MDI Biological Laboratory
Associate Professor of Environmental Health

Jane E. Disney, Ph.D.

Can engaging students in collecting well water samples for toxic metal analysis and sharing their findings with their communities result in changed behaviors and improved public health?

Is this school-based approach more impactful than other types of community interventions? What skills and supports do teachers and students need to realize this outcome? Does engagement with locally relevant issues provide incentive for learning and improve learning outcomes? How do these experiences impact self-efficacy and interest in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) careers? These are central questions of the Science Education Partnership Award (SEPA) project.

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  • Ph.D., Washington State University, Zoology, 1988
  • M.S., Pennsylvania State University, Genetics, 1984
  • B.S., Pennsylvania State University, Biology, 1982

Lab Members

Cait BaileySystems Developer and Development Lead

Cait Bailey, 2010 BA in International Affairs, BA in German from the University of Maine. Cait is the developer of, an online platform for collecting data from community scientists, as well as of LabCentral, an online platform for courses, conferences, and research training and safety at MDIBL. Cait is a passionate advocate for greater inclusion of marginalized groups in the sciences and open data access. (

Alexis Garretson, M.S.Community Environmental Health Laboratory Manager

Alexis Garretson, Community Environmental Health Laboratory Manager, 2018 BS in Environmental and Conservation Biology and 2020 MS in Evolutionary Biology from George Mason University, and an in-progress PhD in Genetics through Tufts University and the Jackson Laboratory. Alexis is an instructor with The Carpentries and has been active in developing university data science curriculum. Alexis is active in the scientific data stewardship community through the Earth Science Information Partners, the National Microbiome Data Collaborative, and the Global Biodiversity Information Facilities. At MDIBL, Alexis manages the Phytoplankton Monitoring Program and is a data scientist supporting citizen-science projects on (

Ashley Taylor, Data Specialist

Ashley Taylor, 2014 BA in Geography from the University of Vermont and 2020 MS in GIS and Web Map Programming from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Ashley is the geospatial data specialist for with 7 years of environmental and conservation field work experience. Ashley supports spatial data collection and management tools for citizen-science projects and develops spatial figures to support grants and publications. (

Sarah Dunbar, M.EdEducation Specialist

Sarah Dunbar, 2002 BS in Elementary Education from the University of Maine and a 2013 M.Ed in Curriculum and Instruction with a focus on Science Education from University of Massachusetts. Sarah was a middle school math/science teacher at Surry Elementary school for five years and has worked at Mount Desert Elementary School as a math or science teacher for the last six years. Sarah is the education specialist for the All About Arsenic Project, and has been with the project since 2015 in the capacity of teacher, external advisory board member and education specialist. Sarah develops and evaluates curriculum for the program, and provides teacher training, support and outreach.