Yanna Lambrinidou is a medical ethnographer and adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Science and Technology Studies (STS) at Virginia Tech. For the past 7 years, she has conducted research on the historic 2001-2004 Washington, DC lead-in-drinking-water contamination. This work exposed wrongdoing and unethical behavior on the part of local and federal government agencies. In 2010, Dr. Lambrinidou co-conceived the graduate level engineering ethics course "Engineering Ethics and the Public." She is co-PI on a National Science Foundation (NSF) research and education project developing an ethnographic approach to engineering ethics education.
William Rhoads is a PhD student in Civil & Environmental Engineering at Virginia Tech working with Dr. Marc Edwards and Dr. Amy Pruden. His research focuses on various aspects of opportunistic pathogens in potable and hot water plumbing systems and implications of green buildings on public health. William is currently the vice-president of a joint American Water Works Association and Water Environment Federation graduate student group and is the recipient of the Via Doctoral Fellowship.
Siddhartha Roy is a PhD student in Civil & Environmental Engineering at Virginia Tech. His research focuses on factors leading to failures in drinking water infrastructures; in particular, erosion corrosion of copper pipes in hot water systems. His advisor is Dr. Marc Edwards.
Erin Heaney has led the Clean Air Coalition of Western New York (CACWNY) since 2009. She ran the grassroots campaign against Tonawanda Coke Corporation (TCC) that resulted in a raid of the plant, the federal indictment of the company’s environmental control manager, a consent order with the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the reduction of benzene emissions by 86% in the Town of Tonawanda. Since then, the CACWNY has expanded to organize in several marginalized, Western New York neighborhoods around environmental health and justice issues.
Glenn Ratajczak is a lifelong resident of the Town of Tonawanda. He was a founding board member of the Clean Air Coalition of Western New York (CACWNY) and has served as the organization’s Vice President. Currently, Glenn is a member of the Clean Air Coalition’s “Air Tech Team,” which provides scientific support to the organization. He is employed in the heart of Tonawanda’s industrial center as Crew Chief of the Erie County Water Authority (ECWA) water treatment plant. Glenn is also a part-time student at the University at Buffalo where he is a senior in the Civil Engineering Department. Glenn was awarded the “Unsung Hero Award” from the CACWNY in 2012.
Jennifer Ratajczak is a lifelong resident of the Town of Tonawanda. In 2006, at the age of 40, she was unexpectedly diagnosed with Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia (CML), a manageable but incurable cancer. After learning that her disease was likely to be environmentally triggered by benzene exposure, Jen began a quest to find the source of the contamination. Her journey confirmed extraordinarily high levels of benzene in Tonawanda’s air and led Jen to dedicate her life’s work to the health and wellbeing of the people of Tonawanda. Jen served as a founding board member of the Clean Air Coalition of Western New York (CACWNY). Jen was the first recipient of the organization’s “Unsung Hero Award” in 2010. She currently remains an active member of the CACWNY and serves as an advocate for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society of Western New York. Jen also serves as Chair of the Re-Tree Tonawanda program. Jen holds an MS in Multidisciplinary Studies from Buffalo State College with a concentration in the management of adult learning and development.
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