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 fellow of the Oceanographic Observatories Initiatives Data Labs program, 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


Hayden Dubniczki is currently a senior pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Studies and a minor in East Asian Studies at Gettysburg College. She is acting 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. Hayden is developing content for this project, such as spotlights on diverse scientists and various ecological case studies. She also provides a student’s perspective in reviewing textbook materials.


Outside of the lab, Hayden enjoys tending to her succulents, learning new languages, and painting. Her most recent on-campus activities include 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 is a current junior pursuing an Environmental Studies and Chemistry double major at Gettysburg College. Her research project focuses on the food web of Lake Turkana, which is located in northern Kenya. The aim of this project is to use stable isotope and catch data to model the current structure of Lake Turkana’s food web in R, and to compare her findings to previously constructed food web models to determine how the system has changed due to hydrological development in the region.


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 is currently a junior pursuing an Environmental Studies and Public Policy double major, and Data Science minor at Gettysburg College. His research project focuses 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 is to use demographic data of published authors to further analyze collaboration between international and local scientists. 


Outside of lab, Alex enjoys traveling, trying new foods, and – most importantly – Greek dancing. His on-campus activities include being 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 at Gettysburg College. 




Fledged Students


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.