Julie Bailard

Echinacea Project 2019

Biology, Carleton College 2020

Research Interests

I am interested in community ecology, conservation genetics, and interspecific interaction, particularly in the context of pollination and reproduction. This winter, I had the wonderful opportunity to collect and analyze seed set data for Echinacea angustifolia, Solidago speciosa, and Liatris aspera with Team Echinacea. During that time, I came to wonder how the controlled burns used to maintain prairie fragments might influence plants’ interactions with their pollinators, potentially by altering the characteristics of plants’ floral displays in the year after the burn. This summer, I hope to explore other factors that could influence plant-pollinator interactions in prairie fragments.


I grew up in Menlo Park, California. In addition to studying biology as my major, I am a Cognitive Science minor with a focus on linguistics and neurobiology. I also enjoy learning languages, and while I’ve formally studied French, Spanish, and a little bit of Japanese, recently I’ve been trying my hand at teaching myself Korean. Outside of the classroom, I love to cook, knit, crochet, embroider, play clarinet, meditate with tai chi, and practice Muggle quidditch.

Shea Issendorf

Echinacea Project 2019

Alexandria Area High School. Graduating in 2020

Research Interests

I am interested in studying EVERYTHING! I am going into this summer with an open mind since this will be my first exposure to research outside of a high school classroom. Biology has always been my favorite subject in school and I am very excited to get to dive deeper into ecology and evolutionary plant biology. I’m hoping to gain a lot from this summer whether it be collection and analysis techniques, procedure planning, or just an overall better understanding of environmental science. I am eager to learn and can’t wait to get started!


I have lived in the Alexandria area for my whole life and Minnesota summers have always been my favorite part. I love to spend time out on the lake with my family and friends, fishing a lot and tubing as much as I can, but when I’m not on the lake, I’m playing soccer.  Sadly, our summers do only last about three months around here so I also try to travel as much as I can with my family. And lastly, I am still undecided but I would love to pursue Biology at the University of Minnesota in the fall of 2020.

(Here’s a photo of me … I’m on the right)

Amy Waananen

Echinacea Project 2019

PhD Student, Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior, University of Minnesota

Research Interests

I’m interested conservation biology, especially as it relates to pollination, phenology, movement ecology, and population genetics. For my dissertation, I’m studying pollinator-mediated gene flow and trying to figure out under what conditions pollinators maintain connectivity between plant populations in fragmented environments. I think a lot about how the processes that drive how species respond to habitat fragmentation vary among spatial and temporal scales.


I grew up in a suburb of the Twin Cities and currently live in the silver city of St. Paul. I started working with the Echinacea Project as an intern in 2015. In my free time, I like to spend time outside, read, garden, and go on walks with my dog Gooseberry!

Here’s me on a snowy day!


John Van Kempen

Hello Everyone: I just finished my 30th year of teaching/coaching and am looking forward to being outside during the summer months. I am currently getting ready to lead 14 students to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wildermess(BWCAW) for one week before i begin with the Echin Project. In my spare time i enjoy taking my two dogs (Lilly and Clyde) out for walks/runs, and spending time with my 4 children, ages 17- 22. I am interested in learning more about our local ecosystems in West central MN and learning about prairie plants.

Miyauna Incarnato

Echinacea Project 2019

Biology, The College of Wooster 2021

Research Interests: 

I am super fascinated with how life on this beautiful planet interacts and how truly interconnected everything is.  I am particularly interested in how these interactions, and the lose of certain interactions, affect the reproductive and developmental biology of organisms. What affects fertility, stem cells, organogenesis, the effects of fragmentation, ART, and more! Genetics and the process of life happening is so awesome, that I hope to study it in graduate school !


I was born and raised in Akron, Ohio. Along with being a biology major, I am also a Chinese minor and Education Licensure candidate at the College of Wooster. I love baking, hunting for great antique shops, trying fun food, and watching movies! I also enjoy hanging with my family, including my dogs, and exploring our urban parks. You can always find me singing, telling a story, or saying how cool science is.


Erin Eichenberger

Echinacea Project 2019

Majors in Biology & Environmental Science

The College of William & Mary, Class of 2019

Research Interests

Broadly I am interested in community ecology and population genetics for conservation. At my undergraduate institution I studied Asclepias syriaca, or common milkweed, another grassland plant. Through this work I learned about the genetic and phenotypic variation of plants within fine-scale habitats as well as the transmission of herbivory defense signals. This inspired my most recent interests in pollination ecology and nectar defense. I’m excited to investigate similar avenues within a new ecosystem and study species, as well as learn more about statistical analysis by working with the Echinacea Project’s long-term dataset!


I’m from Raleigh, NC and attended college in Williamsburg, VA, and am only a little terrified of the weather I’ll encounter in Minnesota and Chicago! As a birder I’ve spent my fair share of time chasing feathered things in blistering heat and freezing cold, and I’m eager to start learning new Midwestern birds. In addition to peering through binoculars and thumbing through field guides I love to draw, listen to podcasts and share trivia I learn while in the depths of a Wikipedia rabbit hole. I particularly enjoy observing the natural world while hiking and canoeing.

Asclepias is dead, long live Echinacea! 

Michael LaScaleia

Echinacea Project 2019

Biology and Environmental Studies, Tufts 2018

Starting a PhD in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at UConn in August 2019

Research Interests

My research interests are, like most researchers at this stage, all over the place, but in general I love anything that has to do with plants, insects, and landscapes. I’m a big fan of studying communities: not just one plant or insects, but all the plants or insects that are in a certain space. I’d also be lying if I said I didn’t have research interests that also go into soil, leaf chemistry, birds, mammals, and hydrology. I guess I just like nature?


Hello again flog! I know I write here about 1-2 times a week, but I thought it necessary that I should write a new intro for a new summer field season. I’m wrapping up my year here as the Echinacea Project’s intern at the Botanic Garden with a return to the summer field crew. I’m very excited to get out and work with the plants again! In my spare time, I like to hike, run, read fantasy, and play video games (hey Riley, wanna Pokemon battle?)

It’s -5 F in this picture


Jay Fordham

Echinacea Project 2019

Biology Major, Gustavus Adolphus College ’20

Research Interests

The the recent 2018 Nobel conference at Gustavus has gotten me interested in soil ecology. I want to know what goes on in post-agricultural and fractured prairie ecosystems and what the implications are for species richness and productivity underground.

Personal Interests

I am a Biology major minoring in Statistics and English from Waseca, MN. In my free time I like foraging for mushrooms, gardening, and anything that gets me outside. I also like making mixed media art, video games, and trying to learn Swedish.

Ren Johnson

Echinacea Project 2019

Biology Major, College of Wooster 2022

Research Interests

I hope to learn more about the interactions between echinacea and their pollinators, growth mechanisms that plants employ, and the environmental impact of fragmentation on flowering plant species as well as their pollinators. I aspire to obtain a PhD in botany and continue to research the environmental and molecular functions of plants.


I am from Medina, Ohio and enjoy gardening, running, biking, cooking, and reading. I also love to spend time in nature and am looking forward to working with echinacea and the rest of the research team!

Mia Stevens

Hey flog! I’m back!

Echinacea Project 2019

Biology, College of Wooster 2020

Research Interests:

In general I am interested in how plants interact with their surroundings, particularly the other plants in the system. I worked with Team Echinacea last year on a project attempting to determine how many pollen grains it takes to set a seed. Turns out it doesn’t matter and on the head a floret is that determines seed set! In the fall/this summer I will be starting my senior thesis/IS (independent study) with a plant called Coral Bean (Erythrina flabelliformis) in Arizona. I will be investigating how mating is affected by the amount of flowers on a plant and geographic/temporal distance between plants.

Personal Interests:

I am now a senior biology major with a minor in environmental studies at the College of Wooster. I am from Buffalo, NY. At school I am former president of knitting club, but recently I have really gotten into embroidery. I also enjoy spending time outside with my dog named Ellie.

Me last summer feeding one of the goats buckthorn

MEEC 2019:

On a different note another student from Wooster (Nate) and I presented at MEEC. We presented a poster on my pollen to seed ratios from my research last summer. As it turns out, pollen is not the limiting resource to determine seed set but instead the location of a floret on the flower head.

Nate and I at MEEC with our poster.

Link to poster:Pollen to Seed Poster

Title: Resources or pollen: examining seed set in a common prairie perennial.

Presented at: MEEC 2019 at Indiana State University in Terre Haute, IN

When: April 27, 2019