Our team

The Principal Investigator

Dr. Matthew Scarborough started as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Vermont in August 2019. More information about Dr. Scarborough can be found here

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.  

Amy DeCola, Master's Student

Amy grew up in Wilton, CT and is studying Environmental Engineering with a Math minor at UVM. On campus, Amy is a member of Tau Beta Pi and the Outreach Coordinator for the Society of Women Engineers. Most recently, she interned for Otter Creek Engineering in Middlebury, VT where she was involved with stormwater, water supply, and wastewater design. Amy is interested in renewable energy, life cycle assessment, and waste management.

Kennedy Brown, Master's Student (Accelerated Master's Program)

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). 

Peyton Lienhart, Master's Student (Accelerated Master's Program)

Peyton grew up in Willowbrook, IL and is studying environmental engineering at the University of Vermont. She has been a swimmer her whole life and was on the varsity swim team at UVM. For her masters, she is conducting research on greenhouse gas emissions from landfill cover soils. Her research is funded by the NASA Vermont Space Grant Consortium. She previously interned with the Dam Safety Program in Montpelier, VT where she went on dam inspections and wrote dam hazard classification reports. She is also interested in renewable energy and wastewater treatment. In her free time, she loves to be outside, cook, and travel. 

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.

Sarah Hobson, Master's Student 

Sarah holds a B.S. in Environmental Engineering (ABET certified, E.I.T.) and a B.A. International Environmental Studies from the University of Oklahoma. They previously researched rare earth elements in wetland mine drainage treatment systems, leaf decay in trace-metal contaminated grasses, inhibitors to ammonia oxidizing soil bacteria, and climate resilience of splintered urban waterscapes. Their research currently focuses on microplastic contamination in food system and manure-derived composts across the state of Vermont. Outside of work, Sarah enjoys being outdoors, foraging, food rescuing, science outreach, community organizing, and habitat restoring. 

Undergraduate Students

Venus Rohra

Venus studies Environmental Engineering with a minor in Pure Mathematics. She was born in Japan and has lived in Pakistan and Saudi Arabia. Venus is member of the Society of Women Engineers and the Asian Student Union. In the Summer of 2021, she completed a Richard Barrett Scholar's project related to the role of soil microbial communities in greenhouse gas emissions from landfills. Venus is interested in a range of environmental topics including renewable energy, hydrology and biodiversity. 

Courteney Hales 

Courteney is majoring in Environmental Engineering at the University of Vermont. She is originally from South Africa and has also lived in Angola for part of her childhood. She previously studied Microbially Induced Calcite Precipitation (MICP) as a soil bio cementation technique, through an REU and Summer 2021 Richard Barrett Scholarship. She currently studies the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions from manure lagoons using biochar, for her Honors College Thesis. In the future, she is excited to discover new ways of using wastewater as a sustainable energy resource. On campus, Courteney is a member of Tau Beta Pi and the UVM Climbing Team. In her free time, she loves to go hiking, snowboarding, and climbing – really anything outdoors.

Ryan McKeown

Ryan is majoring in Environmental Engineering at UVM. He is originally from New Jersey. As a Richard Barrett Scholar he studied the chemical phosphorus removal of dairy wastewater during the summer of 2022. He is interested in resource recovery from wastes and environmental remediation. Ryan has worked as a geospatial, marketing, and project analyst in solar development for Encore Renewable Energy. He is an avid mountain unicycler/biker.

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.

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. 

Former Students

Olivia Mead, Undergraduate Student - Graduated May 2021

Courtney Clement, Undergraduate Student - Graduated May 2021

Juliet Malkowski, Undergraduate Student - Graduated May 2021 

Cassidy Vaccari, Undergraduate Student - Anticipated Graduation is Fall 2022

Ryan Weinstein, Masters Student - Graduated August 2020

Reed Winter, Undergraduate Student - Graduated May 2021.