Meet the Team

Graduate Students

Henry Schwendler

Henry Schwendler joined the lab in July 2023 and is part of the Terrapin Tracking Team. Henry graduated from Hiram College in Ohio with a B.A. in Environmental Studies focusing on natural systems. His research interests are ecology and herpetology. While in undergrad, he worked on vernal pool sampling and genetic identification of unisexual ambystomas, a salamander habitat and population survey, and a snake coverboard survey. Henry’s thesis work will focus on assessing and modeling diamondback terrapin nests within Connecticut.

John Michael Arnett

John Michael is currently studying the effects of road mortality on diamondback terrapins (Malaclemys terrapin) in Connecticut. He is analyzing their population structure at multiple sites along a gradient of expected road mortality. John Michael is also assisting in conducting coverboard arrays in various habitat types to assess the small vertebrate biodiversity in western Connecticut.

For more information watch video here!

Andrew Powers

My name is Andrew Powers and I have worked on a wide diversity of organisms in many amazing places including bats in Ecuador, sharks in Maine, and rattlesnakes in Texas. I am currently studying the effects of urbanization on copperheads in Connecticut with CTDEEP and QuinnEcological, LLC. Copperheads are a species of conservation concern in the state and my research is helping to better understand these extraordinary snakes at the northeastern limit of their range.

For more information watch video here!

Kimberly F. Durham

Kimberly Durham is the New York State Co-Sea Turtle State Coordinator, and Necropsy Coordinator working at the Atlantic Marine Conservation Society.  She is a regional large whale necropsy team leader and Adjunct Lecturer at Stony Brook University School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences.

Here I am conducting a mortality investigation of a minke whale. I also provide treatment for cold stunned endangered Kemp’s ridley sea turtles at the Atlantic Marine Conservation Society – Sea Turtle rehabilitation facility.  Our organization has collaborated with Dr. Pinou for many years.  I am interested in studying human behavior and recreational activities impact on sea turtle populations in Long Island Sound.

Undergraduate Students

Michael J. Tambascio

“Biology began when I got my new hearing aids a couple of years ago. Before this time, I believed science to be too complex for me to pick up at this stage in my academic career. After I got my new hearing aids, I stepped out on the back porch at my home and listened to the crystal-clear sound of birds chirping. For the first time I was able to differentiate one call from another, and I haven’t looked back since. My goal is to become an ornithologist and get my masters and PHD in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at Cornell.”  

Hannah Daly

Hannah Daly is an undergraduate student at WCSU in the Pinou Lab. The majority of her research lies in marine interspecies relationships, having spent her time in Sarasota, Florida working with Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium in their sea turtle tagging team. Hannah is also an althete playing soccer for WCSU.

Leo Bellissimo

Leo Bellissimo, Class of 2025, is a Kathwari Honors Student majoring in Biology with a focus on research. As a freshman, he was granted an internship as a field technician in Dr. Pinou’s Great Hollow Coverboard Project, led by Graduate Student John Michael Arnett. Additionally, he participated in The Vernal Pool Study at The Woodcock Nature Center, The Terrapin Tracking Project in association with The Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk, CT., and worked with Graduate Student Andrew Powers, tracking, measuring, and tagging Copperhead Snakes, as pictured here. He intends to participate actively in the Biology department’s fantastic and numerous research opportunities throughout his undergraduate years, continuing to Graduate School and eventually becoming a Biological Research professional.

Pre-collegial Students

Melina Kohilakis

My name is Melina Kohilakis and I am a senior at Blind Brook High School in Rye Brook, New York. I have had the opportunity to work with Dr. Theodora Pinou for the past two years through a science research program at my high school. During my time in the Pinou lab, I have worked on projects involving assessing microplastics in Long Island Sound and measuring snake hemipenes

Lab Technicians

Amanda Moline

Amanda Moline is a part-time student and works as a Laboratory Technician in the Pinou Herpetology Lab. She also works full-time at Lesserevil Snack Foods as their R&D and Quality Assurance Specialist. Amanda loves hiking and being outdoors in her free time.

Lab Alumni

Molly McMahon’ 21

Molly McMahon was a laboratory student under Dr. Pinou while earning her B.A. in Biology, Professional Concentration as a Pre-Vet student. Through working with Dr. Pinou, Molly was able to write and publish a paper analyzing past epibiont data, work with sea turtles in the field, and collect epibionts for future study. Molly now attends the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine and is a DVM candidate in the Class of 2025.