Our team

The Principal Investigator

Matthew Scarborough, P.E., Ph.D., Assistant Professor

Matt was born and raised in rural western Pennsylvania, north of Pittsburgh. He graduated with a B.S. in Civil Engineering (Environmental Option) from the University of Wyoming where he worked with Dr. David Bagely on production of hydrogen gas with mixed microbial communities. Matt then worked for a large environmental engineering consulting firm for 7 years where he studied, modeled, designed, and constructed wastewater treatment facilities. He also dabbled in stream restoration, drinking water treatment, and conveyance. Matt earned his PhD in Civil and Environmental Engineering from the University of Wisconsin- Madison in 2019 where he was advised by Dr. Daniel Noguera and Dr. Timothy Donohue at the Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center. Matt has been a licensed Professional Engineer (Civil Engineering) since 2013. 

Graduate Students

Panagiota (Yiota) Stamatopoulou, Doctoral Student

Yiota's research focuses on production of medium chain fatty acids from agricultural waste using anaerobic microbial communities. Previously, she did her MESc at Western University in Canada, focusing on the partial nitritation- anammox (PNA) process for sidestream wastewater treatment using membrane-aerated biofilm reactor (MABR) technology. She is originally from Greece, where she did her undergraduate studies in Environmental Engineering at the University of Patras followed by a MSc in Municipal Solid Waste management at the National Technical University of Athens.

Leandro Conrado Fernandes,  Doctoral Student

Leandro is interested in developing robust, affordable methods for wastewater treatment that can be deployed in areas currently lacking adequate sanitation processes. Leandro is originally from Brazil where he completed an undergraduate program in Environmental Engineering at the University Center of Belo Horizonte. During his undergraduate program, he was part of the Brazilian Scientific Mobility Program and  studied at the University of Montana and Columbia University. His previous research focused on biological nitrogen removal. Besides his passion for wastewater treatment, Leandro also loves to study new languages, to travel and to get to know new people and cultures. 

Lucy Toppen,  Doctoral Student

Lucy grew up in West Michigan and graduated with a B.S. in Environmental Engineering from Michigan Technological University in Spring of 2022. Lucy joins the EMERG team as Ph.D. student and GAANN fellow working on medium-chain carboxylic acid production from waste products via amino acid fermentation. Lucy’s undergraduate research focused on applying environmental engineering tools for the health of the public including Sars-CoV-2 virus detection in on-campus wastewater and open-source toxicity analysis for alternative food sources. Lucy is excited to expand her computational skills to uncover ways waste can benefit human populations.  

Mona Davoudimehr,  Doctoral Student

Mona's research is focused on the production of propane from agricultural waste, particularly cow manure. She is originally from Iran, where she pursued her undergraduate studies in Civil Engineering at Khayyam University and earned her master’s degree in civil and environmental Engineering from Shahrood University of Technology. During her master's program, she conducted research on the impact of micro-nano bubble technology on wastewater treatment. Additionally, Mona is interested in data visualization and incorporates data science techniques into her research. 

Kennedy Brown, Master's Student

Kennedy is a graduate student studying Anaerobic Membrane Bioreactor (AnMBR) usage for treating low-to medium-strength dairy waste in Vermont. She graduated from the University of Vermont in May 2022 with a Bachelor's degree in Civil Engineering. During her time as an undergraduate, she pursued research in the EMERG lab on Anaerobic Digestion (AD) potential for dairy waste throughout the State of Vermont. She also completed an internship in the  Washington Internship for Students of Engineering (WISE) program in which she explored the intersection of engineering and public policy for decentralized wastewater treatment system development in the Alabama Black Belt (Available: https://wise-intern.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/09/kBrown-WISE-Report-Final-Draft-07-28.pdf). 

Amelia McClure, Master's Student 

Amelia is a Civil and Environmental Engineering Master’s student interested in optimizing biological phosphorous removal from municipal wastewater treatment processes. She will be investigating this process at the Burlington Main Wastewater Treatment Plant, where she works as a wastewater operator. She holds an undergraduate degree in Biology and Environmental Science from Wellesley College, where she completed research on plant associated microbial communities in a permafrost thaw zone. Outside of work and school, she enjoys swimming in the Winooski River watershed and playing in Burlington's Brazilian samba drumming band. 

Neha Subedi, Master's Student 

Neha is from Kathmandu, Nepal and is currently enrolled in the Civil and Environmental Engineering program at University of Vermont. For her master's thesis, she is conducting research on development of methods for determining deleterious material content in process glass aggregate, focused on plastic content. Her major interest lies in helping developing countries solve their waste problems. Neha's primary interest is converting waste into an asset. In her spare time, she loves to read and travel.

Hannah Kuleba, Master's Student

Hannah is from Mullica Hill, NJ and is studying Environmental Engineering at the University of Vermont. She is currently pursuing an Accelerated Masters in Civil and Environmental Engineering and her research will focus on how copper concentrations impact methane oxidation and how concentrations of all nitrogen species change during methane oxidation in landfill cover soil. She interned with the Dam Safety Program during summer of 2023 in Montpelier, VT where she went on dam inspections, wrote inspection reports, and experienced the July 10 flood impacts firsthand. Outside of work and school, she enjoys playing soccer, skiing, traveling, singing, songwriting and playing piano. 

Maura Duval, Master's Student

Maura is from Underhill, VT and is currently pursuing an Accelerated Masters in Civil and Environmental Engineering. Her research will focus on biochar made from spent mushroom substrate. Maura’s major interest is in researching fungi based environmental remediation methods. In her free time Maura enjoys traveling, hiking, and sailing.

Undergraduate Students

Hudson Smith

Hudson is studying Environmental Engineering at the University of Vermont. He is studying methods for reducing greenhouse gas emissions from manure lagoons, including fungal neuromas and biochar. Hudson is a member of Pi Kappa Phi and Engineers Without Borders. He looks forward to finding new ways to implement fungi for environmental issues. When he can, Hudson likes to sail, fish, and just get out on the water.

Sarah Foy

Sarah is studying Environmental Engineering at the University of Vermont. She is currently assisting on research to produce propane from cow manure. Sarah enjoys researching how we can turn human and animal waste into usable resources. In her free time, she enjoys snowboarding, reading, and traveling.  

Jacob McCoy

Jacob grew up in East Montpelier, Vermont and is studying Environmental Engineering at the University of Vermont. He is studying the fermentation of amino acids and their effectiveness in producing Medium Chain Fatty Acids. Jacob is interested in renewable energy and sustainable development. In his free time, he enjoys sports such as basketball, ultimate frisbee, and rock climbing.

Leo Rabinovich

Leo grew up in Brooklyn, New York, and spent the first two years of his undergraduate degree at Sarah Lawrence College, where he studied microbiology and environmental science. There he worked alongside water treatment facilities to generate electricity with microbial fuel cells. Leo now attends the University of Vermont where he studies engineering and works on amino acid fermentation with the goal of producing medium-chain fatty acids from food waste. 

Perry Wilson

Perry is an undergraduate student studying Environmental Engineering. Perry started her research as a Richard Barret Scholar before joining the EMERG lab as an Undergraduate Research Assistant. She is currently studying struvite precipitation from the effluent of an Anaerobic Membrane Bioreactor (AnMBR). Outside of school Perry likes going hiking, skiing, and playing guitar.

Agusten Hoen 

Agusten Hoen was raised in Hudson Valley, New York. He is studying engineering at a broad scale with an additional minor in Accounting at the University of Vermont. His research stemmed from the Richard Barret scholar summer program and has continued through the academic year. The work consists of geotechnical tests and material analysis to answer the question: Can processed glass aggregate be a substitute for sand borrow? Agusten is passionate about mindfulness and yoga, loves long-distance running and biking, and often finds himself cooking in most of his free time.

Former Students

Peyton Lienhart, M.S.  

Graduated May 2022

Amy DeCola, M.S. 

Graduated May 2022

Sarah Hobson, M.S. 

Graduated May 2022

Venus Rohra, B.S.

 Graduated May 2022

Courteney Hales, B.S.

Graduated May 2022

Ryan McKeown, B.S. 

Graduated May 2022

Cassidy Vaccari, B.S. 

Graduated December 2021

Olivia Mead, B.S. 

Graduated May 2021

Courtney Clement, B.S.

Graduated May 2021

Juliet Malkowski, B.S.

Graduated May 2021 

Reed Winter, B.S. 

Graduated May 2021

Ryan Weinstein, M.S. 

Graduated August 2020