Student Research Assistants

The Institute for Water and Environmental Resilience is fortunate to have several hardworking student research assistants. Student assistants help with various tasks including landscape management, research projects, event planning, social media, and day-to-day activities at the Institute. A brief description about some of their individual research interests, goals and/or current activities is described below.

 Sarah-Kate Rines


I am working to create a sustainable shoreline management plan for the shoreline of the SSAC property. The idea is to use native plantings strategically to benefit the ecological processes of the surrounding environment as well as be aesthetically pleasing and useful to the people that use the property. In addition, there is also a focus on preventing and repairing erosion to the shoreline, especially the peninsula region on the southern end of the area.


Audrey Berlie


I am currently a Senior Water Challenge Ambassador for Earth ECHO International, where I am tasked with increasing the knowledge of the importance of water throughout my community. As a graduate of the Conservancy of Southwest Florida's Teen Internship Program, I have developed an interest in a variety of topics, including invasive species and wetland ecosystems. Through this organization, I also designed an independent research project about mangrove restoration and presented it to my community.


Brianna Vash

media/Brianna.jpgI am a junior at Stetson University as of Spring 2021. I have a double major in Aquatic & Marine Biology and Religious Studies. I am a Stetson Riverside Scholar at Riverside Conservancy in Edgewater, FL. My responsibilities include assessing water quality, conducting biological surveys of various properties, planting various plant species, monitoring plant growth, implementing online and in-person events, and converting seawalls into living shorelines and oyster reefs. After Stetson, I want to get a PhD in Marine Biology and aid in shark conservation efforts.


Laura Jones


I am a junior at Stetson University majoring in Aquatic and Marine Biology with a minor in education. At the SSAC, I am currently doing water analysis in order to create a hydrology and nutrient budget for Lake Beresford and the surrounding groundwater. This information will be used for reports in order to best inform others on the current water quality status of Lake Beresford. In addition, I help Dr. Corie Charpentier with her research on invertebrates and light pollution in order to see if invertebrate behavior changes due to changes in light type or intensity. This could help to inform future policies on light use near marine ecosystems.

Payton Havey 

media/Payton.jpgI am a senior environmental science major working with the Institute of Water and Environmental Resilience to help with the management of invasive species and installation of the "Plant This, Not That" project at the Sandra Stetson Aquatic Center. My senior research work is focused on the implementation of edible landscaping in neighborhoods within the city of DeLand. I am also working with the West Volusia Audubon Society to establish an Audubon Chapter at Stetson that aims at increasing the number of college-age environmentalists involved in the habitat protection and restoration efforts in Florida.

Sarah Gaudreault

media/Sarah.jpgI am a junior majoring in aquatic and marine biology with a minor in German. I am currently interning at the Riverside Conservancy in Edgewater, FL. Through the RSC, we hope to restore parts of the shoreline ecosystem by removing existing seawalls and replacing them with mangroves and oyster reefs to promote a healthier Indian River Lagoon. Our future projects include grant writing, aquarium implementation and filming educational videos regarding the detriments of seawalls. My interests in biology are not restricted to marine life: I am particularly interested in native plant life, and my senior research focuses on the northern spread of pentastome parasites in Floridian snake species.