I was born in Albany, New York, to wonderful parents, Susan and Mauro Lapetina. My childhood home on Myton Lane was adjacent to a freshwater swamp, which sowed the seeds for my lifelong interest in wetlands. My large Irish and Italian-American family gave me a wonderful start to life, and I was fortunate to attend Shaker High School, in Latham, New York. Go Blue Bison!
After high school, I headed south to Princeton University, where I graduated with a degree in Civil and Environmental Engineering. I had a great time being President of Engineers Without Borders and playing sprint football. Go Tigers! The focus of my studies was dams, the intersection of structural engineering and environmental engineering. After graduation, I moved further south and worked as an engineer for Clough Harbour and Associates (now CHA Inc.) in their Richmond, VA office. I worked in the geotechnical and mechanical engineering departments, alternating between exploring deep in the earth with drill rigs and conducting energy inspections in low income housing units. It was a good life, and I learned quite a bit about energy use, soil mechanics, and corporate professionalism.
While working at CHA, I was admitted into a doctoral program at the University of Florida, where I studied coastal engineering in the Coastal and Oceanographic Engineering Program in the Civil and Coastal Engineering Department. Go Gators! Moving even further south was difficult, but made easier by Gainesville's laid-back personality. My dissertation, Modeling the Dissipation of Storm Surge by Coastal Wetlands, focused on the development and application of a 3D, vegetation resolving storm surge model. It contained two papers which have been published, and one which will be submitted soon. If you'd like to hear more about my research interests, please send me an email!
Recently, I made a major change in my life, and I have moved to Detroit, MI, where I teach physics and computer programming at Mumford High School. I am a member of Teach for America, and am grateful for the training and leadership development I am acquiring through that organization.
Outside of work, I enjoy cooking, meditation, and biking. I like to bowhunt, though I am a novice. Soon I will be starting a blog connected to this website about science, teaching, and more. Stay tuned!