|Michael J. Camasso, Ph.D., is co-founder of NtN and a professor of agricultural, food and resource economics at the School of Environmental and Biological Sciences at Rutgers University. Dr. Camasso is a Fulbright Scholar whose work on social and human capital development has been recognized nationally and internationally. He has authored three books and his many publications have appeared in economics and public policy journals. Dr. Camasso is a recipient of the American Association of University Professors’ Richard W. Laity Academic Leadership Award, the Frank R. Breul Memorial Prize from the University of Chicago, and an NIMH Promising Investigator Award. He has served as a naturescape and reclamation consultant to private companies like Beneficial Finance, UNIMIN Corporation, MBNA Bank, Johnson & Johnson Health Systems and government agencies including the Delaware State Park system.||
Photo by Nick Romanenko/Rutgers Focus
|Radha Jagannathan, Ph.D., is co-founder of NtN and a professor of urban planning and policy development at the Edward J. Bloustein of Planning and Public Policy, Rutgers University. Dr. Jagannathan received her doctorate from Princeton University in public and international affairs. She is a Fulbright Scholar whose research on poverty, child welfare and human capital development has received international attention and has been published in prestigious economics and social science journals. Her other academic awards include the Jerome G. Rose Distinguished Teaching Award, the DAAD Award from the American- German Scholar Exchange Program, and the Frank R. Breul Memorial Prize. Dr. Jagannathan is an avid bird watcher and has conducted research on inter-species competition among cavity-nesting birds. Her love for birds and butterflies has guided her design of several butterfly and hummingbird gardens.|
Jessica Varela, is a New Brunswick Health Science and Technology High School alumna, who graduated from Rutgers University in 2012 with a B.A. She serves as the Nurture thru Nature Project Coordinator. She is fluent in both Spanish and English. Born and raised in New Brunswick, Jessica volunteers with the Student Liaison Outreach Team (SLOT) program designed to help New Brunswick high school students with leadership and character skills. She enjoys tutoring students in math, reading and science. She is also an alumna of the Rutgers Saturday Program, Johnson & Johnson’s Bridge to Employment Program and the Rutgers Upward Bound Program. She graduated from Walden University in 2015 with a Masters in Business Administration.
Rachel Yepez received a B.A. in Biology with special focus on genetics from Ramapo College of New Jersey. She currently serves as the Nurture thru Nature’s Lead Science Teacher. She is an accomplished artist whose favorite subjects include bird life, insects and ecological scenes. Her previous experience working with the 4-H program provided her with a venue to blend both scientific and artistic interests to help educate young elementary and middle school students. Rachel’s work at NtN has helped students to realize their artistic potential as they experience the wonders of science and nature.
Marlene Varela is currently an undergraduate student at the School of Arts and Sciences at Rutgers University. She is hoping to pursue a degree in Psychology and Business. She was born and raised in New Brunswick and attended the Health Sciences Technology High School in New Brunswick. She also attended the Rutgers ODASIS Saturday Program throughout high school. Marlene is fluent in both English and Spanish. Her main goal is to give back to the community where she was raised. She enjoys helping others and helping the students at NtN is just the beginning for her.
Alexus Williams is an undergraduate student at the School of Environmental and Biological Sciences at Rutgers University. She is currently pursuing a bachelor’s degree in environmental and business economics. Prior to attending Rutgers, Alexus worked as a camp counselor at Blessed Sacrament Summer Camp in Bridgeport, Connecticut. From this, she gained experience in child management and uses this knowledge to motivate the children enrolled in NtN. With her love for math and science, Alexus plans to encourage the children to love these subjects as well. After graduating, she plans on furthering her education and will pursue a career in business or law.
Molly Coon is a graduate student pursuing her Masters in City and Regional Planning at the Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy. Her concentrations include community development and urban design. She received her B.A. in Architecture from the University of Kentucky in 2012. Prior to coming to Rutgers, Molly was a Teach For America Corps Member in South Arkansas where she taught ninth grade math.
Nikhila Manchikanti is an undergraduate student at the School of Nursing at Rutgers University. She is pursuing a bachelors in nursing and hopes to obtain a Doctorate of Nursing Practice (DNP). In her free time, she loves to read, play the piano and guitar, and volunteer. She currently works as a Research Assistant on a project that assesses the impact of high energy drinks in different populations. She is also involved with Rutgers Dance Marathon, NSNA, Nursing Senate, Habitat for Humanity, Alpha Phi Omega, and the Leadership and Experiential Department. Her experiences have driven her passion to give back to her community and help instill a love for science in the children enrolled in NtN. She believes that science shapes our world and that we should encourage a love for science and STEM education in general at an early age.