Meet the Fellows

University Fellows represent a variety of programs across campus. Click on the University Fellows' names below to learn more about which departments they come from and each University Fellow's interests.

 

2016-2017 University Fellows

2015-2016 University Fellows

2014-2015 University Fellows

 

2016-2017 University Fellows

Portrait of Junmo Ahn

(Photo by John De Dios)

Junmo Ahn

Mining and Geological Engineering, PhD Student

Junmo Ahn is a South Korean doctoral student in the Department of Mining and Geological Engineering. He earned a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Engineering from Konkuk University and a master’s degree in Civil and Environmental Engineering from Seoul National University. He is interested in improving the environmental sustainability of mining waste materials reclamation through the use of biotechnology, and improving the environmental sustainability of the mining industry through regional organizations.

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Portait of Dylan Barton

(Photo by John De Dios)

Dylan Barton

School Psychology, PhD Student

Dylan Barton earned an Honors BS in Psychology and a Criminology Certificate from the University of Utah. Born and raised in Utah, he spent much of his young adulthood supporting LGBTQ rights and visibility - particularly for LGBTQ youth and people of color - in a state where they are routinely under-served. He worked for the Utah Pride Center's Advocacy and Education department and supported Utah's Gay-Straight Alliance network. His interest in serving vulnerable youth populations eventually led him to work for Utah's Juvenile Justice System. There he learned that early detection and intervention in our school systems can prevent a myriad of negative outcomes for youth, prevent delinquency, and promote the resilience our students need in order to thrive. Dylan will earn his PhD in School Psychology. Outside Academe, he enjoys the gym, journaling, visual arts, and attending rock and mineral fairs.

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Portrait of Katie Chenard

(Photo by John De Dios)

Katie Chenard

Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, PhD Student

Katie Chenard is a doctoral student in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. She earned her BS in Wildlife Ecology from University of Maine, where she wrote an honors thesis on nesting captive Zebra finches; the project included extensive research in New Zealand. Since graduating, Katie has worked with field research teams in a variety of locations. She has also conducted  independent research on the feeding and boldness behavior of guppy populations in the rainforests of northern Trinidad. Her doctoral work in Dr. Duckworth’s lab will focus on animal behavior, integrating aspects of endocrinology and genetics in order to improve our understanding of how persistent individual behaviors are created and disrupted.

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Portrait of Kayla Chronister

(Photo by John De Dios)

Kayla Chronister

English Literature, PhD Student

Kayla Chronister is a doctoral student in English Literature. She is originally from Seattle and holds a BA in Literature from Seattle Pacific University. Her research interests include Gothic literature, interactions between folklore and written literature, and the politics of genre. Prior to starting her graduate studies, she spent a year teaching and mentoring sixteen children at a group home in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. In her spare time, she writes horror and fantasy short fiction. Her stories have appeared or are forthcoming in Clarkesworld, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Strange Horizons, and Shimmer. 

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Portrait of Kevin Doubleday

(Photo by John De Dios)

Kevin Doubleday

Biostatics, PhD Student

Kevin Doubleday is a Biostatistics doctoral student in the College of Public Health. He received a bachelor's degree in chemistry and mathematics from the University of Mary Washington in 2009, then taught high school math for 4 years before attending the University of Arizona to earn an MS in Biostatistics. His current research interests include developing individualized rules for treating chronic diseases, focusing on value based recursive partitioning methods. His objective is to provide optimal treatment for patients as indicated by their baseline characteristics.  

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Portrait of Ryan Endsley

(Photo by John De Dios)

Ryan Endsley

Astronomy, PhD Student

Ryan Endsley graduated from Washington University in St. Louis with a BA in physics and mathematics. He then spent a year working at the Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics near Munich, Germany. Now a PhD student in the Department of Astronomy, Ryan researches properties of stars and gas in galaxies when the universe was only 5-10% of its current age. By using various UA directed telescopes and resources, Ryan seeks to gain a deeper insight into how galaxies formed and evolved in the early universe and how they built the universe we live in today.

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Portrait of Caroline Geisler (Foy)

(Photo by John De Dios)

Caroline Geisler (Foy)

Animal Sciences, PhD Student

Caroline Geisler is a doctoral student in the School of Animal and Comparative Biomedical Sciences. She grew up outside Dayton and attended Miami University in Oxford, OH, where she earned a B.S. in zoology. She then attended the University of Arizona for her Master’s Degree in Animal Sciences. Her primary research interest is how metabolism and endocrinology impact systemic health and liver physiology. Caroline's master's thesis investigated how signaling by ketone bodies affects the hepatic adaptation to fasting. Her PhD project focuses on how lipid accumulation in the liver drives pathophysiologies common to obesity and diabetes, such as insulin resistance and hypertension.

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Portrait of Kristy Gilman

(Photo by John De Dios)

Kristy Gilman

Nutritional Sciences, PhD Student

Kristy Gilman graduated from Oregon State University with a BS in Nutrition and Health Sciences and a minor in Chemistry. Now a doctoral student in the UA Nutritional Sciences Program, she is interested in bioactive compounds and nutrients and their impact on cancer development. She enjoys jogging, hiking, and watching The Big Bang Theory in her free time.

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Portrait of Khaled Jarrar

(Photo by John De Dios)

Khaled Jarrar

Art, MFA Student

Khaled Jarrar is a Palestinian student in the School of Art's MFA program. He is an internationally known artist with a strong professional portfolio that spans more than ten years. His art often focuses on the sociocultural impact of modern-day power struggles on ordinary citizens. In addition to expanding his artistic experience in the US, he is interested in teaching and in making community connections throughout Tucson.

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Portrait of Tanya Jeffries

(Photo by John De Dios)

Tanya Jeffries

Computer Science, PhD Student

Tanya Jeffries, a doctoral student in the Department of Computer Science, researches high performance computing data visualization with her advisor, Dr. Kate Isaacs. She is particularly interested in graph drawing. Prior to coming to the UA, she studied at the University of New Mexico, where she earned both her B.A. in Economics and an M.S. in Computer Science. Her Master's thesis explored problems related to crossing minimization in bipartite graphs.

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Portrait of Juli Kim

(Photo by John De Dios)

Juli Kim

Hispanic Linguistics, PhD Student

Juli Kim is a doctoral student in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese, specializing in Hispanic Linguistics. She is from South Korea, where she earned a Master of Hispanic language from Seoul National University and was awarded the prestigious Brain Korea 21 Program Fellowship in Academic Research. Her doctoral work will include address form, politeness, pragmatics, null subject, and object in Spanish and Portuguese.

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Portrait of Matthew Klass

(Photo by John De Dios)

Matthew Klass

Physiological Sciences Graduate Interdisciplinary Program (GIDP), PhD Student

Matthew Klass is a doctoral student in Physiological Sciences. A veteran of the UA, he earned his bachelor’s degrees in Physiological Sciences, French, and Italian in May 2016. His research focuses on the mechanisms of cardiovascular disease. Outside of the lab and classroom, Matthew is committed to volunteering; he has served in the Dominican Republic with the International Student Volunteers Project and in Tucson with the SBATA Youth Mentorship Program, supporting Nepali-Bhutanese youth refugees.

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Portrait of Juan Mejia

(Photo by John De Dios)

Juan Mejia

Musical Arts – Cello Performance, DMA Student

Juan Mejia is a doctoral student who wants to create meaningful impact through music education. A cellist, he has studied at the renowned San Francisco Conservatory of Music. He is known for his superb musicality as well as his community outreach. As in Brazil's El Sistema program, Juan is committed to addressing poverty through music education.

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Portrait of Rachel Murray

(Photo by John De Dios)

Rachel Murray

Arid Lands Resource Sciences Graduate Interdisciplinary Program (GIDP), PhD Student

Rachel Murray is a doctoral student in the Arid Lands Resource Sciences Program. She investigates current stressors on the 1960 Indus Waters Treaty between Pakistan and India.  As a Borlaug Global Food Security Fellow at the University of Wisconsin's Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies, Rachel received her MS for research on the resiliencies and vulnerabilities of small Farmer-Managed Irrigation Systems in Nepal; her was on women farmers. Rachel also holds a Juris Doctorate from the University of Wisconsin Law School and a BS in Wildlife Ecology and Botany from UW-Madison.  Her research interests include interstate water conflict, climate change adaptation in agro-ecosystems, women and irrigation, and the global water-food-energy-ecosystem nexus. Rachel has worked as a Tribal Attorney, Director at a domestic violence council, ornithologist, water regulations specialist, and of course, cheesemonger.   

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Portrait of Edna Osuna

(Photo by John De Dios)

Edna Osuna

Finance, PhD Student

Edna Osuna is a doctoral student in the Department of Finance at the Eller College of Management. She received an Associated Degree in Business Administration at Pima Community College and both a Bachelor of Science and Master of Science in Finance at the UA. Edna’s research interest is in financial markets, especially the role and development of venture capital markets in Mexico. Combining her financial research and education with community engagement in the Tucson area, she has volunteered with Fundación de México and served as an intern for the Tucson Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. Edna has also provided loan analysis and small business education services for Chicanos Por La Causa.

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Portrait of Patrick Ploschnitzki

(Photo by John De Dios)

Patrick Ploschnitzki

Transcultural German Studies, PhD Student

Patrick Ploschnitzki grew up in Germany and served his Zivildienst at a hostel on Norderney, followed by a job at the front desk there. Fascinated by languages and the USA, he completed the programs of "Linguistics and Phonetics" and "English Studies" at the University of Cologne in 2013. As an undergraduate, he interned for the University of Rhode Island's German Section and served as an assistant and phonetics teacher at Middlebury College’s German School. Patrick recently earned his Master's degree in German Studies (Translation Emphasis) at the University of Arizona. He will continue his studies as a PhD student with a minor in Translation Studies in the Department's "Transcultural German Studies" program. He is passionate about travel and language, music, movies, and literature. Patrick plans to become a professional literary translator.

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Portrait of Sarah Price

(Photo by John De Dios)

Sarah Price

Psychology (Clinical Psychology Focus), PhD Student

Sarah Price is a doctoral student in the Clinical Psychology PhD program. A longtime resident of Philadelphia, she holds a BA from the University of Pennsylvania in the Biological Basis of Behavior. While contributing to various clinical trials at the Perelman School of Medicine, Sarah became interested in developing interventions to help individuals cope with serious medical diagnoses and to facilitate health behavior change in clinical populations. Her research focuses on improving quality of life for cancer patients and survivors. In her free time, Sarah enjoys rock climbing, yoga, hiking, and cycling.

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Portrait of José Luis Ruiz Duarte

(Photo by John De Dios)

José Luis Ruiz Duarte

Systems and Industrial Engineering, PhD Student

José Luis Ruiz Duarte is a doctoral student in the Department of Systems and Industrial Engineering. He attended the Universidad de Sonora in Hermosillo where he earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Industrial Engineering, and served as an assistant professor instructing courses in the areas of systems engineering, data analytics, simulation, and operations research. He is interested in solar energy research and its application for sustainable development through the use of systems and industrial engineering approaches. Outside of the lab and classroom, José Luis is an avid musician.

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Portrait of Paula Ugalde

(Photo by John De Dios)

Paula Ugalde

Anthropology, PhD Student

Paula Ugalde is a doctoral student in the Anthropology program. She earned her BA in Archaeology from the Universidad de Chile. Her research focuses on the early peopling of the Atacama Desert. Broadly, Paula is interested in the history of humans settling harsh and unknown territories. She wants to develop a geoarchaeology research approach line to site formation processes in the Atacama. Throughout her career, she has been devoted to outreach activities. Her more recent work includes a story for children based on the Inca civilization. Aside from archaeology, she enjoys singing, writing, and swimming.

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Portrait of Josh Uhlorn

(Photo by John De Dios)

Josh Uhlorn

Arizona Biological and Biomedical Sciences Program, PhD Student

Josh Uhlorn is pursuing his doctorate in the Arizona Biological and Biomedical Sciences Program. Although originally born in Idaho, Josh has lived in Chandler, Arizona, for most of his life, and he received his bachelor's degree in Biomedical Engineering from the University of Arizona in May of 2016. During his graduate career, Josh plans to focus on how the human body functions, with a particular interest in both cardiovascular and immune systems. He hopes to use this knowledge to develop biomedical devices that better mimic natural mechanisms and elicit less of an immune response when implanted.

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Portrait of Ernest Vallorz III

(Photo by John De Dios)

Ernest Vallorz III

Pharmaceutical Sciences – Pharmaceutics and Pharmacokinetics, PhD Student

Ernest Vallorz is a doctoral student in the Pharmaceutics and Pharmacokinetics Program. While earning his BS in Chemistry at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, he held multiple research positions. For the past three years, he has been a project lead at Cirrus Pharmaceuticals in RTP, developing novel pMDI and DPI formulations for industry clients. Ernest's research interests are in parenteral, aerosol and topical drug delivery, specifically understanding and modeling pharmaceutical aerosol delivery to the lungs. In his free time, he enjoys cooking, is an avid reader, and looks forward to exploring many of the hiking trails Arizona has to offer.

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Portrait of Karolina Wisniewska

(Photo by John De Dios)

Karolina Wisniewska

Philosophy, PhD Student

Karolina Wisniewska is a doctoral student in the Philosophy Department. She holds a BA (Hons) in Philosophy and Art History from York University, a JD from Osgoode Hall Law School, and an MA in Philosophy from York University. After completing her law degree, Karolina clerked at the Ontario Superior Court of Justice. She has been called to the Ontario Bar and is a licensee of the Law Society of Upper Canada. Her research focuses on transnational institutional structure and function in the context of the philosophical debate on global justice, and the implications of these normative questions for substantive issues of international law. Her broader research interests include political, moral and legal philosophy. Karolina enjoys travelling and has studied in England and Italy.

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Portrait of Christina Wyles

(Photo by John De Dios)

Christina Wyles

Nursing, PhD Student

Christina Wyles is a doctoral student in the College of Nursing. She has served as a nurse for over a decade and has focused on related healthcare research and outreach. Christina earned a Master of Science in Nursing and a Master of Arts in Library and Information Sciences from the University of Arizona. Her combined interests in nursing and information science have led to her focus on health informatics and its role in improving access to health care. To this end, she works with Dr. Sheila Gephart on the nationally-funded NEC-Zero intervention project, helping to prevent and improve early recognition of necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) in premature infants.

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Portrait of Pam Yabeny

(Photo by John De Dios)

Pam Yabeny

American Indian Studies Graduate Interdisciplinary Program (GIDP), PhD Student

Pam Yabeny is a doctoral student in the American Indian Studies program. She has a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Notre Dame, and a Master of Counseling degree and a Master of Science degree from Arizona State University.  A member of the Navajo Nation, she has worked with American Indian students for nearly ten years in the Maricopa Community College District. Pam is interested in researching the differences among American Indian student experiences in tribal colleges and community colleges. She enjoys travelling to exciting destinations with her husband.

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2015-2016 University Fellows

Portrait of Misha Burstein (Photo by John De Dio)

Misha Burstein

Art and Visual Culture Education, PhD Student

Misha Burstein is a PhD student in Art and Visual Culture Education.  He holds a BA in Film and Video Production from Montana State University and an MA in Intermedia Art and Video Performance from University of Iowa. He recently earned a M.Ed. in Adult and Higher Education from Western Washington University while teaching art history, film production, and art education courses at the Art Institute of Seattle. Misha is currently on the steering committee for the International Transformative Learning Conference at Teachers College, Columbia University— researching the relationship between transformative learning theory and art and social activism. Additional interests include contemplative pedagogy, critical reflection practice, weather art, and generative systems theory.

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Portrait of Joseph Dupris (Photo by John De Dio)

Joseph Dupris

Anthropology and Linguistics, PhD Student

Joseph Dupris is a doctoral student in the Anthropology and Linguistics dual degree program. He focuses on language revitalization and documentation, situated within his tribal community’s contemporary systems of knowledge transmission. He earned an MA in Native American Linguistics from the University of Arizona, where he combined community experience and archival research in order to examine the descriptive and theoretical aspects of maqlaqsyals (Klamath-Modoc) grammar in the Klamath Tribes region of the Upper Klamath Basin. Joseph intends to expand upon this research by exploring the sociolinguistic and ideological factors that come to bear on the Upper Klamath Basin, including the influence of political conflict, historical violence, and assimilationist government policies on language shift.

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Portrait of Gregg Ericksoon (Photo by John De Dios)

Gregg Erickson

Management Information Systems, PhD Student

Gregg Erickson is a doctoral student in the Management Information Systems program. He earned an MBA and an MS in Industrial and Technical Studies from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, and he earned a BS in Chemistry from the University of Washington. Gregg is an established entrepreneur, having co-founded three companies in the automotive industry, online support forums, and pharmokinetics. He also has consulting experience with Siemens Medical Systems and the Audubon Society His research is concerned with the impact of overdependence on assistive technology, with how to design assistive technology that avoids groupthink, and with the use of deception detection to screen patients and deliver higher-quality diagnoses. In his free time, Gregg travels the West, photographing the night sky, and posts his photos at www.DarkSkyWest.com.

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Portrait of Mel Ferrara (Photo by John De Dios)

Mel Ferrara

Gender & Women’s Studies, PhD Student

Mel Ferrara is a doctoral student in the Department of Gender and Women’s Studies, having graduated from Muhlenberg College with a BA in Philosophy/Political Thought and in Gender and Sexuality Studies. Their research interests include transgender and intersex studies, medical ethics, and politics of the body. They have worked as an advocate with the Diversity Strategy Planning Committee and the Muhlenberg Trans Advocacy Coalition, which Mel helped co-found. Mel enjoys traveling and has studied in Morocco and the Netherlands.

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Portrait of Ana Florea (Photo by John De Dios)

Ana Florea

Epidemiology, PhD Student

Ana Florea is an Epidemiology doctoral student in the College of Public Health. She holds an MPH from Boston University and a BS in Physiological Science from UCLA. Ana has worked at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, on various cardiology clinical trials, where she provided statistical support by creating original statistical coding; by monitoring enrollment, event rates and safety; and by creating monthly deliverables for executive committee meetings. She intends to study pharmaceutical clinical trials and vaccines, with interests in infectious diseases and healthcare in developing countries. Ana’s research interests developed from service abroad opportunities in Romania, where she was born and raised, and in Mexico. She wants to pursue a career with pharmaceutical companies or the Centers for Disease Control, overseeing a variety of epidemiological and clinical trial studies.

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Portrait of Brooke Finley (Photo by John De Dios)

Brooke Finley

Nursing, PhD Student

Brooke Finley is a doctoral student in Nursing. She earned her BS in Nursing at The University of Arizona in May 2015. In the course of holding four research positions as an undergraduate, Brooke found her scholarly niche in nursing informatics. Her doctoral research will focus on integrating healthcare informatics, biomedical technology, cognitive science, and psychology in order to meet the needs of 21st century healthcare; those needs include reducing compassion fatigue and streamlining care delivery while mutually reducing financial costs and improving patient outcomes. She enjoys cooking, practicing yoga, and reading classical literature, philosophy, and contributions from public intellectuals.

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Portrait of Brittany Forte (Photo by John De Dios)

Brittany Forte

Arizona Biological and Biomedical Sciences Program, PhD Student

Brittany Forte is a doctoral student in the Arizona Biological and Biomedical Sciences Program. A Pennsylvanian-turned-Texan, Brittany graduated from the University of Arizona in May 2015 with Bachelor of Science degrees in Biochemistry and Molecular & Cellular Biology and with a minor in Mathematics. Her undergraduate thesis, based in pharmacology, focused on the novel use of a peptide, Angiotensin-(1-7), as a therapeutic in cancer-induced bone pain. Brittany plans to join the Cancer Biology program to focus on mechanisms of breast cancer memory, invasion, and metastasis.

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Portrait of Nathania Garcia (Photo by John De Dios)

Nathania García

Language, Reading & Culture, PhD Student

Nathania Garcia is a doctoral student in the College of Education’s Language, Reading, and Culture program. She earned a Master’s degree from the University of Arizona in Mexican American Studies and a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from Northern Arizona University. Nathania’s research focuses on identity, queer borderlands, feminist pedagogies, and bilingualism, especially as they relate to social justice and the Mexicana/Chicana experience.

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Portrait of Jeff Gillan (Photo by John De Dios)

Jeffrey Gillan

Natural Resource Studies, PhD Student

Jeffrey Gillan is a doctoral student in the School of Natural Resources and the Environment. He earned a BS in Park Management and Conservation from Kansas State University and an MS in Environmental Science from the University of Idaho. In addition to being a scholar, Jeffrey is a USDA Agricultural Research Service employee in New Mexico at the Jornada Experimental Range; there, he has developed expertise with GIS datasets, and he has had extensive experience with using digital tools to communicate both science and policy. His research will focus on improving the use of GIS in land management policy and on communicating science to the public.

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Portrait of Joshua Gosney (Photo by John De Dios)

Joshua Gosney

Chemical Engineering, PhD Student

Joshua Gosney is a doctoral student in the Chemical Engineering program. He is a member of the Black Feet tribe and is a first generation college student. The recipient of both the McNair and INBRE scholarships, he earned a BS in Chemical Engineering at Montana State University. His research focuses on the environmental and health applications of computational and statistical modeling of fluid dynamics. More specifically, Joshua intends to work on the atmospheric science applications of chemical engineering in order to predict future climate on Earth. He is also interested in biomedical engineering and sustainability initiatives; at Montana State University, he led a project to reduce fume hood energy use, which led to $10,000 in savings per month. Joshua is an avid cyclist and has enjoyed traveling to Indonesia, South Korea, Malaysia, and the Philippines.

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Portrait of William Gurley (Photo by John De Dios)

William Gurley

Plant Sciences, PhD Student

William Gurley is a doctoral student in the School of Plant Sciences. He attended Auburn University, where he researched the metabolic adjustment of cotton under high temperatures. He has a wide background in the life sciences, ranging from organic chemistry to genetics and physiology.

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Portrait of Byron Hempel (Photo by John De Dios)

Byron Hempel

Environmental Engineering, PhD Student

Byron Hempel is enrolled in the PhD program in Environmental Engineering. He earned a BS in Chemistry at the University of Kentucky, and he has worked in both the laboratory and the field, including a project in Argentina.  Byron’s doctoral work will focus on water remediation and developing advanced water filtration techniques. In addition to his work in environmental engineering, he has experience in traditional chemistry labs and in the medical field. In his free time, he enjoys rock climbing on Mt. Lemmon and working out at Rocks and Ropes.

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Portrait of Stephanie Hoeckley (Photo by John De Dios)

Stephanie Hoeckley

Musical Arts – Performance, DMA Student

Stephanie Hoeckley is earning a Doctorate of Musical Arts in Flute Performance.  A Florida native, she earned a BA in Music at the University of Central Florida and a Master’s of Music at Arizona State University, where she expanded her performance repertoire and teaching credentials. She has been a finalist in the Florida Flute Association’s College Young Artist Competition and in ASU and UCF’s Concerto Competitions; in addition, she was principal flutist in many of the schools’ ensembles, and she maintains an active private flute studio. Stephanie’s interests include Alexander Technique, acoustics, entrepreneurship, and autism awareness. She aspires to become a “musician with a cause,” one who champions social justice. She hopes to improve the accessibility of classical music and destigmatize the genre as elitist. She is also interested in leveraging her role as a musician to promote feminism and broader equality. Outside the studio, she enjoys everything sci-fi and fantasy-related, and she belongs to the fictional Ravenclaw House.

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Portrait of Adolfo Bejar Lara (Photo by John De Dios)

Adolfo Béjar Lara

Spanish, PhD Student

Adolfo Béjar Lara is a PhD student in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese, where he will specialize in in Spanish American Cultural Studies and Border Studies. He has BAs in Spanish and Creative Writing from the University of California Riverside and an MA in Spanish from the University of Kansas. Adolfo’s research interests include ways in which food intersects with cultural representations of identity and hybridity; his doctoral work will focus on the dynamics of cultural exchange between border towns in the U.S. southwest and the north of Mexico.

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Portrait of Megan McKendry (Photo by John De Dios)

Megan McKendry

Sociology, PhD Student

Megan McKendry is pursuing a PhD in Sociology. She holds a BA in English from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a Master of Public Health from Columbia University. She served with AmeriCorps VISTA and spent four years working for a volunteer-run national non-profit organization focused on campus sexual assault policy and student activism. Before beginning her doctoral studies, Megan worked for the UA Campus Health’s Oasis Program as a Violence Prevention Counselor and for the Center for Disease Control in the Harlem Health Promotion Center. Broadly, her research interests include law and policy, sexual and reproductive health, social movements, political participation, and social inequality.

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Portrait of Jeffrey Melzer (Photo by John De Dios)

Jeffrey Melzer

Optical Sciences, PhD Student

Jeffrey Melzer is a doctoral student in Optical Sciences. He earned his BA in Materials Science and Engineering from Rutgers University, where he researched optical fibers, with an emphasis on hollow waveguides for infrared applications. His doctoral work will focus on the intersection of telecommunications and electronics, as well as the role of photonics in their enhancement. In his free time, Jeffrey enjoys photography and looks forward to capturing the new landscape around him.

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Portrait of Mohammad Abdolhosseini Moghaddam (Photo by John De Dios)

Mohammad Abdolhosseini Moghaddam

Hydrology and Water Resources, PhD Student

Mohammad Moghaddam is earning his PhD in Hydrology and Water Resources. An international student from Iran, he holds an MA in Civil Engineering and Water Resources from the University of California, Irvine, and a BS in Civil and Environmental Engineering from Tehran Polytechnic. His main interests are in hydrogeology, hydrology, optimization and inverse modeling. Mohammad’s current research uses hydrologic tomography to improve subsurface imaging at basin scales. He plans to investigate system responses of naturally recurrent stimuli (i.e., storms, earthquakes, and river stages) in order to map the subsurface characteristics and improve both water resource management and flood prediction.

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Portrait of Rhoda Muse (Photo by John De Dios)

Rhoda Muse

Statistics Graduate Interdisciplinary Program, PhD Student

Rhoda Muse is a doctoral student in the Statistics Graduate Interdisciplinary Program. Originally from Kenya, she earned a BA in Actuarial Science from the University of Nairobi in 2012 and an MA in Statistics from the UA. Rhoda is interested in the intersections of statistics, agriculture, and climate change in sub-Saharan Africa. Her research is on the modeling of food production as the developing world faces climate change. An aspiring farmer, she hopes to improve food production throughout Africa. In her free time, Rhoda enjoys singing, cultural dancing, travelling, and watching movies.

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Portrait of Kevin Scott (Photo by John De Dios)

Kevin Scott

Drug Discovery and Development, PhD Student

Kevin Scott is a first generation college student enrolled in the College of Pharmacy’s Drug Discovery and Development PhD program. Born in Germany, he moved to San Diego as a child. While working on a BS in chemistry at the University of California Irvine (UCI), he interned at the Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla and at an organic synthesis lab at UCI; he also worked at an aerospace startup in Los Angeles. Kevin is interested in applying medicinal chemistry to the discovery and design of new drugs. Among his notable achievements are the development of a method to genetically incorporate a non-canonical fluorescent amino acid into a bacterial cell-wall protein, the development of a therapeutic molecule that circumvents drug-resistance in pathogenic fungi, and the development of a chemical etching process for a key component of NASA/JPL’s InSight Mars Lander, which is due to launch in 2016.

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Portrait of Amanda Snell (Photo by John De Dios)

Amanda Snell

Second Language Acquisition & Teaching Graduate Interdisciplinary Program, PhD Student

Amanda Snell is a doctoral student in the Second Language Acquisition and Teaching program. She earned undergraduate degrees in Spanish and English from Purdue University and an M.A. in English from Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis. She enjoys volunteering and has developed English and family literacy classes for adult immigrants and refugees in central Indiana, where she grew up. In 2014, she received a Fulbright grant to teach English to German secondary school students and German to adult refugee women. This year, the Graduate Center is helping facilitate her community engagement project at Robison Elementary, a TUSD International Baccalaureate World School, where she leads a weekly girls’ mentoring club and teaches English to parents in the evening. Amanda’s research interests include family literacy, adult immigrants’ access to quality language instruction, discourse about immigration, and the connections between mental health and language acquisition. In her free time, she enjoys running, writing letters, and traveling.

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Portrait of Sarah Sutton (Photo by John De Dios)

Sarah Sutton

Planetary Sciences, PhD Student

Sarah Sutton is a doctoral student in the Planetary Sciences Program. She is an active member of the HiRISE Team at the UA, which uses advanced imaging and processing techniques to study Mars. She is also associated with NASA’s Planetary Geology and Geophysics cartography panel. Sarah intends to advance the role of innovative imaging techniques and modeling in order to explore more fully not only Mars but other bodies in the solar system.

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Portrait of Kirsten Verster (Photo by John De Dios)

Kirsten Verster

Entomology & Insect Science Graduate Intersdisciplinary Program, PhD Student

Kirsten Verster is a PhD student in the Entomology and Insect Science Graduate Interdisciplinary Program. She has a strong interest in evolutionary biology and entomology, having researched the cognition and facial recognition of wasps, phylogenetics, and bat-moth acoustic coevolution. As an undergraduate, she earned degrees in in Biology and Spanish at the University of Florida. This past year, she worked as the curator of flies for the UA. Studying genetics in order to understand behavior and evolutionary processes, she plans to examine the origins of herbivorous behaviors using the Scaptomyza flava model system. Kerstin’s fascination with biology began during her childhood in Florida when she snorkeled with manatees and collected bugs in the Everglades. She is an avid reader, enjoys cooking, and plays the ukulele, guitar, and piano.

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Portrait of Lu Zhang (Photo by John De Dios)

Lu Zhang

East Asian Studies – Chinese Religion and Thought, PhD Student

Lu Zhang is a PhD student in the Department of East Asian Studies, where she is focusing on the relationship between Buddhism and politics in medieval China. An international student from Beijing, she earned her BA and MA from Minzu University. Lu’s research focuses on the ways in which secularization and other cultural factors influenced Buddhism during the Song Dynasty. She is especially interested in the impact of evolving Buddhist beliefs on the literature of the period and on people of different socio-economic backgrounds. Richly interdisciplinary, her work includes Chinese history, philosophy, literature, and religion.

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2014-2015 University Fellows

Portrait of Kyle Curham (Photo by John De Dios)

Kyle Curham

Psychology, PhD Student

Kyle Curham received bachelor degrees in Mechanical Engineering (2012) and Psychology (2013).  Currently, he is working in the Psychophysiological Laboratory with Dr. John Allen at the University of Arizona. Curham is interested in the organizational principles guiding large-scale brain activity and in the mechanisms underlying a constellation of theta-band fronto-central event-related potentials. He uses ideas from dynamical systems theory to make predictions about oscillatory processes in the brain and tries to verify them using EEG.

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Portrait of Kelly Dew-Budd (Photo by John De Dios)

Kelly Dew-Budd

Plant Sciences, PhD Student

Kelly Dew-Budd is a PhD student in the School of Plant Sciences. She earned a B.S. in Zoology from North Carolina State University. At the University of Alabama, she earned a M.S. in Biology, under the guidance of Dr. Laura Reed, studying the effect of diet on fruit fly metabolism. Currently, Kelly is working with Dr. Mark Beilstein on identifying the functions of non-coding RNAs in Brassicaceae genome stability. 

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Portrait of Shyla Dogan (Photo by John De Dios)

Shyla Dogan

Educational Leadership, PhD Student

Shyla Dogan is a doctoral student in Educational Leadership and Policy. She has an M.Ed. in Anthropology and Education from Columbia University and she has an M.A. from the University of Arizona’s School of Middle East and North African Studies. She worked as a teacher in the Teach for America program and was the administrator of Al-Huda Islamic School in Tucson. She is interested in the education of minorities and refugees in the Middle East and how minority and refugee status pertains to language and identity formation. 

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Portrait of Matthew Godfrey (Photo by John De Dios)

Matthew Godfrey

Marketing, PhD Student

Matt Godfrey's research interests focus on the social and environmental impact of human consumption and marketing communications. His past research has included studies in environmental communication, social marketing, and consumer psychology. Matt received an MA in communication and culture with an Energy and Environmental Systems Specialization from the University of Calgary. He received his BA in communication with an emphasis on advertising from Brigham Young University. Matt has also worked in business innovation consulting and residential energy efficiency, in addition to completing several internships for business and non-profit organizations.

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Portrait of Michael Kerins (Photo by John De Dios)

Michael Kerins

Pharmacology and Toxicology, PhD Student

Following graduation from the University of Wisconsin with a BS in biochemistry, Michael Kerins worked as a product developer for Kimberly-Clark Corporation.  Because K-C manufactures FDA-regulated medical devices, Michael interacted with PhD-level toxicologists to navigate the intersection of technology, consumers, business, and regulation. Interested in the profession, Michael found the University of Arizona’s Pharmacology and Toxicology graduate program matched his intellectual and career interests perfectly.  He eagerly anticipates the opportunities at the UA and University Fellows Program and hopes to research toxicological mechanisms, quantitative biology, signal transduction, or metabolism.

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Portrait of Andrew Kunihiro   (Photo by John De Dios)

Andrew Kunihiro

Nutritional Sciences, PhD Student

Andrew Kunihiro has a BS in Bioengineering and a MS in Nutritional Science. He is currently pursuing a PhD in Nutritional Sciences, where his research will focus on the relationship between bioactive compounds in food and cancer. Specifically, he will examine whether certain compounds in food increase or decrease the risk of developing cancer or if they affect tumor progression and outcomes for those who already have cancer. His undergraduate focus was on microfluidics and lab-on-a-chip diagnostics, which he hopes to leverage during his doctoral studies.

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Portrait of Elliott Kwan (Photo by John De Dios)

Elliott Kwan

Optical Sciences, PhD Student

A PhD student in Optical Sciences, Elliott Kwan’s specific interest is in translational research, where science is implemented for improvement of human health. Kwan finds it astonishing how light can probe human tissue and be analyzed to obtain useful information. By developing quantitative imaging systems with advanced hardware, accurate models, and efficient processing, Kwan hopes to provide doctors with structural and metabolic information that can aid in patient treatment. Currently, he is working on a multi-resolution foveated laparoscope to aid in minimally invasive surgery. Treating illness and alleviating pain motivate him to succeed.

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Portrait of Stephanie Lashway (Photo by John De Dios)

Stephanie Lashway

Epidemiology and Biostatistics, PhD Student

Stephanie Lashway is a PhD student in Epidemiology at the Mel & Enid Zimmerman College of Public Health. Her research interests are in methodology and systems epidemiology, She is currently assisting Dr. Leslie Dennis with a meta-analysis of melanoma. Lashway received bachelor degrees in Biology and International Studies at Knox College, and she earned a Master of Public Health from the UA prior to starting her PhD program Fall 2014.

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Portrait of Tomas Martinez (Photo by John De Dios)

Tomas Martinez

Management and Organizations, PhD Student

Tomas Martinez is a PhD student in the Management & Organizations program at the Eller College of Management. He completed a bachelor’s degree in psychology at the University of Arizona in Spring 2014. Born and raised in Arizona, his main area of interest is in employee citizenship behaviors, with an emphasis on employee voice.

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Portrait of Paul Neff (Photo by John De Dios)

Paul Neff

Materials Science and Engineering, Master Degree Student

Paul Neff is a Tucson native, who graduated from the University of Arizona in May 2014 with degrees in Aerospace Engineering and Materials Science and Engineering. Expanding on the materials background, his research interests are in Ultra-High Temperature Ceramics for hypersonic flight applications. He intends to continue working with Dr. Erica Corral in the MSE department, investigating how to develop ceramics for more extensive use. His aim is to shape the next generation of aerospace transportation by combining his knowledge of materials science and aerospace engineering.

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Portrait of Christine O'Donnell (Photo by John De Dios)

Christine O’Donnell

Astronomy, PhD Student

Christine O’Donnell received her bachelor’s degree in astronomy and physics from the University of Virginia (UVA), and she earned a Master of Public Policy (MPP) in May 2014 from the Frank Batten School of Leadership & Public Policy at UVA. Christine has worked on research projects that investigate exoplanets, star formation, and galactic dynamics. In addition, she is interested in science education and policy. For her MPP thesis, Christine worked with the American Association of Physics Teachers and wrote a policy analysis addressing the gender gap in physics. She looks forward to both her astronomy research and science communication interests at UA.

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Portrait of Saffo Papantonopoulou (Photo by John De Dios)

Saffo Papantonopoulou

Anthropology and Middle Eastern and North African Studies, PhD Student

Saffo Papantonopoulou is pursuing a Dual PhD in Anthropology and Middle Eastern Studies. She holds a BA in History and Teacher Education from Brown University and an MA in Anthropology from The New School. She is interested in Ottoman history and the politics of historical memory in contemporary Greece and Turkey. In particular, she is interested in the ways in which the 1923 population exchange between both states is remembered, and the ways in which that memory is deployed by various political actors and activists.

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Portrait of Terrance Pitt-Brooke (Photo by John De Dios)

Terrance Pitt-Brooke

Music – Choral Conducting, DMA Student

Terrance Pitt-Brooke is a DMA student in Choral Conducting in the Fred Fox School of Music. He studied composition at the University of Toronto under Oskar Morawetz and Talivaldis Kenins, and conducting with Jon Washburn in Vancouver and Robert Fountain at the University of Wicsonsin. He has worked as a conductor and educator in a wide range of environments: church, community choir, high school, college, and professional ensembles. As a musician,
Pitt-Brooke’s interests range from Medieval to contemporary and from jazz to symphonic; his skill sets include scholar, critic, composer, performer and teacher. Additional interests include physics, natural history, food security, and sustainability issues.

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Portrait of Susan Renz (Photo by John De Dios)

Susan Renz

Nursing, PhD Student

Dr. Susan Renz is a PhD student in Nursing. She received her BSN and MSN from the University of Pennsylvania and her Doctorate in Nursing Practice from New York University. She has devoted her career to promoting evidence-based and resident-centered practice in nursing homes. Her dissertation will examine communication patterns among advanced practice nurses in long-term care and the effect on patient decision-making and unplanned hospital transfers. In addition to her studies, Dr. Renz serves as an associate program director and educator for the Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner Program and the clinical site coordinator at the University of Pennsylvania.

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Portrait of Danielle Sheather (Photo by John De Dios)

Danielle Sheather

Dance – Performance and Choreography, Master of Fine Arts Student

Danielle Sheather, from Ontario, Canada, graduated summa cum laude from SUNY Buffalo with a BFA (Dance) and a BA (Psychology). Her national and international credits include BalaSole Dance Company, Holland America, and The International Dance Festival. Her choreography has been showcased at Baryshnikov Arts Center. She is an ABT® Certified Teacher, having completed the ABT® Teacher Training Intensive in Primary through Level 5 of the ABT® National Training Curriculum. Danielle is pursuing an MFA in Performance and Choreography, teaching jazz and theater dance, and is rehearsal assistant to Michael Williams. She is interested in studying the economics of single-choreographer dance companies.

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Portrait of Christopher Shepard (Photo by John De Dios)

Christopher Shepard

Soil, Water, and Environmental Science, PhD Student

Chris Shepard grew up in the Appalachian Mountains of Southwestern Virginia. He attended the University of Virginia, where he received a BS in Environmental Science. In 2012, he came to the University of Arizona to work with Dr. Craig Rasmussen in the Department of Soil, Water, and Environmental Science, where he received a Master’s degree in the spring of 2014. Shepard is interested in understanding the relationships between soil and the surrounding environment. Specifically, he wants to investigate the effect of environmental factors such as vegetation and topography on soil formation, in order to develop better digital soil mapping techniques. 

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Portrait of Brigette Walters (Photo by John De Dios)

Brigette Walters

Spanish and Portuguese, PhD Student

Brigette Walters is a PhD student in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese. She has bachelor degrees in Spanish and Geography from the UA, and she earned an M.A. in Spanish and Latin American Linguistic, Literary, and Cultural Studies at New York University. Her research interests include contemporary Latin American literary and cultural representations of urban space, specifically with regard to sociospatial reorganization produced under neoliberalism and the subsequent effects on aesthetic developments and conceptions of personhood.

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Portrait of Melodie Yen (Photo by John De Dios)

Melodie Yen

Linguistics, PhD Student

Melodie Yen is a PhD student in Linguistics. She received her undergraduate degrees from the University of California, San Diego, in Psychology and Linguistics with a minor in Cognitive Science. Her interests lie primarily in language neuroscience and artificial languages. She will be conducting research in areas such as language disorders resulting from stroke or trauma, using fMRI and other neuroimaging techniques. Multilingual, she speaks English, Mandarin, Cantonese, and Spanish, and she has studied Korean and Latin. She enjoys linguistics because it is intrinsically interdisciplinary—no language system is independent from social, cognitive, psychological, and biological factors.

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Last updated 25 Apr 2017