Jacqueline Gerson, MS

Jackie is an ecology PhD student at Duke University with a focus on chemical cycling and contaminants.  She studies trace metals in streams and their impact on human health.  Jackie has led a number of backcountry trips for middle school, high school, and college students in Alaska, New York, North Carolina, Washington, and Wyoming. Jackie hails from New Jersey, but has lived in upstate New York and Massachusetts, as well as in Senegal as a Peace Corps Volunteer.  She also spent three months conducting oceanographic research on a ship between South Africa and Antarctica.   During this trip, she had an enthralling game of soccer on the ice while penguins dodged the ball on the court.   Jackie loves leading high school students in the outdoors and watching them develop both knowledge and self-confidence as they are pushed outside of their comfort zone, live as a community, work as a team, and enjoy all that nature has to offer.  When it comes to learning science, she finds that nature is the best teacher.  When not backpacking or engaging in science, Jackie enjoys caving, kayaking, traveling, and curling up with a good book.



Emily Ury, MS

img_0580Emily is an ecology PhD student at Duke University with a focus on plants.  She studies the effects of saltwater intrusion on the vegetation and soil chemistry of the North Carolina coastal plain.  She grew up in Western Massachusetts, where she developed a deep love for nature and being outdoors.  As an undergraduate at Williams College, Emily led backpacking trips for the Freshman Orientation program and also set out on her path to becoming a scientist.  Emily majored in chemistry and environmental studies and conducted research on topics ranging from environmental pollution, plant pollinator interactions, and sustainable agriculture.  When she’s not thinking about salt and coastal plains, Emily can be found cooking, running, and gardening.


Alice Carter

Alice is an ecology PhD student at Duke University with a focus on nutrients and metabolism in streams.  She studies how the stream microbes break down and digest organic compounds causing the whole stream to breathe, much like an organism.  Alice is excited about the outdoors and loves using chemistry and mathematics to better understand how natural systems work.  The last few years, Alice lived in Cape Cod, Massachusetts teaching a field-based environmental science course and studying marine ecosystems at Woods Hole Biological Station.  Before that, she studied the geology and hydrology of cave systems in Mexico.  Alice is originally from Utah and loves to hike, bike, ski, and collect rocks when she is not busy thinking about streams. 



Emily Levy

 Emily is a biology PhD student at Duke University with a focus on animals.  She studies how environment and social status affect behavior and hormones in wild baboons.  As an avid outdoorswoman and naturalist, Emily is passionate about increasing science literacy and raising awareness about the importance of conservation.  Before starting her studies, Emily was an outdoor science instructor at Teton Science Schools in Wyoming, where she worked toward those goals.  In college, Emily spent a semester in Madagascar, where she studied ring-tailed lemur behavior for 3 weeks.  And she only got pooped on twice!  Emily is originally from Massachusetts and has exclusively lived in places with lots of snow until moving to Durham.  When she’s not studying baboons, Emily likes to bike, hike, and bake cookies.



Nicolette Cagle, PhD


Nicolette is faculty in the Nicholas School of the Environment, the Director of the NSOE Writing Studio, and the Director of the Environmental Science Summer Program at Duke.  She conducts research in ecology and environmental education.   As a certified environmental educator, Nicolette also teaches and consults for a number of organizations in the Durham area. Nicolette received her Doctorate in Ecology from Duke University iand a B.S. in Natural Resources and Environmental Science from the University of Illinois – Urbana.  After grad school, her research took her to Italy, where she explored natural areas across the country, collected data on interpretive signs at nature centers, and interviewed Italians with a passion for the environment!  She loves to hike, explore nature, travel, learn languages and write poetry.