my research horizons and through this project I will gain research experience in the social sciences. I am also interested in learning more about the environmental health hazards that exist in Philadelphia neighborhoods. After completing my undergraduate degree, I plan to pursue an MD-PhD dual degree. I hope to become involved with public health projects like this throughout my studies and during my career as a physician researcher.
I am an environmental justice outreach coordinator for the Clean Air Council. My work focuses on empowering communities unfairly burdened by higher concentrations of pollution. I graduated from Drexel University’s Science and Technology Studies graduate program in August 2015. Before joining Drexel, I received a B.A. in Political Science from Temple University.
As a research assistant for the “Mapping Perceptions” project, I took on an amalgamation of ethnographic tasks such as: literature reviews on scrapyards, brownfields, air monitoring/quality, and community risk perception; research on U.S. air quality policy, including analysis of federal policy, news, and media trends; development of data-visualizations using tools such as Fusion Tables (geomap), Tableau (graph, map, chart), Tagul (interactive word cloud), Timeline JS (interactive timeline) and Paper Machine (topic modeling); and interview transcription.
My role also centered on data collection processes, including door to door canvassing, the construction of a database, creating a data collection system, and overseeing a data entry team. More specifically, I helped to develop structured field observation and interview protocols that included a collection of rules and regulations pertaining to safety and ethical concerns in addition to an array of administrative details regarding hours in the field and instructions for survey and block instrument completion. The field team and I covered 240 blocks and knocked on the doors of over 3,000 households. My involvement in the “Mapping Perceptions” project was supported by Drexel’s Social Science Research grant.
Nathaniel Stanton (June-August 2014)
I am a third year undergraduate student working towards a dual History and Political Science degree at Drexel University. I became involved with EnviroHealthSense through the Drexel College of Arts and Sciences fellowship program, where my work focuses on reviewing the history of air quality in California and analyzing contemporary inhaler technologies. My research interests are broad, however I was drawn to the PHEEL project because of my interest in the history of science, medicine and technology and their application in public policy. Additionally, the PHEEL project is helping me learn how a historical analysis can lend insight into the complex, contemporary issues. After completing my undergraduate degree at Drexel, I plan on continuing my education with an interdisciplinary Master’s degree and then a PhD in History. I hope to become a history professor and advance research on women’s intellectual history in 19th and 20th century Argentina.
- Saleem Chapman, Clean Air Council
- Dornsife Center
- Rachael Greenberg, National Nursing Centers Consortium
- New Kensington Community Development Corporation