The Author

Photo of Stephanie C. Hamel by Michelle Devens-Fitz

Stephanie Hamel, PhD, grew up in southeastern Pennsylvania. She earned her BS in Chemistry from Grove City College, Grove City, PA, and her MS in Chemistry from Lehigh University in Bethlehem, PA. She was employed as an organic chemist in the pharmaceutical industry by The BOC Group, Inc. and at R.W. Johnson Pharmaceutical Institute, then taught Chemistry classes part-time at various community colleges in western Pennsylvania and also at Carlow College in Pittsburgh.

Dr. Hamel returned to graduate school to study environmental health issues, earning a Joint PhD in Exposure Assessment from the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School and the Department of Environmental Sciences at Rutgers University. Her thesis work involved the development of a laboratory procedure to test for bioaccessibility of heavy metals from soils. Her research was funded by a US EPA STAR Fellowship; in 1997, Stephanie was honored at a White House reception with other recipients of this award.

Photo of the Author's Family by Michelle Devens-Fitz

Dr. Hamel performed  post-doctoral research in the Department of Plant Sciences at Rutgers University.  Working with the Soil Fertility Specialist for Rutgers Cooperative Extension, she developed equations to calculate lead levels in soil using the standard soil testing methods for the region.

She now resides in northeastern Pennsylvania with her husband, Tom, and their two sons.  This is her first book.

10 thoughts on “The Author

    • Dear Jeff,
      I apologize for the delay in response. We have had some family health issues that have been foremost in my thoughts and attention and so, unfortunately, the blog has taken backseat. It hasn’t helped that I am not completely comfortable with anything that is new to me, computerwise. With that thought, I somehow have lost your first comment, though it should be here, somewhere but I cannot find it. I would be pleased to speak to your group, and probably could manage a trip up there for no charge. Please contact me again, with your info. and I will get back to you as soon as I receive it. Thanks and best wishes,

  1. Dr.Hamel: I found your website and was intrigued by your book and your experiences with gas fracking. I am contacting you in behalf of The
    Pines at Whiting a CCRC here in Central New Jersey. We have an Outside
    Speakers program here that meets once per month in which we bring in people to talk to our independent living residents on a widw variety of topics.
    I am writing to ask if you accept speaking engagements and if so,might you have interest in talking to our Group. If interested,you may contact me by e-mail or by telephone at 732-408-7047. I look forward to hearing from you. Thanks. Glen A.Hemstock

    • Dear Glen,
      First, let me apologize for not getting back to you, sooner. My family is experiencing some health issues and we are coping with those, first and foremost. It also doesn’t help that I am borderline computer illiterate…perhaps it is better to say that I was first introduced to computers it the C:/ days and am plunged immediately into a mental whirlwind everytime I have to learn something new using a computer…no matter how easy it is. I
      I will call you directly, next week, and again, apologize. I would love to revisit the Pine Barrens—I used to do some research at the Blueberry/Cranberry Research Station, there….THAT was fun!

  2. Hi Dr Hamel,
    A group of 55 people of Quebec will make a tour of shale gas in Pennsylvania on 23, 24 and 25 March. We would have liked to meet you in Wellsboro Saturday 24 AM. Is this possible?
    Pierre Bluteau
    Leclercville QC

  3. Hello Shephanie,
    I spoke to you about your book at the Hoyt Library when you presented there. I would like to speak with you futher when things ease up for you (health issues in previous posts). My number is 570-719-9986.

    Scott Cannon
    Gas Drilling Awareness Coalition

  4. Dr. Hamel,
    I just finished reading your book and I just wanted to tell you how much I loved it. My husband and I rent a place in Wellsboro about three times a year. I love the area and am concerned about the same things you are. Your feelings reflected my own. I hope it all works out for the better in the end. We can only hope and pray. Thank you for putting your thoughts into words and sharing your experience. Best regards to your and your family.

  5. Hello Stephanie,

    I’m a producer at PCN, a statewide public affairs cable television network. I would like to invite you to our studio near Harrisburg in September for a 30-minute interview about your book, “Gas Drilling and the Fracking of a Marriage.” I hope you’re interested. I look forward to hearing from you.

  6. Dear Dr. Hamel,
    Please find below the letter I wrote to our local scholar who has been dealing with fracking in quite effective ways
    . She is doing what few of us do, and I hope that she can maintain her health while doing this. On Wednesday, 8 January 2014 we will go to Albany, New York to harass our governor and the state assembly and senators as they proceed into the auditorium for the “State of the State”just as we did last year with 2,000 other people, including, need I say, Pete Seeger. This year I intend to arrange to be on the same bus, one of four from Ithaca, as Dr. Steingraber, for to talk with her about my coming up to her place in Trumansburg to give her a massage once a week, and give her some effective Down Time, away from the concerns which have taken over her daily life, in addition to her family of two children, ages 11 and 15, and a husband who has has had two strokes.
    I hope that, someone of this effectiveness in opposing fracking, and whose degrees are in a similar field as yours, does not intimidate you too much, but just to realize that the reason that Dr. Caldicott or Dr. Steingraber are to be so much appreciated and supported is because we do not all of us have their abilities and resolve. It takes a certain luck of the draw in life to put together such capable people, and each of us who appreciates such unique individuals, can do their part in supporting these singular people in any way that we can. In Dr. Steingraber’s situation, with all her books and talks about Toxic Trespass and her poetic language so well describing our struggles, we here in upstate New York believe that we can make a difference which can be a model for other places in this world, be it South Africa, Poland or Romania, England or Australia.
    So far, so good – or, pretty good, anyway.

    sincerely, in Ithaca Public Library on a snowy Saturday,

    David Kauber
    ** Bonus Intro: Sandra Steingraber, Phd, interview with Bill Moyers, shortly before she did jail time for her demonstrating.. This is a finer interview by both Steingraber and Moyers.

    12 September 2012
    Dear Sandra,
    Your being at this, that, and nearly every event dealing with fracking, reminds me of that other mother, Helen Caldicott, during the Reagan Administration. This was in the early l980’s when President Reagan was talking about “winning a nuclear war” against the big, bad Ruskies. I can still hear her voice of outrage: “Use your democracy; don’t listen to what they say, watch what they do.”
    Dr. Caldicott established the group: Physicians For Social Responsibility. One of the big voices in this group was Robert Jay Lifton who looked into the culture of The Bomb and the craziness associated with the talk of using this Bomb. It was crazy, mad, insane – and psychic numbing was involved in accepting such talk as reasonable talk coming out of a President’s mouth. Dr. Lifton wrote many books about this topic, both big and thick and thin and smaller, and he gave talks of great clarity, which were broadcast on the radio.
    Both Caldicott and Lifton are still alive and responsive to the current situations. Consistent with your frequent mention of being a “good German”, Lifton wrote the book “Nazi Doctors” in which he documents how this group of medical doctors were performing their nasty experiments while maintaining their families with wives and children whom they loved.
    How is this possible?
    I, too, grew up with that German family heritage and can remember the 1950’s talk about the family dinner table, about how other peoples, such as here in the good ol’ USA, were quite capable of similar acts as the Nazis, given the proper incitement in an appropriate social and economic situation. The Germans were maybe a bit more likely to become Nazi doctors, but we here were not so different.
    When my parents moved from Niagara Falls to retire in Aurora, there were four households at the north end of the village, united in being a bit remote from the village, such that dinner parties and birthday parties were a part of the regimen. One Jewish couple had escaped Nazi Germany and came to the USA to establish a dairy farm in Genoa, New York. Later these Rewalds moved to Aurora and Walter Rewald went to work for the Auburn CITIZEN, as a reporter of much merit. VanBuskirk’s were the family that all the lands were purchased from, including my parents 80 acres. The other couple, living in the oldest and original farm house was Lynn and Monika Kirtland. Lynn taught the classics at Wells College: Greek and Latin. Monika, his wife was a child in Nazi Germany, as she was born there in the mid 1930’s. And when she would go back to Germany to visit, as an adult, somehow nobody, including her older relatives, wanted to talk about “that time.”
    However, when the neo-Nazis came to Auburn, Monika was the one who made the most noise about this outrage. Monika is the only one of the four couples still alive, and she is now living in Maine. After Lynn died and her house here was sold and she was about to leave for her new house, near, but not too near her daughter in Maine – I took Monika to Ithaca(in my VolksWagen, made in Germany not Mexica) for a Tai Garden meal, and a viewing of the Ithaca Festival Parade. She had never been there for that in the forty years of living in the area; also Erin Brockovich was in town, and we sampled her talk, but Monika didn’t know who she was and was not much interested, so we did not stay very long to hear her.
    So there is most of my story of my context with the German culture. My older sister majored in German at Wells, and then spent a year at the University of Cologne on a Fulbright. She died, prematurely, ten years ago, and one of my last acts in disposing of her large assembly of possessions was to take my new neighbor, Linda Martin, to Avon and my sister’s house. Linda had bought my parent’s house, and all the acres except for the six which were given to me. Linda M. is fluent in German and she and my sister were great friends due to this context. Linda learned her German in the Cincinnati, Ohio school system, and perfected her speech in the few years she spent in Germany when her husband was working there for IBM. So, needless to say, Linda had the first chances at acquiring the German books of my sister.
    Anyway, I am not sure that all of this has much meaning to you – but maybe just to tell you that you are not alone in understanding the context of the being a “good German.” You appear to be doing pretty well – at least if your physical appearance and speech here, there, and everywhere are any indication. You probably don’t need to hear this, but I shall repeat Rbt. Lifton’s final words to me, the one time I met him: “Hang in there.”


    David Kauber

  7. Stephanie,
    I am a professor in the Environmental Initiative at Lehigh University. We are conducting a large study on how unconventional shale gas developing is affecting social relationships in northern PA. Would it be possible to talk with you?

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