Human Capital

Peer Support Workers

The Peer Support Worker Program was created to promote awareness and provide outreach and education on topics and policies related to anti-harassment, discrimination, biases, and scientific integrity, and is led by the USGS Civility and Inclusion Council. For more information, please contact the Civility and Inclusion Council Chair (Tina Roberts-Ashby).

News and Events  |  Additional Information  |  Peer Support Workers


News and Events


Additional Information

» Employee Resources Matrix  8x11 version  |  11x17 version
» Civility & Inclusion Council (CIC)
» Internal Peer Support Resource Guide available via @theCore A-Z Index


Peer Support Workers

Region 1—North Atlantic-Appalachian   |   Region 2—South Atlantic-Gulf   |   Region 3—Great Lakes
Region 4—Mississippi Basin   |   Region 5—Missouri Basin   |   Region 6—Arkansas-Rio Grande-Texas-Gulf
Region 7—Upper Colorado Basin   |   Region 8—Lower Colorado Basin   |   Region 9—Columbia-Pacific Northwest
Region 10—California-Great Basin   |   Region 11—Alaska   |   Region 12—Pacific Islands


Region 1—North Atlantic-Appalachian

   National Center—Reston, VA

Anne Scott

Annie Scott

        ► Annie Scott, Physical Science Technician,, 703-648-6476

Annie Scott has served as a Peer Support Worker since the beginning of the pilot program in 2017 and feels that the program helps to promote a safe, positive, and inclusive workplace. She works in the Youth & Education in Science (YES) office within the Office of Science Quality and Integrity (OSQI).

Aleeza Wilkins

Aleeza Wilkins

        ► Aleeza Wilkins, Staff Scientist,, 703-648-6106

Aleeza Wilkins is a Staff Scientist with the Natural Hazards Mission Area in Reston, VA. In her current role, she supports the Science for Disaster Reduction federal interagency group and serves as the NHMA liaison for the USGS Mendenhall Fellowship Program. She also leads the FEVS Action Planning team for the mission area, striving to implement actions to improve team satisfaction over time. In that spirit, she is excited to join the PSW program to act as a connector between employees and the inclusion and integrity resources they need to thrive.


   Bird Banding Lab at Patuxent Wildlife Research Center—Laurel, MD

Jennifer Malpass

Jennifer Malpass

        ► Jennifer, 301-497-5804

I am passionate about increasing capacity for wildlife conservation by broadening the ranks of wildlife professionals as well as conservation stakeholders. Valuing diversity is the foundation of the business model for the wildlife profession. In the field, wildlife professionals manage landscapes for biological diversity. We work to maintain diverse habits and species, recognizing that diversity provides capacity to adapt to changing conditions. In interactions with stakeholders, we strive to uphold the public trust doctrine: all people share in the ownership of wildlife and all have a responsibility for it. In our workplaces, we collaborate in recognition that no single person or organization has all of the necessary resources- knowledge, personnel, or material- to effectively manage wildlife. I joined PSW in 2020 and have been a DOI Diversity Change Agent since 2018.


   Chesapeake Bay Activities—Annapolis, MD

Durga Ghosh profile picture

Durga Ghosh

        ► Durga Ghosh, Chemist,, 410-267-5750

Durga Ghosh is a Chemist at the U.S. Geological Survey MD-DE-DC Water Science Center in Baltimore.  In her current role as the Quality Assurance Coordinator for the Chesapeake Bay Partnership, she supports the water quality monitoring efforts of EPA funded programs.  She has been an active advocate of science learning and rarely misses an opportunity to mentor STEM promotion efforts.  She was a member of the Pennsylvania State University Climate and Diversity Committee for several years.  She hopes to us the PSW platform to promote awareness and provide resources for a safe and rewarding work environment.


   Maryland-Delaware-D.C. Water Science Center—UMBC Research Park in Balitmore, MD

        ► Lillian Gorman Sanisaca, Physical Scientist,, 443-498-5546


   Woods Hole Coastal and Marine Science Center—Woods Hole, MA 

        ► Elizabeth Pendleton, Geologist,, 508-457-2259

        ► Colleen Clark, Administrative Operations Assistant,, 508-457-2298

Bill Waite

Bill Waite

        ► Bill Waite, Research Geophysicist,, 508-457-2346

Bill Waite has been with the USGS since 1999, working as a member of the USGS Gas Hydrates Project.  The path from laboratory testing of pure gas hydrate to field tests of gas hydrate in nature has been littered with “teachable moments.”  The support and mentorship of Bill’s USGS peers have been instrumental in transmuting those moments into rewardingly educational opportunities.  The formalization of a Peer Support Program provides a wonderful resource to the USGS that Bill is excited to be a part of!

        ► Brian Buczkowski, Physical Scientist,, 508-457-2361

Brian Buczkowski is a Physical Scientist at the Woods Hole Coastal and Marine Science Center where he is the collections manager for the Samples Repository as well as lab manager for the Sediment Analysis Laboratory. Throughout his time at the USGS, he has been active in local, Bureau-wide, and interagency groups tasked with developing and implementing scientific collections management and data preservation strategies.  Brian joined the Peer Support Worker program in July 2020 as an opportunity to help promote a work environment where everyone feels safe, heard, and respected.


   Ohio-Kentucky-Indiana Water Science Center—Louisville, KY

Catherine Fargen

Catherine Fargen

        ► Catherine Fargen, Hydrologist,, 502-493-1945

Catherine started working for the USGS in 2011 as a student in the Sediment Lab in Louisville, KY. After graduating with a degree in Biology, Catherine continued to work in the Louisville office, but changed her focus to groundwater investigations. Catherine joined the Peer Support program because she thinks it is important to provide as many resources as possible and at every level in order to create a better work environment for everyone. 


   New York Water Science Center—Coram, NY

Chris Schubert

Chris Schubert

        ► Christopher Schubert, Hydrologist,, 631-736-0783 x109

Christopher Schubert is a Hydrologist with the USGS New York Water Science Center, where he serves as a Program Development Specialist. Over the years, Chris has been involved with many assessments of coastal groundwater and surface-water resources. These include studies to better understand public and environmental health concerns, and projects to help address flooding and other natural hazards. Formerly a Supervisory Hydrologist, Chris hopes to bring his past experience as a line supervisor to help the Peer Support Worker Program.

Banu Bayraktar

Banu Bayraktar

        ► Banu Bayraktar, Hydrologic Technician,, 631-736-0783 x143

Banu Bayraktar is a Hydrologic Technician at the NY Water Science Center and has been with the USGS since 2018. She works primarily on water quality projects, sampling groundwater and surface water all over Long Island. As a student at the University of Connecticut, she was a peer facilitator for the university's Women's Center where she was an advocate against gender based harassment on campus. Banu joined the PSW program to continue this kind of support work at the USGS and improve the workplace culture. 

Nicole Casamassina

Nicole Casamassina

        ► Nicole Casamassina, Hydrologic Technician,, 631-736-0783 x140

Nicole Casamassina has been a Peer Support Worker since August 2020.  Nicole started working for the USGS in 2016 as a volunteer at the New York Water Science Center in Coram, NY and then was in the Pathways Program later that year until 2019.  She is now a Hydrologic Technician and is responsible for assisting various projects within the center with her knowledge of GIS and Python.  She earned her Bachelor's degree in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences with a concentration in Meteorology and minors in Coastal Environmental Studies and Geospatial Science in 2017 from Stony Brook University and her Master's degree in Geography with a focus in Climate Science from Texas A&M University in 2019.  Nicole became a Peer Support Worker because she thinks it is important for those in their early career to promote a positive and healthy work environment from the very beginning of their time as a USGS employee. 

Natalie Cheung

Natalie Cheung

        ► Natalie Cheung, Hydrologic Technician,, 631-736-0783 x124

I am a Hydrologic Technician in Coram, NY.  My previous work experiences include teaching at the Science Museum of Long Island and as an animal care lab technician at Stony Brook University, as well as two Americorps terms with the New York State DEC and Hudson Valley Greenway Conservancy.

I have spent 4 years with the USGS focused on maintaining a real-time tide and continuous water-quality network throughout Long Island.  I am also currently involved in Microbial Source Tracking research to assess the geographical and biological origins of fecal contamination to Long Island embayments and in developing studies to better understand the occurrence of microplastics in the environment. 


   New York Water Science Center—Ithaca, NY

        ► Michael Buil, Hydrologic Technician,, 518-703-1876


   New York Water Science Center—Milford, PA

        ► Diana Phillips, Hydrologic Technician,, 518-285-5600

Diana Phillips is a Hydrologic Technician for the Milford, PA Office of the New York WSC. She started her career at the USGS during August 2019 as a student contractor. Immediately finding enthusiasm for the job, she applied for an open position to stay with the USGS and is eager to see how she grows within her career path. Diana received a B.S. in Environmental Science specializing in Sustainability Science and Policy, and a B.A. in Criminal Justice, from the University at Albany, SUNY, only a few months before starting her career at the USGS. Outside of her studies, she was an active volunteer in her community and takes passion in being a helping hand for others. Diana is excited to see how the Peer Support program grows, and wants to promote positivity and awareness on inclusive topics throughout the workplace.


   New York Water Science Center—Troy, NY

        ► Sabina Perkins, Hydrologic Technician,, 518-285-5678

        ► Jason Siemoin, Hydrologist,, 518-285-5623

        ► Liv Herdman, Hydrologist,, 518-285-5600

Liv became a peer support worker in August of 2020 in order to make the USGS as a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive workplace. She has benefited from the support of several mentoring programs for women in science over the course of her career and hopes that she can help others in the same way. 



Region 2—South Atlantic-Gulf


Amy Teague, Molly McLaughlin,
Hilary Stockdon, Jennifer Miselis

   Wetland and Aquatic Research Center—Gainesville, FL

        ► Amy Teague, Wildlife Bilogist,, 352-264-3558


   St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center—St. Petersburg, FL

        ► Molly McLaughlin, Microbiologist,, 727-502-8109

        ► Hilary Stockdon, Research Oceanographer,, 727-483-2870

        ► Jennifer Miselis, Research Geologist,, 727-502-8088



Region 3—Great Lakes

   Ohio-Kentucky-Indiana Water Science Center—Indianapolis, IN

Madelyn Messner

Maddie Messner

        ► Madelyn "Maddie" Messner, Hydrologic Technician,, 317-697-0009

Maddie became a Peer Support Worker in January 2020 for the Indianapolis office of the Ohio-Kentucky-Indiana WSC. She received her B.S. in Biology from John Carroll University and then spent some time as an Environmental Educator with the Cuyahoga Valley National Park. In order to pursue her passion of aquatic ecology she joined the lab of Dr. Tom Raffel at Oakland University and completed a Master’s degree in biology exploring the environmental drivers of freshwater parasites in Northern Michigan inland lakes. Maddie worked as a seasonal Hydrologic Technician for the BLM in Grants Pass, OR and as a seasonal Wildlife Technician for the US Forest Service in the Black Hills of WY as she pursued a career in federal service. She found her permanent federal home with the USGS and is very excited to bring her diverse background and positive outlook to her peers!


   Ohio-Kentucky-Indiana Water Science Center—Louisville, KY

Andre Ferguson

Andre Ferguson

        ► Andre Ferguson, Hydrologic Technician,, 502-493-1910

Andre Ferguson is a Hydrologic Technician at the OKI Water Science Center located in Louisville, KY and has been with the USGS since 2018. He primarily focuses on surface water sampling, while occasionally helping with water quality and groundwater projects. Andre is originally from the state of Minnesota, where he graduated with a B.S. in Biology. Throughout his first couple years with the survey, he recognized the positive impact of the PSW program. In his view, the workplace culture had improved and become more inclusive, as a result of this program. Andre hopes to continue the work of the PSW program to create a more inclusive environment in his workplace, as well as throughout the Survey.


   Ohio-Kentucky-Indiana Water Science Center—Columbus, OH

Sarah Homan

Sarah Homan

        ► Sarah Homan, Hydrologic Technician,, 614-430-7789

Sarah started her career at the USGS as Hydrologic Technician in 2018, at the Columbus, Ohio office of the Ohio-Kentucky_Indiana Water Science Center. She received B.S. degrees Geology and Earth Science from Muskingum University. She completed two terms of National Service with the AmeriCorps program in rural Appalachia where she focused on acid mine drainage abatement and treatment, watershed restoration, community outreach, and environmental education. Sarah joined the Peer Support program in February 2020 and is excited to help the USGS foster a safe, inclusive, and diverse environment for all employees. 


   Integrated Information Dissemination Division—Middleton, WI

        ► Jake Zwart, Data Scientist,, 608-821-3897

Jake Zwart is a Mendenhall Postdoctoral Fellow in the Data Science Branch of the Integrated Information Dissemination Division. Jake's research is aimed at describing aquatic biogeochemical processes and predicting how these processes may respond to future global change. Currently, Jake's research focuses on producing short-term forecasts of lake and stream temperature at regional scales. Outside of the his work at USGS, Jake helps lead a Wikipedia editing group that aims to improve the quality and quantity of free aquatic information. 



Region 4—Mississippi Basin

   Wetland and Aquatic Research Center—Lafayette, LA

Lori Randall

Lori Randall

        ► Lori Randall, Biologist,, 337-266-8665

Lori Randall is a biologist at the Wetland and Aquatic Research Center in Lafayette, LA. She began her career at the Center in 1990 working for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and transitioned to the USGS in 1996 following a reorganization within the Department of Interior. Since that time, she has worked as a support scientist on studies of bird-habitat relations that include the use of weather radar to determine landscape-scale habitat needs of migrating and wintering birds.  Lori became a PSW because it was an opportunity to work with colleagues and promote a positive and rewarding workplace.



Region 5—Missouri Basin

   Dakota Water Science Center—Bismarck, ND

Benjamin York

Benjamin York

        ► Benjamin York, Associate National Map Liaison for North and South Dakota/National Water Use Science - Water Use Data Liaison,, 701-250-7424

Hello, my name is Benjamin York in Bismarck, ND with the Dakota Water Science Center. I am originally from Illinois, just outside of Chicago, but have lived in North Dakota since 2012. I started with the USGS in January 2017 as a Hydro tech student and converted to a full time Hydrologist in September of 2017. While a student I was finishing up my Masters in Geology from University of North Dakota. While in college I was employed as a student teacher, and also as a Resident Assistant in the dorms. I look forward to working alongside fellow Peer Support Workers enhancing the skills that I learned as a Resident Assistant. I really enjoy getting to know new people and look forward to being of greater help to my center and all those that approach me. Besides work, I’ve been married to my lovely wife since July of 2018, and we are pretty active in our church. I also play on quite a few volleyball teams and can frequently be found outside working in the yard/garden (assuming there isn’t snow!).


   Dakota Water Science Center—Rapid City, SD

Kammy Durham profile picture

Kammy Durham

        ► Kammy Durham, Hydrologic Technician,, 605-394-3228

Kammy Durham is a Hydrologic Technician with the Dakota Water Science Center in Rapid City, SD.  Her primary duties includes streamflow measurements with general streamgaging duties, water quality sampling and she also serves as her centers Outreach Coordinator.  She is excited to be a part of the Peer Support program and all the great changes it will bring to her agency.



Region 7—Upper Colorado Basin

   Denver Federal Center—Lakewood, CO

        ► Jessica Driscoll, Hydrologist,, 303-236-4979


   National Climate Adaptation Science Center—Salt Lake City, UT

        ► Elda Varela Minder, Research Associate,, 801-908-5009


   Southwest Biological Science Center—Moab, UT

Hilda Smith

Hilda Smith

        ► Hilda Smith, Biological Science Technician,, 435-719-2332

Hilda J. Smith began her career with the U.S. Geological Survey in 2006 and during that time has worked in multiple states, ecological environments, and on numerous projects. Hilda started out as a project lead on a National Program for Amphibian Research and Monitoring Initiative and migrated towards soil and plant ecology projects. Plant and soil science has given her experience with complex equipment and experimental design. Hilda quickly took on leadership tasks both in the field and in the laboratory setting. She has been recognized numerous times during her career for her ability to organize projects, supplies, and numerous conflicts to meet deadlines in support of USGS Station tasks, grant requirements, and center level goals. During her thirteen years with the USGS she has been awarded both Individual STAR Awards and Group Awards. In 2015, Hilda was awarded an Individual Safety Award in Reston. She is a Peer Support Worker promoting awareness and providing outreach and education on topics and related policies to anti-harassment, discrimination, biases, and scientific integrity. Everyone who works with Hilda recognizes her exceptional skill in project planning and logistics and her positive, helpful, and supportive approach to science support is a huge benefit to all projects and teams of which she is a part.


   Utah Water Science Center—Salt Lake City, UT

John Solder

John Solder

        ► John Solder, Hydrologist,, 801-908-5044

John Solder is a Hydrologist based out of Salt Lake City where he started as a student employee in 2011. John’s research interest include groundwater surface water interaction, tracer and isotope chemistry, and investigation of groundwater system function through data from natural discharge points (springs and baseflow) and large datasets. Discovering an interest in water and outdoor pursuits early in life, John is grateful to explore these passions in his career. After much self-learning in his early days with the USGS he is excited to mentor others and help guide them to the available resources to improve their personal and professional lives.



Region 8—Lower Colorado Basin

   Flagstaff Science Campus—Flagstaff, AZ

Patty Garcia

Patty Garcia

        ► Patricia "Patty" Garcia, Computer Scientist,, 928-556-7246

Patty is a career USGS employee. She works for the Astrogeology Science Center at the USGS Flagstaff Science Campus in Arizona.  Patty has spent much of her career working on archiving planetary data from a variety of NASA missions including Cassini, MESSENGER, Mars Odyssey, and others.  She is currently Principal Investigator on a NASA-funded project to archive data products from the Lunar Mapping and Modeling Program (LMMP). In addition to her regular duties, Patty is also a facilitator for Bystander Intervention Training classes and serves on the USGS Diversity Council.



Region 9—Columbia-Pacific Northwest

Sharbra Gordon-Scott


   Washington Water Science Center—Tacoma, WA

        ► Sharbra Gordon-Scott, Budget Analyst,, 253-552-1698

Sharbra started with the USGS Washington Water Science Center 2010 as a HR Liason/Administrative Operation Assist for WA State, and previously worked in Human Resources/Accounting for 10 years in previous City Government.  She is currently a Budget Analyst for WA WSC.  She loves to work with people and numbers.  She is grateful to have this opportunity to be a resource for her peers and agency.


Jennifer Morace profile picture 2

Jennifer Morace

   Oregon Water Science Center—Portland, OR

        ► Jennifer Morace, Hydrologist,, 503-251-3229



Region 10—California-Great Basin

   Quaternary Paleoenvironmental Research Laboratory—Menlo Park, CA

Lysanna Anderson

Lysanna Anderson

        ► Lysanna Anderson, Research Geologist,, 650-329-4972

Dr. Anderson was led to ecological science by a fascination with the incredible diversity of ecosystems that comprise our planet. She witnessed firsthand in Asia, Africa, South America, and in Western North America, the impact of human land use practices and the challenges of sustainable development. In particular, she saw the impact and issues on decision making, risk assessment, and policy that arise from a view of ecological dynamics that is restricted to historical time scales. Her research interests center on understanding ecosystem change on millennial to decadal time scales, and in making that understanding useful and available to managers, planners, and other stakeholders in order to help facilitate sustainable land use practices. In addition to her professional interest, Lysanna loves to kayak with her daughter, is a Peer Support Worker for the GMEG Science Center, and is learning to play piano.


   California Water Science Center—San Diego, CA

Meghan Dick profile picture

Meghan Dick

        ► Meghan Dick, Hydrologist,, 619-225-6154

Meghan is hydrologist with the California Water Science Center in San Diego, CA.  She started her career with the USGS in 2015 as a student trainee and was converted to a hydrologist position after finishing graduate school.  Her current focus is managing groundwater availability and use studies in southern California and assisting with groundwater modeling projects.  Originally hailing from Florida, she worked as a marine biologist on coral reef mapping projects with the University of Miami before transitioning to water quality and Integrated Water Resource Management work at Florida International University. Meghan is looking forward to being able to serve as a helpful resource for her peers and to continue building a positive work environment at the CAWSC.



Region 11—Alaska

   Alaska Science Center—Anchorage, AK

Ryan Toohey

Ryan Toohey

        ► Ryan Toohey, Physical Scientist,, 907-865-7802

Ryan has worked for over 20 years in water resources specializing in interdisciplinary applications of hydrology, water quality, ecosystem services, and governance from the tropics to Alaska.  His current position with the US Geological Survey, Alaska Climate Adaptation Science Center includes research that involves investigating environmental change, hydrological modeling, and community-based research that integrates Indigenous Knowledge, social, water and soils science.  Over the past 10 years, Ryan has been investigating permafrost dynamics and their relationships to changes in water biogeochemistry of small and large rivers within the Alaskan and Yukon Boreal forest.  Ryan received his PhD in Environmental Science (Hydrology) from University of Idaho and his BSc in Environmental Science (Water Quality) from Western Washington University.  Ryan has served as a Diversity Change Agent since 2014 with the additional role of the Alaska Region Peer Support Worker starting in 2019.


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