In this section
- Jessica Beach
- Allyson Burke
- Melisa Diolosa
- Jackie Graham
- Lauren Hall
- Lori Morris
- Christine Mundy
- Dr. Ann Shortelle
- Deb Stone
- Emily Wakley
- Christine Wentzel
District women in STEM careers
The St. Johns River Water Management District is all about science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) as our staff work in these fields and many others each day to preserve and protect Florida’s water resources. These dedicated staff members are passionate about their work on behalf of the state’s residents and share their experiences and inspirations here in the hopes of inspiring the next generation of environmental stewards. During March 2017, recognized as Women’s History Month, it is especially appropriate that we highlight the district’s women STEM experts.
Meet some of our staff:
Love of outdoors, STEM subjects drew engineer to district
Following her passions for nature and problem solving brought engineer Jessica Beach to the St. Johns River Water Management soon after graduation from the University of Florida in 2004.
Parents encouraged her dream to work for the environment
For most people, crossing paths with a large diamond back rattlesnake wouldn’t be the highlight of their day. But for Allyson Burke, seeing the large reptile while on a site inspection was a reminder of why she loves Florida’s ecology.
Great respect for natural world drives regulatory scientist
Melisa Diolosa was a Michigan transplant attending Florida Institute of Technology in the 1990s when she first learned about the nearby Indian River Lagoon, the 156-mile-long estuary covering 40 percent of Florida’s east coast.
Engineer always excelled at math
Math had always been Jackie Graham’s favorite subject since she was very young. In middle school she took an aptitude test that pointed her toward a career in a technical field; she remembers selecting engineer from a short list, but teasing from her brother discouraged her from taking that exercise to heart.
Biologist enjoys challenges of field work
Plying the waters of the Indian River Lagoon in a research vessel is a dream job for St. Johns River Water Management District biologist Lauren Hall.
Career path was a calling at an early age
Some people are fortunate to realize at an early age the career path they’ll choose. It’s almost as if the career has chosen them, a phenomenon often described as a calling. Lori Morris falls into this category.
City kid’s love of nature started with TV’s Wild Kingdom
As a teenager growing up in the middle of Chicago, Christine Mundy was fascinated with the natural world as it was depicted in television shows like Wild Kingdom. Her love for and fascination with the complexity and beauty of the natural world inspired her pursuit of a degree in environmental science.
Dr. Ann Shortelle:
Passion for science began as a child
As a girl growing up in Oklahoma, Dr. Ann Shortelle recalls the daily walk to her elementary school and the footbridge that crossed the creek where she collected tiny fish and tadpoles in a mason jar.
Love of outdoors led to life’s work
Deb Stone leads the charge against invading marauders lurking in some of Florida’s most scenic places and she couldn’t be happier.
Interests in water, the outdoors and the environment guide career path
It’s another hot Florida afternoon when Emily Wakley steps out of her truck to visit a local plant nursery in central Florida. The trip is to review compliance with a consumptive use permit, part of her responsibilities as a hydrologist with the St. Johns River Water Management District.
College course, site visit opened door to career
A lifelong love of nature and the outdoors led Christine Wentzel down a path to her 22-year career as an environmental scientist with the St. Johns River Water Management District.