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I-DROP Alumni


IMG_4014MaryRose Sheldon is a 2017 graduate of the University of Maryland-College Park with a degree in Environmental Science and Policy, concentrating in Marine and Coastal Management. MaryRose worked with I-DROP during her internship with Dr. Karelyn Cruz at USDA NIFA (Summer 2017) to help explain and visualize the complexities of conservation practice adoption across the Mississippi River Basin as a part of our Walton Family Foundation project. She brings to the group experience with statistical analysis of environmental data as well as with GIS and remote sensing. She was born and raised in Frederick, Maryland, and she takes water quality and natural resources seriously since her favorite outdoor activities are being at the beach and hiking.

Christianson-Lab (65 of 187)_croppedShiyang Li was a visiting scholar studying advanced denitrifying bioreactor designs for I-DROP with both lab- and field-scale studies. He’s particularly interested in improving nitrate removal by incorporating a heating component into bioreactor designs and also in pairing phosphorus removal structures with bioreactors. He has a Ph.D. and a M.S. from Harbin Institute of Technology (Harbin, China), and has been a visiting scholar at the University of Illinois since 2012. Shiyang has since moved on to a faculty position in China.

Christianson-Lab (71 of 187)_croppedS. Bianca Bailey is a Ph.D. student in the Agricultural and Biological Engineering (ABE) department and a Dewson Fellow at the University of Illinois. She continues to be advised by Dr. Richard Cooke in ABE. She has a passion for teaching and water purification which has led to her pursuit of a doctoral degree. She is creating a sustainable water filter system to clean phosphorus from tile drainage water. She received her M.S. in Environmental Engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and her B.S. in Chemical Engineering from Howard University in Washington, DC. In 2011, Ms. Bailey was awarded the White House “Champion of Change Award for Women & Girls in Science Technology Engineering & Math (STEM)” for her work in implementing water filters in Kenya and work in Sudan.



Christianson-Lab (102 of 187)_resizeJack Mrozek began his role as I-DROP’s field research technician in May 2017 immediately after completing his Bachelor of Science in Crop Sciences at the University of Illinois. He was responsible for collecting data from field sites across the state, maintaining a wide variety of sampling equipment and data loggers, and data processing and analysis. Jack has since moved on to working at a vineyard in Napa Valley, California.

Christianson-Lab (5 of 187)_croppedAllan Hertzberger began a Master of Science specializing in Environmental Science in the Department of Crop Sciences in May 2016 and graduated in May 2018. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Crop and Soil Science (cum laude) from Illinois State University. His graduate research focused on nutrient transport from agricultural systems contributing to water quality degradation. Allan led the “Dissolving uncertainty: A comprehensive evaluation of dissolved P in tile drainage” project. He has since moved on to PhD studies in Dr. Andrew Margenot’s lab.

Teresa_picTeresa Tinta was a USDA NIFA intern through the HACU program (Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities) who had recently graduated from the University of Maryland College Park with a Bachelor of Science in GIS (Geographic Information Systems). Teresa originally hails from Peru. As part of her USDA NIFA internship, Teresa worked with I-DROP and the SERA 46 multi-state committee to help spatially represent trends across the Mississippi River Basin.

 20180518_092959_ArielAriel Roh, a junior studying for a Bachelor of Science in Crop Sciences, joined in the lab in February 2018. She is from Seoul, South Korea, and plans to graduate in December of 2019. Ariel is interested in agricultural water quality, and hopes to continue her studies in graduate school upon completion of her degree.

Patricia_IDROP lab

 Patricia Leon is interning with the I-DROP lab during summer 2018 as a part of the Summer Research Opportunities Program (SROP) and the Wildlife Engineers Co-managing Agriculture and Nature (WE CAN) program. She is a studying Environmental Science at Northeastern Illinois University with an expected graduation of spring 2019. Her project with I-DROP involves assessing woodchip bioreactor leachate for tannic acid and color.

Corey Davidson was a part of the I-DROP team from August-December 2018 studying for a M.S. in Agricultural and Bio Engineering. He graduated from the University of Illinois in May 2018 with a B.S. in Aerospace Engineering.

Christianson-Lab (172 of 187)_resizeHannah Dougherty graduated with a Master of Science in the Crop Sciences Department in December 2018 with the thesis: “Hydraulic evaluation of a denitrifying bioreactor with baffles”. She graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Crop Sciences and Agriculture Consumer Economics from the University of Illinois in May 2016.  Hannah’s project focused on the denitrifying bioreactor that is part of the ACES Dudley Smith Initiative project. Hannah has been awarded a Fulbright Fellowship to study denitrifying bioreactors in New Zealand after her graduation.



Brian DiDonato worked with the lab from May 2018 to May 2019 after completing his Bachelor of Science in Agricultural Engineering at the University of Illinois with a concentration in Biological Systems. Brian was responsible for creating technical images of the research sites and equipment. He also assisted with in-field data acquisition, site maintenance, and other daily operations. He now works as an engineer in North Carolina.

Daniel Hiatt_D Levy Larson UIUC_cropDaniel Hiatt was a Water Quality Specialist who worked with the group July 2016-October 2019. He holds an M.S. and B.S. in Biology from Eastern Illinois University. Within I-DROP, Daniel oversaw activities including laboratory analyses and quality control.

Cameron McCoy

Cameron McCoy worked with I-DROP during spring semester 2018 and is an undergraduate majoring in Crop Sciences with a minor in sustainability. He hails from the far south-side of Chicago. His research interests include soil quality, water quality, and the efficiency of sustainable agriculture. He plans to graduate with a Bachelor of Science degree in May of 2020.

Laura K_20190603 editsLaura Krueger is a senior in Biological and Agricultural Engineering at Kansas State University. She worked with the I-DROP team on a research project as part of a summer internship program through the National Great Rivers Research and Education Center (NGRREC). Her research project focused on agricultural nitrate losses and nitrous oxide production from woodchip bioreactors.




Guilherme lab_2Guilherme Rodrigues de Sousa started with the I-DROP team in 2019 as a visiting scholar. He primarily assisted with data collection at the Dudley Smith Farm near Pana, Illinois where the team is studying the agronomic and environmental impacts of cover crops and 4R nitrogen management on tile-drainage nitrate losses.

Ophtanie_2020God Ophtanie Jean joined IDROP in January 2020 as a visiting intern from Zamorano University. Principally, she was assisting with the ACES Dudley Smith Farm cover crop experiment. Ophtanie originally hails from Haiti where her interest in agriculture and its environmental impacts was sparked. She is an undergraduate student in Environmental and Development engineering in the Pan-American Agricultural School, Zamorano, in Honduras.

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 Christine Lepine completed her Master of Science’s degree in the online Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences (NRES) program at the UIUC in May 2020 and continues employment with The Conservation Fund’s Freshwater Institute. She graduated from Shepherd University (Shepherdstown, West Virginia) in 2014 with a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Studies, with a concentration on natural resources management. Her MS thesis focused on extending the lifespan of denitrification bioreactors given aquaculture wastewater’s unique water chemistries.

Ana_Monmouth_1_Crop2Ana Paula Sanchez Bustamante Bailon joined the I-DROP team at the University of Illinois as a visiting scholar in January 2018 after completing her B. S. in Environmental Science and Development from the Zamorano Pan-American Agricultural School in Honduras. Ana transitioned into a Masters of Science program starting in May 2018 andd graduated in August 2020. She hails from Guatemala where she developed passion for rural environmental issues. Ana’s graduate research will focus on denitrifying bioreactors around the state of Illinois.