Dr. Ray lecture series resumes with focus on Mahoning River

The Dr. Ray Energy and Environment Speaker Series at Youngstown State University resumes this week with a virtual presentation by Brendan O'Leary, community science fellow on a project to create a water sampling network for the Mahoning River Watershed.
The free lecture, titled “A community science approach to assessing the water chemistry of tributaries in the Mahoning River Watershed,” is 7 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 17, via Zoom (meeting ID 910 4476 1836, and passcode Mahoning). 

The lecture series is in memory of Ray Beiersdorfer, YSU Distinguished Professor of Geology and commonly known as Dr. Ray on campus. He started the free lecture series in 2013 and died in October 2018 following a heart attack on campus.

O’Leary earned an undergraduate degree from Allegheny College in Pennsylvania, where he double majored in Environmental Science and Environmental Geology. He went on to receive a master’s in Geology at Wayne State, where he is now a PhD candidate. He also worked as a field geologist for the environmental consulting firm, Arcadis, and currently is conducting research on urban groundwater with Health Urban Waters and Transformative Research in Urban Sustainability Training programs at Wayne State.
O’Leary is community science fellow with “The Assessing the Water Chemistry of Tributaries in the Mahoning River Watershed” project that also includes YSU faculty members Colleen McClean and Felicia Armstrong. 

The project seeks to partner with the local science community to develop an independent surface water sampling network. Outputs of the project include developing a community database for surface water sampling, expanding community outreach on local water chemistry, and mapping the sampled tributaries and surface water bodies. The project also seeks to facilitate an understanding of chemicals of concern in local water bodies and relate them back to municipal reporting for a better understanding of the Mahoning water resources.