Led by Laura Lautz, EMPOWER is a team of over 40 people, including the leadership team, affiliated faculty, staff, graduate students, and external advisors. Browse our full directory below, which includes the leadership team and our graduate student trainees, or check out the information about our affiliated faculty and external advisors.

Photo of Christopher Scholz

Christopher Scholz

Professor, Earth Sciences

Scholz’s research focuses on recovering records of past climate from lake basins, and on the sedimentary basin analysis of extensional systems, with emphasis on lacustrine basins. Current research efforts are concentrated on the large lakes of tropical Africa and the Finger Lakes of Central New York. Lake basins contain some of the highest quality archives of climate change on the continents, and new drill core records from the low-latitude lakes of Africa are revealing new details about the Pleistocene record of climate change.…

Photo of Riley Sessanna

Riley Sessanna

MS, Earth Sciences

Riley attended SUNY Geneseo where he earned a Bachelor of Arts in Geology. He also has a strong background in mathematics and physics which inspired him to pursue the study of Hydrogeology.  He now works with Christa Kelleher in the Department of Earth Sciences as a Master’s Student.  His interests are widespread, but he is currently studying a local stream in Syracuse, connecting patterns of hydrology and biogeochemistry through field measurements and aerial imaging.

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Donald Siegel

Emeritus Professor, Earth Sciences

Donald Siegel’s career spans over 40 years of doing research, consulting and teaching on problems related the aqueous geochemistry and hydrogeology of natural and contaminated waters. He earned his BS in Geology from the University of Rhode Island, his MS in Geology at Penn State University, and his PhD in Hydrogeology from the University of Minnesota.…

Photo of John “J.R.” Slosson

John “J.R.” Slosson

MS, Earth Sciences

J.R. received his Bachelor of Arts in economics and Juris Doctor from the University of Virginia. He spent five years practicing law in a prominent New York City law firm before deciding to return to school to pursue a long-held passion for the natural world and the geosciences at Syracuse University. He is studying stream erosion rates in the Argentinian Andes using cosmogenic nuclides under the advisement of professors Greg Hoke and Laura Lautz.…

Photo of Alexa Stathis

Alexa Stathis

PhD, Chemistry

Alexa is a third year PhD student in the Department of Chemistry working for Dr. Tara Kahan. Her primary research interests include understanding the environmental fate of atmospheric and aquatic pollutants. Currently, her research focuses on understanding the fate of organic, aromatic pollutants in snow, ice and natural waters. Alexa received her Bachelor’s in chemistry from Stonehill College in 2014.