Denice Heller Wardrop was one of the first Systems Engineers to graduate from the University of Virginia, which she followed with an MS in Environmental Sciences from the same institution. She practiced as a consulting environmental engineer for over a decade before moving to State College PA, embracing football as well as basketball, and finishing a PhD in Ecology at Penn State. In addition to her role as Executive Director of the Chesapeake Research Consortium, she is a Research Professor of Geography and Ecology. Her discovery areas are wetlands of all kinds and landscape ecology, and she works a great deal on how human activities impact the ability of natural systems to provide ecosystem services. Her favorite teaching activity involves escorting multi-disciplinary teams of students to Peru, and helping them unpack the UN Sustainable Development Goals to find a focus to their work. She serves on science committees that advise both the Chesapeake Bay and Everglades restoration efforts, and passionately supports humans and aquatic systems finding ways to bring out the best in each other.