Monday, September 14, 2009

Featured Professional: Carol Stepien

Carol Stepien is the Director of the Lake Erie Research Center and Professor of Environmental Studies at the University of Toledo. Carol spent much of her childhood collecting salamanders and trilobite fossils in her hometown of Cleveland, Ohio, and there formed a lasting passion for aquatic ecology and evolution. She pursued her interests in marine biology by doing graduate and postdoctoral work in California, before returning to the Great Lakes region.

As director of the Lake Erie Center, Carol's goal is to build a think-tank for applied environmental research with the ultimate goal of improving environmental and public health in the Great Lakes region. Her busy lab at the university focuses on the conservation genetics of native fishes and the invasion genetics of dreissenid mussels, gobies, and ruffe. Carol enjoys mentoring her students, all of whom are outstanding, and is currently looking for new Ph.D. student applicants. Projects on the horizon include field trips to the Baltic Sea to work on Great Lakes invaders in their native range and to Australia to work on kelpfishes.

In addition to research, Carol is actively involved in outreach and high school education activities. Carol is the mother of Andrew and Anna, and her hobbies are SCUBA diving (she has logged over 1000 research dives), underwater photography, bicycling, and snow-skiing.