Three new staff will expand SREL’s outreach efforts

Writer: Vicky Sutton-Jackson
Public relations coordinator, Savannah River Ecology Laboratory, Office of Research, UGA

Aiken, S.C.–The University of Georgia’s Savannah River Ecology Laboratory has hired three new employees to join its outreach team. Santanu Mukherjee, Pacifico Perea and Megan Winzeler will expand the lab’s outreach efforts in the South Carolina and Georgia communities surrounding the U.S. Department of Energy’s Savannah River Site near Aiken, South Carolina.

Santanu Mukherjee will conduct research for the lab’s three-year radionuclide, education, monitoring and outreach program in Shell Bluff, Georgia. He will monitor the air, water and soil for radionuclides, metals and other contaminants. Murkherjee has a bachelor’s degree in agriculture and a master’s degree in agricultural chemicals. He obtained his doctorate in agricultural science from the University of Bonn in Germany. Murkherjee has experience conducting research in rural agricultural areas and in examining environmental contaminants.


Pacifico Perea will serve as the outreach program manager for SREL’s nine-member outreach team. Perea will supervise outreach and public relations personnel, and he will direct the team’s strategic plan. Perea holds a master’s degree in biology from the University of Illinois and teacher certification in middle and high school grades. He previously served as the director of the National Wildlife and Turkey Federation Winchester Museum in Edgefield, South Carolina. Perea has received numerous awards in public relations for his work promoting NWTF and outdoor interests.

Megan Winzeler will coordinate the outreach program in Shell Bluff. She will work with residents and community leaders to gain their input and respond to their concerns. Winzeler will also work closely with Mukherjee to explain the research monitoring results to the residents of the community. She earned her master’s  degree in ecology from the University of Georgia while conducting research at SREL. Winzeler also assisted the SREL Outreach team in the local community. She returns to SREL from the U.S. Geological Society National Wildlife Health Center in Madison, Wisconsin, where she was employed as a wildlife epidemiological technician.

The Savannah River Ecology Laboratory is a research unit of UGA located on the U.S. Department of Energy’s Savannah River Site. SREL pursues basic and applied ecological research, provides advanced experiential educational opportunities to undergraduate and graduate students, and provides environmental stewardship, justice and awareness through public outreach. SREL’s radionuclide education, monitoring and outreach program, a collaborative partnership with Atlanta-based non-profit Georgia Women’s Action for New Directions, will help residents of the Shell Bluff community in Burke County understand the impacts of nuclear industrial operations in the surrounding area.