Pennsylvania Sea Grant Welcomes Four New Staff
Education Lead and Outreach Specialists will expand capacity and build upon
statewide programs and partnerships
(HARRISBURG, PA) – Pennsylvania Sea Grant welcomes four new staff to advance statewide watershed, coastal, and Great Lakes education, outreach, and research. For more than twenty years, Pennsylvania Sea Grant has promoted the practical use and conservation of natural ecosystems and resources for a sustainable economy and environment. The Program is one of 34 National Sea Grant College programs, and is supported by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and administered through Penn State University.
Michelle Niedermeier, statewide Education Lead, develops and oversees water-related educational programming for youth and adults. Working with teachers, Michelle will assess professional development and environmental literacy needs and develop programs to bridge gaps and deepen student and educator ecosystem learning.
Prior to coming to Pennsylvania Sea Grant Michelle worked for the Pennsylvania Integrated Pest Management Program housed within Penn State University to educate students (pre-K-12) and communities about least-toxic pest management, and the human and environmental health impacts of pests and pesticides.
Michelle says she is very glad to be involved in natural resource education and excited about the opportunity to engage students and adults in Sea Grant educational programs.
Michelle earned her Bachelor of Education from the University of Toledo and Master of Science in Fisheries and Wildlife from Michigan State University.
Zach Nemec, Coastal Outreach Specialist, works in the coastal Delaware River region, focusing on climate-related issues impacting Southeastern Pennsylvania. Zach plans to work with municipalities to promote watershed restoration, green stormwater infrastructure, and community resiliency against regional climate concerns, like flooding and extreme weather.
Before coming to Pennsylvania Sea Grant, Zach worked as a Watershed Project Scientist at Clemson University, and has educated over one hundred volunteers on watershed science and water quality monitoring.
Zach earned his Bachelor of Art in Biology with a minor in Environmental Studies from Hiram College and Master of Science in Natural Resources from the University of Arizona.
Amber Stilwell, Coastal Outreach Specialist, works in the Lake Erie Region, focusing on developing programs related to healthy ecosystems and watershed restoration. Amber’s role is shared with Penn State Extension, with Amber being responsible for launching and coordinating the new Master Watershed Steward program in Erie, Crawford, and Warren Counties.
Prior to joining Pennsylvania Sea Grant, Amber worked with the Regional Science Consortium in Erie, where she coordinated water quality & restoration
monitoring projects, expanded harmful algal bloom monitoring, and citizen science programs focusing on providing public health-oriented water quality testing and experiences for students.
Amber earned her Bachelor of Science in Biology from Mercyhurst University and Master of Science in Environmental Engineering from Gannon University.
Jason Swartz, Susquehanna River Watershed Specialist, works in the Susquehanna River Basin and focuses on issues like healthy watersheds, watershed restoration, and community resiliency. Jason looks forward to collaborating and planning with diverse stakeholders on climate adaptation, extreme weather impacts, and water quality improvements.
Before coming to Pennsylvania Sea Grant, Jason worked with the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy and the Pennsylvania Bureau of Forestry, assisting with the watershed and community forestry programs on planning, restoration, and statewide collaboration. He says he enjoys working with communities and looks forward to that aspect of his new outreach role.
Jason earned a Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Studies from McDaniel College and is currently a part-time graduate student in Park and Resource Management and Environmental Education by distance education at Slippery Rock University.