People

Laura Jurgens, Primary Investigator

Dr. Jurgens joined the faculty in the Department of Marine Biology at Texas A&M University Galveston (TAMUG) in January 2019. She is a core faculty member in the Marine Biology Interdisciplinary Program at TAMUG and in the Ecology and Evolutionary Biology (EEB) Interdisciplinary Doctoral Degree Program at Texas A&M (College Station). Dr. Jurgens received her Ph.D. in Ecology at the University of California Davis, where she studied impacts of extreme events on coastal marine populations and ecosystems. She then spent three years as a postdoc at Temple University, Smithsonian Environmental Research Center, and Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute studying latitudinal variation in species invasions. She also has a background in policy work and community organizing, and is a former community college transfer student. She is committed to increasing equity and inclusion in science, public engagement, and mentoring students with non-traditional backgrounds. Her research investigates processes that support ecological resilience at population, community, and ecosystem levels, and from local sites to latitudinal scales. Contact: jurgensL [at] tamug [dot] edu

Melissa Ciesielski, Senior Research Associate

Melissa joined the Jurgens Lab in February 2019, after completing 2 years as a Coastal Resource Management Peace Corps Volunteer in the Philippines. Prior to her Peace Corps service, she received a Master’s degree in Environmental Science from Western Washington University, where she studied the effects of sediment porewater and water column chemistry on eelgrass (Zostera marina). She is passionate about scientific communication and has a background in environmental education and outreach. Contact: mciesielski [at] tamug [dot] edu

Anika Agrawal, M.S. student

Anika joined the Jurgens lab in the fall of 2019 as a Master’s student after completing her Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Toxicology from the University of California, Davis. Passionate about understanding anthropogenic impacts on marine species, she is looking into the impacts of multiple environmental stressors on ecosystem function and resilience. She aspires to be a professor, an efficient science communicator, and an advocate for queer women of color in STEM.  Contact: anikaagrawal [at] tamu [dot] edu

Emily Hubbard, M.S. student

Emily joined the Jurgens Lab in the fall of 2019, after spending three years working in collaboration with UC Davis, California Fish and Wildlife, and NOAA on the captive breeding of an endangered abalone species in California. Prior to that she obtained a Bachelor’s degree in Biology from UC Davis. She is interested in the effects of multiple stressors on community resilience and passionate about bridging the gaps between agency and university research, and public understanding and engagement. Contact: eahubbard [at] tamu [dot] edu

Arani Cuevas-Sanchez, PhD student

Arani joined the Jurgens lab in Fall 2020 as a PhD student after receiving her Master’s in Biology from Washington State University, where she studied effects of environmental conditions on the behavior and activity of intertidal copepods (Tigriopus californicus). Her research interest is in Marine Ecophysiology. Arani previously worked in science education where she saw a need to increase accessibility to science and nature in underrepresented communities. Her non-traditional path through higher education combined with her experience in science communication inspired her to pursue a career in academia, where she hopes to encourage and support students of diverse backgrounds to pursue careers in STEM. Contact: arani.cuevassanchez [at] tamu [dot] edu