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Academy Conversation

Join our free informal discussion on the latest science news that affects our everyday lives.

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Academy Conversation: Forever Chemicals Found in Wildlife
Wednesday, March 1, 5:30 p.m.

Free virtual program

Join us for a panel discussion by experts from the Academy of Natural Sciences and Drexel University as we examine a just-released report on PFAS, a ubiquitous set of “forever chemicals” now appearing in the tissue of over 300 species of wildlife around the world.

PFAS, short for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), are present in everything from water-repellent clothing to non-stick pans, fire retardants and grease resistant products. As a result of decades of industrial activity and usage, PFAS are now being detected in water, soil and living things all around the world and have a suspected linkage to human health problems.

These “contaminants of emerging concern” are poorly understood and difficult to study, yet this new report sheds light on just how widespread they may be and what they may mean for wildlife — and all of us.


Mariangeles Arce H., PhD, Collection Manager Ichthyology, The Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University


  • Michelle Gannon, PhD, Post-Doctoral Researcher/Stable Isotope Analyst, Patrick Center for Environmental Research, The Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University
  • David Keller, PhD, Fisheries Section Leader, Patrick Center for Environmental Research, The Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University
  • Timothy Maguire, PhD, Biogeochemistry Section Leader, The Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University, Patrick Center for Environmental Research
  • Christopher M. Sales, PhD, Associate Professor, Department of Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering, Drexel University

Past Events:

Academy Conversation: Insects in Decline
August 14, 2021

Is the Climate of Climate Change Changing?
Tuesday, March 2, 2021

See more Academy Conversation

Academy Conversation: Heat Inequity
Tuesday, July 26, 7 p.m.

Zoom; free registration required

Exacerbated by climate change, extreme heat is becoming a reality for more and more communities each year. In the past few days alone, temperatures over 100 degrees Fahrenheit have shut down transportation systems in Europe, closed schools and offices, fed massively destructive wildfires and caused a devastating loss of human life.

Here at home, in an average year, heat kills more people in the U.S. than any other type of extreme weather. In Philadelphia, a study by the Office of Sustainability showed that temperatures in some neighborhoods can be as much as 22 degrees higher than in others and that low-income residents and residents of color are more likely to live in these hotter neighborhoods.

Why is extreme heat becoming more and more prevalent, and why do some communities suffer worse than others? Why are people of color, low-income individuals and those living in certain neighborhoods most affected by dangerous heat waves? And how might the Academy’s upcoming efforts to map heat and air quality in Philadelphia make a difference?

Join us for a virtual Zoom conversation all about heat inequity. This event will also be streamed on Facebook Live. 


  • Roland Wall, Director, Patrick Center for Environmental Research, The Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University


  • Richard Johnson, Interim Director, Community Science, The Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University
  • Carolyn Moseley, Executive Director of Eastwick United Community Development; Member, Philadelphia Environmental Justice Advisory Committee
  • Steve Sosna, NBC10 First Alert Meteorologist
  • Mathy Vathanaraj Stanislaus, Esq, Executive Director of The Environmental Collaboratory and Vice Provost, Drexel University

More About the Moderator

Roland Wall

Roland Wall leads the work of the Academy of Natural Sciences in environmental research and management, including day-to-day oversight of eight operational sections, strategy development and implementation and integration of environmental research with broader Academy goals. Wall has worked in a variety of positions since he started as a science writer in 1999. He developed and managed the Academy Town Square program and led the institution’s involvement in the Urban Sustainability Forum. In 2007, he initiated the Center for Environmental Policy, spearheading the Academy’s involvement in policy and sustainability issues. Serving on the Academy’s Senior Management Committee, he was part of the team that coordinated the integration with Drexel University.

In 2012, he headed the Academy’s involvement in the William Penn Foundation’s watershed protection planning, resulting in the launch of the Delaware River Watershed Initiative. He leads the Academy’s interdisciplinary team that serves as the science lead for the DRWI, including planning, monitoring and evaluation. He oversees sustainability planning at the Academy and develops new models for the Academy’s environmental work In 2017, he became director of the Patrick Center for Environmental Research and holds the Academy Chair for Environmental Initiatives. Wall teaches introductory environmental science in Drexel’s Department of Biodiversity, Earth and Environmental Science. His academic interests include urban ecology and coupled human/natural systems.

More About the Panelists

Richard Johnson

Richard Johnson is the interim director of community science at the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University, where he delivers projects that develop accessible, applicable, community-centered solutions to environmental challenges. He has spent his career working on environmental education and community development, including as a Peace Corps volunteer in the Dominican Republic and manager of the Climate & Urban Systems Partnership. At the Academy, he helps lead the Philly Urban Heat Network and spearheads the Academy's Philadelphia Urban Heat and Air Quality Mapping Campaign.

Steve Sosna

Steve Sosna is a meteorologist for NBC10 First Alert Weather team. You can watch his forecasts weekend evenings on NBC10 and listen to his forecasts on KYW Newsradio. Sosna is an active member of the American Meteorological Society (AMS) and has earned the prestigious AMS Certified Broadcast Meteorologist (CBM) seal of approval. He is also the recipient of a National Emmy for his award-winning work with StormRanger, NBCUniversal's state-of-the-art, mobile, dual pol X-band Doppler Radar.

During his time at NBC10, Sosna has earned two NBC "GEM" (Going the Extra Mile) awards for collaborating and developing new weather technology for the station. He assisted the team executing this technology across on-air, digital, and social platforms. He came to NBC10 in 2017 from WNBC-TV in New York City. He served as an executive weather producer since 2011 for the network’s flagship station. He also routinely filled-in on-air at MSNBC during severe weather and on shows such as "Early Today," “Andrea Mitchell Reports,” “Meet the Press Daily,” “MSNBC LIVE,” “AM Joy” and “The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell.” During the devastating 2017 hurricane season, he covered major hurricanes "Harvey" and "Irma" for over 12 consecutive hours on-air.

Mathy V. Stanislaus

Mathy V. Stanislaus was nominated by President Obama and served for eight years as the Senate-confirmed Assistant Administrator for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Office of Land & Emergency Management for the Obama Administration. He led US EPA engagement with White House National Economic Council, the Department of Commerce and Economic Development Administration, to integrate environmental justice, climate and sustainability opportunities into the Administration’s community development programs. He led the delivery of technical assistance programs to enable disadvantaged communities to secure federal funding. Among his other achievements at the USEPA was advancing President Obama’s Climate Action Plan by leading the U.S. government’s first adaptation plans to address emergency preparedness, and Superfund sites and hazardous waste facilities from the consequences of more intense, frequent storms and sea-level rise. Stanislaus led his office’s development of the RE-Powering America’s Land initiative to foster renewable energy development on contaminated lands.

Stanislaus was the founding co-director of the New Partners for Community Revitalization in New York — an organization dedicated to strengthening low-income communities and communities of color by linking technical assistance, land use planning and finance through the redevelopment of brownfield properties in community based-environmental justice organizations, government, financiers, and property developers. He is a former chair long-term member of the Board of the New York City Environmental Justice Alliance. Stanislaus joined Drexel from the Global Battery Alliance, a multi-stakeholder initiative established at the World Economic Forum. There, he served as its first interim director and policy director with a focus on establishing a global transparent data governance system to scale up electric mobility and clean energy in alignment with circular economy, human rights and community development.


Media Partner: NBC10/Telemundo62 

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