Secretary: Dayani Pieri (Northeastern Illinois University)

As the Secretary, I will maintain communication within the Student Section (SS) Board and participate in the decision making processes regarding SS activities, initiatives and communicate with members and student representatives.

I am a Montessori, elementary school teacher with a liberal arts background. I have shifted gears to pursue a degree in Plant Biology at Northeastern Illinois University in Chicago. I was introduced to an interdisciplinary research program, at Oakton Community College, IL, which changed my life. In the duration of this course, I serendipitously came upon the SEEDS website.

SEEDS has been instrumental in guiding my new journey and encouraging me in the path of science. I have had the most wonderful opportunity to join two SEEDS fieldtrips to Harvard Forest in MA and Mountain Lake Biological Station in VA and attend a Leadership Meeting in Pack Forest, WA. Since discovering a passion for research, I have completed 3 internships at Wright State University under Don Cipollini and Chicago Botanic Gardens under the mentorships of Lauren Umek and Liam Heneghan of DePaul University in Chicago. For the past two years I have been conducting interdisciplinary research at the Chicago Botanic Garden under mentors Louise Egerton-Warburton, Dan Larkin, and Andrew Wilson.

My research work at all of the above mentioned institutions has been related to invasive plant species. I have worked with garlic mustard and European buckthorn. My current research examines microbial colonization of leaf litter in an oak woodland restoration chronosequence. I plan to conduct further studies in invasive plant and fungal community interactions. My broader interests lie in environmental justice issues and action ecology. My professional objective is to pass on my new gained knowledge to my students and guide them to become responsible stewards of our earth.


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