Our Team

Meet the Water Center's dedicated staff
Howard Neukrug

Howard Neukrug

Executive Director

hneukrug@upenn.edu

Bio

Howard Neukrug is the former Commissioner and CEO of Philadelphia Water, where he was responsible for all aspects of utility operations, environmental compliance, engineering, financing, budgeting, capital and strategic planning, customer service, human resources, and legal and policy decisions for its drinking water/wastewater/stormwater system serving 2.3 million people. At Penn, he is the director of the Water Center and teaching courses on the water industry and the role of water in urban sustainability and resiliency. He is also a Principal with CASE Environmental, LLC, where he provides consulting services to cities and utilities in urban planning, systems design, sustainability, organizational development, strategic planning and trends and innovations in the global water industry.
Meg Kramer

Meg Kramer

Director of Strategic Development

megkra@sas.upenn.edu

Bio

Meg comes to The Water Center at Penn with a recently earned Master of Environmental Studies (MES) from University of Pennsylvania, hands on experience with land conservation, watershed education and environmental sustainability at the local level and a keen interest in water issues. She combines her interest in water with management expertise developed through decades of business and entrepreneurial experience to help The Water Center at Penn achieve its vision of becoming the preeminent center that provides real world solutions to critical urban water problems.
Karl Russek

Karl Russek

Director of Programs and Applied Research

russek@sas.upenn.edu

Bio

Karl Russek has over 25 years of experience in the areas of legacy pollutants, natural resources damage assessment, emerging environmental risks, industry/regulatory interface, and stakeholder management in the United States and globally. He holds a Master of Science degree in Environmental Quality Science from the University of Alaska where he focused assessment and restoration of freshwater systems. He most recently founded and managed the international environmental business for a leading global insurer.
Swati Hegde

Swati Hegde

Senior Academic Research Coordinator

swatih@sas.upenn.edu

Bio

Swati joined the Water Center at Penn as a Senior Academic Research Coordinator and brings her applied and real-world oriented research expertise in multidisciplinary areas such as biotechnology, chemical engineering, and sustainability. Swati has several years of research experience in food-water-energy nexus, water and wastewater analysis, bioremediation of pollutants such as textile dyes, crude oil and organic compounds, algal blooms and energy production from wastewater. Her doctoral research focused on the conversion of food processing wastewater to biofuels such as ethanol and butanol, organic acids and biogas using fermentative technologies by using experimental and systems approach. Her research interests include integrated wastewater management, desalination, emerging pollutants and runoff issues.
Erica DePalma

Erica DePalma

Research Program Coordinator

edepalma@sas.upenn.edu

Bio

Erica DePalma is a Master of Applied Geosciences candidate with a focus in hydrology at the University of Pennsylvania. While in graduate school, she hopes to bridge her professional work at the Water Center at Penn with the technical and scientific skills she’ll be learning in the classroom. Ultimately, she seeks to contribute professionally to mitigating the strain systemic injustices have on ensuring access to plentiful high-quality drinking water. Erica holds a Bachelor of Science from Fordham University and her previous work experience includes natural resource stewardship and fluvial geomorphology research at the NYC Department of Environmental Protection.
Andrea Garay

Andrea Garay

Communications & Office Manager

agaray@sas.upenn.edu

Bio

Andrea joined us from the College of Liberal and Professional Studies at the University of Pennsylvania where she was an administrative assistant for three programs: Master of Chemical Sciences, Master of Environmental Studies, & Master of Science in Applied Geosciences. She possesses a Bachelor of Business Administration in Marketing and Logistics and Intermodal Transportation and a Master of Business Administration Concentration in International Business. Andrea’s previous work experiences range from raising money for foundations, handling customer service, sales and logistics for different businesses, and assisting faculty and students in different academic programs. At the Water Center, Andrea manages all offices and communications related duties including events, social media, website and graphics. Ultimately, she seeks to improve the visibility of the Water Center by efficiently communicating the importance of our mission and vision to the public.
Scott Moore

Scott Moore

Senior Fellow

Water Resource Specialist

Bio

Scott Moore is a political scientist whose work focuses on water politics and policy, especially in China and South Asia. Scott is currently a Senior Fellow at the Penn Water Center as well as Director of China Programs in the Office of the Provost at the University of Pennsylvania. Until 2018, Scott was a Young Professional and Water Resources Management Specialist with the World Bank Water Global Practice, where he co-led a study of China’s water sector with the Development Research Center of the State Council and was a co-author of two flagship reports, High and Dry: Climate Change, Water, and the Economy, and Uncharted Waters: the New Economics of Water Scarcity and Variability. Previously, Scott served as Environment, Science, Technology, and Health Officer for China at the U.S. Department of State, where he worked extensively on the Paris Agreement on climate change, and prior to that was Giorgio Ruffolo Post-Doctoral Research Fellow at Harvard University. He has published widely on the full range of global water issues in leading publications including Nature, Foreign Affairs, and The New York Times. He is also the author of Subnational Hydropolitics: Conflict, Cooperation, and Institution-Building in Shared River Basins, published in 2018 by Oxford University Press. Scott holds a doctorate in Politics and a master’s degree in Environmental Change and Management from Oxford University, where he was a Rhodes Scholar, and a bachelor’s degree from Princeton.
Byron Sherwood

Byron Sherwood

Senior Fellow

Senior Fellow

Bio

Originally trained as an oceanographer and microbial ecologist, Byron is broadly interested in understanding how the behavior and physiology of microorganisms influence ecosystem function and global biogeochemical cycles. For most of his career, Byron’s work took the form of quantifying how microscale interactions between bacteria and dissolved molecules or other microorganisms, for example, scale up to affect the global exchange of carbon (and carbon dioxide) between the ocean and atmosphere. Since joining the Department of Biology at Penn, Byron applied a similar systems biology approach to better understand the urban aquascape of Philadelphia and the ecology of human-microbe interactions. In collaboration with undergraduate students in the Department of Biology, the Partnership for the Delaware Estuary, the Penn Program in Environmental Humanities, and the Water Center at Penn, Byron’s research and teaching efforts are focused on understanding the ecological principles governing microbe-human interactions of urban aquatic ecosystems with an eye toward addressing some of the unique challenges faced by a socioeconomically and culturally diverse urban society.
Alison De Luise

Alison De Luise

Senior Advisor

adeluise@sas.upenn.edu

Bio

Alison applies 15 years of international development policy, program and partnership experience towards urban sustainability challenges.  She holds a Master in Environmental Management at Duke University where her research focused on how cities can harness green stormwater infrastructure investments to maximize delivery of other social, environmental and economic co-benefits. At WCP, Alison is developing holistic strategies to address interconnected water challenges faced by Pittsburgh’s Three Rivers communities.

Previous roles have included community development in Swaziland, representing the Australian government in Papua New Guinea’s Highlands, managing the agricultural productivity program for the Australian aid program, and leading strategic partnership development for an international research organization focused on safeguarding and use of agricultural biodiversity.

Stephanie Chiorean

Stephanie Chiorean

Senior Advisor

Advisor

Bio

Andrew Kricun

Andrew Kricun

Senior Advisor

Advisor

Bio

Andrew Kricun is a Senior Advisor at the Water Center at Penn working on various projects related to the Delaware River watershed. He is also a Senior Fellow with the US Water Alliance and a Senior Director with Moonshot Missions. Previously Andy was the Executive Director and Chief Engineer of the Camden County Municipal Utilities Authority, overseeing an 80 million gallon per day wastewater treatment plant in Camden, NJ. He graduated with honors from Princeton University with a degree in chemical engineering, holds a professional engineer’s license in civil engineering and is a board-certified environmental engineer. Andy serves on the New Jersey Environmental Justice Advisory Council and served on the board of the National Association of Clean Water Agencies as the chair of its Utility of the Future and Environmental Justice committees.
Joanne Dahme

Joanne Dahme

Senior Advisor

Advisor

Bio

Joanne most recently served as the Philadelphia Water Department’s Deputy Commissioner for Communications and Engagement (DCCE) and was responsible for developing and implementing strategies that enhanced PWD’s image, services and engagement with its customers, all residents, elected officials, media and key stakeholders. Joanne directed the planning, development and implementation of programs designed to inform and serve water, wastewater and stormwater customers and the public and to increase the PWD’s credibility and accessibility. In October 2019, Joanne established Mayfly Communications, a professional service that specializes in public engagement, education and communications around environmental policies and regulatory challenges with a focus on water resources.
Corey Wills

Corey Wills

Watershed Resource Analyst

Intern

Bio

Corey has a diverse background spanning food justice, grassroots organizing, mental health advocacy, and sustainable agriculture. She is currently pursuing a Masters of Environmental Studies degree at the University of Pennsylvania, where she is focusing on the creation and management of water and food systems which are both sustainable and just. Her professional goal is to implement equitable city planning practices which provide clean water, healthy food, and green spaces for all residents. Corey is joining The Water Center at Penn to provide geographic information systems analysis of Pennsylvanian watershed conservation efforts while also analyzing the best sites for green roofs on the University of Pennsylvania’s campus.
Rupika Ketu

Rupika Ketu

Watershed Resource Analyst

Research Assistant

Bio

Rupika is currently working towards a Master of Environmental Studies degree with a concentration in environmental biology. Her interests include water quality protection through ecological restoration and conservation, as well as microplastics. She recently received a grant from The Water Center to study microplastics contamination in Philadelphia’s freshwater tributaries. Prior to this Rupika was working in non-profit settings, analyzing and advocating for stronger watershed protection policies throughout the Delaware River Basin. She holds a B.S. in Environmental Policy, Institutions, and Behavior from Rutgers University. During her time at The Water Center, Rupika hopes to contribute her efforts to improve local water resources and develop the skills needed to become a water quality scientist.  
Zachary Villari

Zachary Villari

Watershed Resource Analyst

Research Assistant

Bio

Zachary Villari is currently a graduate student enrolled in the University of Pennsylvania’s Master’s in the Applied Geosciences Program pursuing a degree in hydrogeology. Prior to his time at UPenn, Zachary graduated from Franklin and Marshall College in Lancaster, PA with a Major in the Geosciences and a minor in Spanish. His interest in the water sciences led him to conduct undergraduate research at F & M where he investigated the source of an abnormal karst spring in Boiling Sprigs, PA. Most recently, Zachary has worked for the Environmental Integrity Project in Washington, D.C. as a research analyst intern where he worked on several projects involving the protection of major water sources from coal ash pollution. Zachary hopes to use his knowledge and love for the outdoors to thoroughly research what can be done to make the Delaware River safe and accessible for anyone who seeks to enjoy this historic body of water.

Volunteers

Mairead Helmes

Mairead Helmes

Volunteer

Bio

Mairead Helmes is a Master of Environmental Studies candidate at the University of Pennsylvania. Her research focus is on water sanitation and water policy. She plans to apply her education and field experience with the Water Center to bridge the knowledge gap between her employment in health care and her future career aspirations in the environmental industry. Mairead holds a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and a certificate in environmental policy from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. She currently works full time at Change Healthcare and volunteers for the Water Center as much as possible.
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