Staff Spotlight: Sally Peirson and Roberta Weber

350 260 Stroud Water Research Center

By Diane Huskinson

Roberta Weber (L) and Sally Peirson sampling a Lancaster County stream involved in a watershed restoration project. Photo: David H. Funk

Sally Peirson and Roberta Weber, both Stroud Water Research Center staff scientists, have worked side by side in the Entomology Group for nearly 30 years. They’ve shared not just a workspace but many of life’s big events like marriages, graduations, children, and grandchildren. And this duo is glad about that.

“We’re more than co-workers; we’re good friends,” says Peirson. “After working together for so long, Roberta even finishes my sentences.”

Weber adds, “Around here, people refer to us like we’re one person. Sally is great, so if I am going to be someone’s Siamese twin, I’m glad it’s hers.” She looks at her friend, and they share a laugh.

Though both are shy about singing their own praises, each one is quick to acknowledge the other’s qualities.

“Sally is a meticulous, careful, patient person, and she sets a great example to the young people who are just starting out in the lab,” Weber says, to which Peirson replies, “Well, I’d say the same about her.”

Equally conscientious and having decades of experience, they are the indispensable boots on the ground responsible for helping senior scientists carry out research projects. When out in the field, they collect stream samples, and in the lab, they process those samples, identify collected macroinvertebrates, and log data.

Roberta Weber started in April 1983. A New Castle, Del., native, she attended DeLaWarr High School, where her science teacher, Mr. O’Neill, inspired her to study biology in college. Afterward, she spent two years in the Philippines as a Peace Corp volunteer working in rural public health. Upon her return to the U.S., she tried out several odd jobs before settling into the University of Delaware’s entomology graduate program. “When I heard about an opening at Stroud, I applied, and here I am.” Roberta shares a passion for entomology with her husband Richard Weber, a retired entomology professor.

Sally Peirson is the daughter of the late Jean and Buck Peirson. She grew up across the street from the Center and became a part-time employee in high school. After graduating in June 1972, she was hired into the Entomology Group. “I feel like I fell into my job, but I’m glad I did. I love the people here.” She celebrates her 41-year anniversary at the Center this year. Peirson and husband John Baker, an artist and West Chester University professor, have two daughters and four grandchildren.