Presenter bios

Haleigh Ziebol

Haleigh Ziebol (they/them) is a science educator and a coordinator for Queer Science Day. They have worked on research projects including pesticide degradation through a redox reaction that occurs on a mineral nanoparticle, iron cycling in hydrothermal vents, and biofiltration for phosphorus in stormwater. You can often find them swimming, thrifting, drinking bubble tea, or teaching intro to mushroom foraging workshops.

Juliet Johnston

Juliet Johnston (Emeritus) is an NSF-fellow working on her PhD in environmental engineering. When you flush the toilet, the microbes at a wastewater treatment plant eat the harmful remnants of your waste.  She investigates these wastewater microbes and their microbiome in relation to seasonal variation, specifically focusing on nitrification failure during cold temperatures. Additionally, she is the organizer for the nation’s first Queer Science Day to inspire upcoming LGBT scientists. She earned her bachelor’s in environmental engineering with a minor in women’s studies from Clemson University.  She is often found lounging in coffee shops, rock climbing, baking, and taking long walks in the bitter cold with her dog.

Rachel Tenney

Rachel Tenney is a PhD candidate in environmental engineering and is Queer Science's Chair of Operations, having been involved with Queer Science since coming to UMN in 2018. She studies sustainable nitrogen removal from facultative wastewater treatment ponds in small, rural communities and is passionate about issues relating to environmental justice. Rachel enjoys being outside -- especially hiking, throwing a good party, and spending time with her partner and their two mischievous cats.



Allison Wong is a PhD candidate in the Department of Chemistry and is Queer Science's treasurer. Her research focuses on improving polymer sustainability by developing new routes to polyurethanes from CO2 and other renewable feedstocks. When not doing science, Allison spends her time rock climbing, hiking, cooking, and hanging out with her cat.

Lee Penn

Lee Penn is nonbinary/genderqueer/queer and a chemistry professor, and they are the Queer Science advisor.

Their research group of nine graduate students and several undergraduate students focuses on fundamental formation and growth mechanisms of nanoparticles, green methods for making nanomaterials, and the roles nanoparticles play in chemical transformations in the environment.