Blandy is proud to introduce our new Director of Scientific Engagement, Dr. Ariel Firebaugh. Blandy's Director of Public Programs, Dr. Steve Carroll, retired last October. We decided to reimagine the position, and the name change reflects the evolution of public programming that occurred during Steve's tenure. This includes an increased focus on the environmental sciences and the diversification of ways in which we engage the public. Ariel's background and experience puts her in an ideal position to continue the expansion of our audience and
Ariel is no stranger to Blandy. She arrived here in the summer of 2011 as a member of our Research Experience for Undergraduates program. After graduating from Roanoke College in 2012, she returned to Blandy as a Ph.D. student under the mentorship of Dr. Kyle Haynes. Ariel studied the effects of light pollution on firefly behavior and ecology. During her dissertation research, she trained homeowners, many from the Virginia Master Naturalist program, to census fireflies in their own backyards. She was also a part of Blandy's family firefly festival since its inception.