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Natasha (Tasha) Gownaris is an Assistant Professor in the Environmental Studies Department at Gettysburg College. Tasha has an undergraduate degree in Environmental Studies and Biology (Gettysburg), a PhD in Marine Sciences (Stony Brook University), and a post-doc in Biology from the University of Washington. Tasha's research focuses on the foraging ecology of fishes and seabirds.


In addition to her research, Tasha is passionate about conservation, open science, promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion in science and academia, and teaching students data literacy skills. She is currently the co-lead of the Global Young Academy Open Science Working Group, a member of the Lake Turkana Advisory Group, an Associate Editor of the open access journal Ecological Solutions and Evidence, and a member of the IUCN Penguin Specialist Group.

Tasha is also really into hanging out with her adopted Dusky Conures, cooking, and hiking.


Twitter: @TashaGownaris


Current Students


Kaiulani Sund is a current senior pursuing an Environmental Studies major with a Data Science minor. Her research project focuses on the diet flexibility of common and Arctic terns in the Gulf of Maine. The aim of this project is to examine if terns with a higher diet flexibility will have higher reproductive success which will be determined by chick growth and fledge status. Fine temporal scale provisioning data along with sea surface temperature data will provide insight into diet items and ocean conditions.

Outside of lab, Kaiulani enjoys horseback riding, reading and movie nights with friends. Her on-campus activities include being Public Relations for Gettysburg Environmental Concerns Organization (G.E.C.O) and the Gettysburg Equestrian Team. 



Jehan Mody is a current junior pursuing an Environmental Studies and Biology double major at Gettysburg College. His research project will focus on comparing egg shell and isotope data among three seabird species in the Gulf of Maine. He will look at the timing of egg laying and the effect it has on chick growth and survival and observe these factors across species.


Outside of lab, Jehan is an avid soccer fan and enjoys hiking and producing music on his computer. His on campus activities include serving as the President of the Biosphere club, being a Community Advisor for the ResEd office, and working as a Fitness Attendant at the Jaeger Center. 



Fledged Students


Hayden Dubniczki graduated from Gettysburg College in 2022 with a major in Environmental Studies and a minor in East Asian Studies. She acted as assistant to Dr. Natasha Gownaris and Dr. Andy Wilson, who received a grant from PA GOAL to develop an open textbook for intermediate-level ecology courses. In this role, Hayden developed spotlights on diverse scientists to include as case studies in the OER. She also provided a student’s perspective in reviewing textbook materials. Hayden is now pursuing a Master in Environmental Management at Duke University.


Outside of the lab, Hayden enjoys tending to her succulents, learning new languages, and painting. Her on-campus activities while at Gettysburg included working as a Chinese tutor, managing responsibilities as an active member of Alpha Omicron Pi Fraternity, and leading hiking/kayaking expeditions as a GRAB (Gettysburg Recreational Activities Board) student facilitator. When she’s not in the library, you can find her caring for her White’s Tree Frog.



Julia Sharapi graduated from Gettysburg College in 2022 with a major in Environmental Studies and Chemistry. Her research at Gettysburg focused on the food web of Lake Turkana, which is located in northern Kenya. The aim of this project was to use stable isotope data to model the current structure of Lake Turkana’s food web in R, and to compare these results to previously constructed food web models to determine how the system has changed due to hydrological development in the region. Julia recently joined the Capps lab at the University of Georgia, where she was also selected for an assistantship with the Center for Applied Isotope Studies.


Outside of lab, Julia loves finding new places to hike, reading, and staring new art projects. Her on campus activities include being a student worker in the Office of Student Scholarly Engagement, serving on the Honor Commission, and being a Community Advisor for the college’s ResLife office. She can often be found around the library or on a couch eating a bagel.



Alexandros Economou-Garcia graduated from Gettysburg College in 2022 with a double major in Environmental Studies and Public Policy. His research at Gettysburg focused on analyzing trends of parachute science in field work. Parachute Science is the practice of non-local scientists “dropping-in” and conducting research without including and/or crediting local scientists and communities. The aim of this project was to use demographic data of published authors to further analyze collaboration between international and local scientists. Alex now works in Sustainability Strategy at the consultancy Environmental Resources Management.


Outside of lab, Alex enjoys traveling, trying new foods, and – most importantly – Greek dancing. at Gettysburg, he was Secretary for Gettysburg Environmental Concerns Organization (G.E.C.O.), Vice President of the International Affairs Association, a participant in the Eisenhower Institute’s Strategy and Leadership in Transitional Times program (SALTT), and an avid supporter of diversity and inclusion. 



Megan Keene graduated from Gettysburg College in 2021 with a major in Environmental Studies and a minor in Biology. Her honors thesis focused on quantifying ecosystem service trade-offs within marine priority areas using spatial analysis in GIS and statistical analysis in R. Megan aimed to understand the impacts of ecosystems services on coral reefs and their tourism value.

Since graduating, Megan has started an environmental consulting position with Eastern Research Group, Inc.


In her free time, Megan enjoys scuba diving, traveling, and underwater photography. Her on-campus activities included being a Varsity Athlete on the Women’s Swim Team, Research Assistant in the Economics Department, Senior Career Ambassador for the Center for Career Engagement, Peer Learning Associate for Ecology and Geographic Information Systems, Global Leader of Gettysburg College, member of the Eisenhower Institute’s Environmental Leadership program, Secretary of Chi Omega, Member of Order of Omega, Member of GECO, and a committee member of the College Life Advisory Committee.


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