EIC Staff

The Environmental Interpretive Center is lucky to have a team of staff members who are dedicated to environmental stewardship and education and love the outdoors. From full-time, to part-time, to student staff members, there is a variety of interests and knowledge bases that provide the EIC with the support it needs to benefit our community. 

Would you like to get more involved at the EIC? See how you can become a Volunteer.


Jacob Napieralski, Ph.D. 

Email: [email protected]

Dr. Jacob Napieralski is a Professor of Geology and has been at UM-Dearborn since 2005. His academic interests focus on the intersection between human activity and the natural environment. He gladly spends his free time traveling with family or obsessing over "fútbol".

View his Online Portfolio.

Dorothy Mcleer

Dorothy McLeer

Program Coordinator, Interpretive Naturalist

Email: [email protected] 

Featured in "How a campus educator is helping create a sustainable future"

Although Dorothy McLeer began her studies at UM-Dearborn in January 1993, she first set foot on the UM-Dearborn campus on January 1, 1992, around 4:00 AM for a Christmas Bird Count. Owls were the target species at that hour and one very interested screech owl flew in and perched overhead on a low branch in a large white oak tree that is still growing at the corner of Monteith Blvd. and Fair Lane Drive—where the Environmental Interpretive Center now welcomes students and visitors to the Environmental Study Area. When not spending time sharing the natural world with others, Dorothy and her Belgian Malinois, Fruli, can be found exploring places near and far together.

Rick Simek

Rick Simek

Program Supervisor & Manager of the Environmental Study Area

Email: [email protected]

Rick first came to UM-Dearborn in 1994. He has been a professional naturalist for 33 years and is a Lecturer for Field Biology Class (Biology 320). He got his start as a naturalist catching bugs and watching the birds that came to his backyard in Detroit. Rick enjoys sharing the outdoors with others, wildlife conservation and volunteering with local conservation groups such as South East Michigan Land Conservancy.

Laura Mallard Headshot with a conifer tree in the background.

Laura Mallard

Administrative Assistant

Email: [email protected]

Laura Mallard graduated from Eastern Michigan University with a teaching degree in Elementary Education focused in Math and Integrated Science, and served as a middle school science teacher for several years. She was raised with a love of the outdoors and as a U of M Wolverine. Most recently she has worked with local non-profit organizations. A resident of Dearborn, when she is not working Laura enjoys spending time with her family, arts and crafts, trying new things, and volunteering with her church.


Part-time Staff

The EIC relies on the assistance from recent UM-Dearborn graduates who lend their expertise and support to specific projects. 

Dale Browne

Dale Browne

Program Assistant, Interpretive Naturalist

Email: [email protected]

Dale graduated from the University of Michigan - Dearborn in 2020 with a Bachelors of Environmental Studies.

View her Online portfolio 


Mike Solomon headshot

Michael Solomon

Interpretive Naturalist

Email: [email protected]

Mike Solomon is a 2023 Graduate of University of Michigan- Dearborn, with a Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Studies (Naturalist Concentration).  He spends much of his free time outdoors, hiking, fishing, foraging and exploring. He also

enjoy playing video games, and listening to music!


Student Staff

The EIC relies heavily on university students to assist with interpretive programs and maintaining the Center, Natural Area, and Community Organic Garden. Our naturalist interpreters help lead programs for the thousands of K-12 students that visit the Center annually. 

Are you a current student? View more information on how you could be involved in Student Opportunities.


Alexis Kott 

Parkhurst Fellow

Email: [email protected]

Alexis is a Senior majoring in Urban and Regional Studies with an Environment, Design, and Space concentration; minoring in Applied Art.

View her featured article titled "Art is a Bridge to Learning"


Valerie Osowski

Valerie Osowski 

Cooper Family Intern

 Email: [email protected]

At the EIC, I am both a Student Naturalist and the Cooper Family Intern. I am currently studying for my bachelor's degree in Environmental Sciences with a concentration in Biology and a minor in Sociology. I am also President of the Student Sustainability Coalition at UM-Dearborn. In my free time, I like to take naps, read, and spend time with my family and friends.

Dalia Rabbah

Dalia Rabbah

Student Naturalist

Email: [email protected]

Graduated 2023 from UM-Dearborn with a BS in Environmental Sciences and a concentration in Biology. I also did a research project about aquatic insect biodiversity.