Where Passion Meets Purpose: Myriah Wadley on Environmental Science and Education

526 295 Stroud Water Research Center
Diane Huskinson

By Diane Huskinson

The hugely popular and binge-worthy TED Talks cover topics on everything from robots to relationships. For Myriah Wadley, it was a series of talks by inventor Michael Pritchard that helped define her career path. While an undergraduate at Penn State, she was torn between pursuing environmental health and safety and environmental resource management. 

She watched Pritchard’s presentation on his Lifesaver portable water filter, and she says, “I was amazed at how he saw how big an issue water security is and created a device to improve on that problem. Immediately, I knew I was no engineer. However, I did know that I cared about water, and I wanted to pursue a career that worked towards the preservation of water.”  

Wadley earned her bachelor’s in environmental resource management and went on to earn her master’s in forestry, also from Penn State. In January, she joined Stroud™ Water Research Center as a staff scientist in the Ecosystem Ecology Group and as a part-time environmental educator in the Education Department. 

Her research interests include environmental outreach, water quality, aquatic entomology, and urban ecology, but what drew her to the Stroud Center was its environmental education and public outreach programs.

Myriah Wadley using scientific instrumentation while standing in a stream.

“I believe there is a ton of spiritual healing and tranquility that can be found by simply standing in a stream or walking through the woods,” and because of that, she says, “I want to help instill a love for the environment in underprivileged communities and educate those that are often left out of the conversation.”

Passionate, focused, and hard-working, Wadley has a clear vision for her future and what she hopes to accomplish. She is excited to share her passion for the environment with her local community through interactive educational experiences outdoors and in streams. “I want learners to feel more connected to the world around them,” she says.

In addition to sharpening her teaching skills, she says she lives for field and lab work, adding, “I am hoping to improve my data management and analysis skills and work toward a Master Watershed Steward certification.”

When she’s not working to build a brighter future for clean fresh water, Wadley enjoys museums, concerts, comedy shows, and nature walks. Otherwise, she can be found at home learning to play the keyboard or rewatching The Office with her two fur babies, Alex, a 16-year-old shih tzu, and Thor, a two-year-old English bulldog.