Focused on promoting environmental literacy through informal learning experiences, Neal previously worked in exhibit development and management at the Mystic Aquarium and was a design associate with Kent+Frost Landscape Architecture, also in Mystic, CT. He has long investigated biological influences on design, particularly the ways in which pattern, form and living elements in the built environment can promote human health and well-being. Neal holds a BS in Biology from the University of Connecticut, an MA in Zoology from Connecticut College and an MLA from the University of Massachusetts.
Jen can assist with the following remote services:
- Incorporating sustainability into your project
- Biomaterials advice
- Navigating scientific information as it applies to your work
- Ecosystem thinking
Jen is an ecologist and marine scientist who works in the fields of sustainability, regenerative and biophilic design, recognizing the potentially transformative work that can result from merging science|nature with art|design methods of inquiry and exploration. With a BS in Biology from Eckerd College, and a Ph.D. in Marine Science from the College of William and Mary/Virginia Institute of Marine Science, her work has focused broadly on human-nature connections, believing that a conservation ethic is best inspired by deep engagement with the natural world. Her past experience includes working on Capitol Hill as a natural resources legislative assistant, coastal resource management work for the state of Virginia, and teaching college level courses on a variety of topics including aquaponics, biomaterials, sustainable design, biology, ecology and marine science. She is currently the Biological Programs Designer at Rhode Island School of Design’s Nature Lab, where she teaches and mentors students on diverse art|design|science topics in addition to overseeing the design, construction and programs of the new BioDesign Makerspace. She has served as faculty in the Liberal Arts, Interior Architecture, Textiles and Industrial Design departments at RISD.
Betsy Sara Ruppa
Betsy can assist with the following remote services:
- Information about natural history specimens (especially those from our collection)
- Purchasing information if you’re interested in buying your own specimens
- Providing updates on our Nature Lab animal residents
- Information about collection management and specimen preparation
- Historical information about the Nature Lab and its founder Edna Lawrence
- Identifying shells, flowers, seeds, and other types of specimens
- Guidance on plant propagation and care; guidance on animal care
- Information about working as an undergraduate student monitor at the Nature Lab
Betsy has a BFA in Painting and Drawing with a minor in Art History from the University of Wisconsin, and an MFA in Printmaking from Washington University in St Louis. She has a lifelong interest in animals and nature in general. Before coming to the Nature Lab, Betsy worked as a Master Printer for the Charles Bevan Press, was active at the Providence Animal Rescue League where she volunteered, served on the Executive Board and was Interim Executive Director. Her specific interests include human anatomy for artists, conchology and entomology.
Ben can assist with the following remote services:
- 3D scans of available Nature Lab specimens and other nature-related subject matter
—High resolution scans of smaller subjects using the Artec Spider
—Lower resolution, larger subjects using iPad Structure Sensor
- Photography of available Nature Lab specimens and other nature-related subject matter
—High resolution/low magnification photographs using the Macropod
—10-50X magnified images using Stereomicroscope
—High resolution images of relatively 2D subject matter using Epson flatbed scanner
- High speed (slomo) videos of available subject matter using the Edgertronic camera
- Advice, consultation, and conversation on various topics related to natural history, ecology, biology, microscopy, and especially entomology (insects)
- Identifying insects and other arthropods and animals
Benedict is an enthusiastic observer of the smaller scale natural world, and greatly enjoys introducing others to the teeming diversity that abounds under a magnifying lens. He holds a BS in Ecology & Evolutionary Biology and an MS in Entomology from the University of Connecticut. His research focused on the biosystematics of smoky moths (Zygaenidae) as well as false rarity in butterflies, but teaching biology and entomology has become his greatest passion. Benedict particularly enjoys the insights, ideas, and inspiration that can be drawn from nature when viewed from unique perspectives, in differing contexts, and with dissimilar biases. Outside of nature and science, Benedict is a performing folk musician currently researching the traditional music of RI.
Georgia can assist with the following remote services:
- Any advice or questions concerning Nature Lab technology
- Geographical Information Systems (GIS) at a limited capacity
Georgia Rhodes is a Providence-based artist by way of the Midwest. She holds an MFA in Photography from the University of Georgia and a BFA in Art Education from Michigan State University. She has taught college-level photography and video courses and has experience in many different facets of professional photography. Georgia’s work focuses on the landscape of any current living situation. Her interests include observing the way people make images and record their world, and as a fine artist, she explores the way human anxiety causes us to interact with the natural environment.
As an individual interested to multiple disciplines, Dora enjoys pursuing different ways of thinking, learning, and making. She graduated from the Brown|RISD Dual Degree Program in 2015, where she studied Furniture Design at RISD and Environmental Science at Brown University. Her pursuits are drawn from her relation to the human body and nature as her sense of home. She works to capture these in her abstract vision of human and environmental conditions. She enjoys investigating and researching our existence scientifically and aesthetically, hoping to bridge the gap in our perceived differences. Through 2D and 3D material exploration, she also aims to understand and express how humans can coexist and live within the natural systems in our environments.
Industrial Design '20
Gonzalo Nunez Galetto
Digital + Media '20
Industrial Design '20
Nature-Culture-Sustainability Studies '20