Meet the 2018-19 University Fellows

Submitted on October 22, 2018

By Elizabeth Labiner


The University Fellows program has entered its fifth year, and welcomed another stellar cohort of graduate students. For those not familiar with the program, the premise is simple: recruit stellar graduate students through a combination of competitive funding, professional development, focused mentoring, and community engagement. The Fellows represent fields across the arts, sciences, humanities, and social sciences.


The 2018-19 class includes twenty-three students with a wide array of research interests and aspirations; all students are pursuing a doctoral degree unless otherwise noted. Jared Baker is an award-winning dancer and choreographer working toward his MFA. Ian Briggs is a student in optical sciences who comes to the U of A with extensive experience in electrical and computer engineering and applied engineering physics. Nina Conrad, a student in the Second Language Acquisition & Teaching Graduate Interdisciplinary Program, works to challenge assumptions about international students and non-native English speakers. Jonathan Credo, in clinical translational sciences, is also working toward a medical doctorate.

Sonia Delphin Pérez is a student in the Natural Resources program whose research interests are land-use planning, conservation of natural resources, and sustainable development, all with an emphasis on finding ways to balance growth and conservation. Richmond Embeywa, in the Transcultural German Studies program, joins the Fellows program from Kenya. Embeywa focuses on second language teaching and acquisition, with a particular focus on second language acquisition among refugee populations. Erin Jennings, a student in the Arizona Biological and Biomedical Sciences Program, will work on exploring the effects of external substances on the gastrointestinal tract and how the gastrointestinal tract affects other body systems.


The Fellows class also includes Nursing student Elizabeth Johnson, who is interested in human research subject protections as they pertain to Electronic Health Record utilization and subject retention. In Marketing, Ashok Kaliyamurthy focuses on the ways in which culture and consumption shape each other and the economic, social, and political implications of this interaction. Julie Kasper, who is pursuing an Educational Leadership Doctorate in Education (EdD), plans to investigate how educational policy - both as written by policymakers and as implemented by administrators and teachers - includes and excludes particular communities of learners. Student in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Victoria Luizzi researches species interactions and how natural selection on traits important to these interactions vary across time and space. Joshua Mack, in Electrical and Computer Engineering, is interested in the intersection of high performance computing and reconfigurable systems, emerging architectures, and intelligent and/or autonomous workload partitioning across heterogeneous systems. In Nutritional Sciences, Lauren Meeks studies the impact of nutrition on the prevention and treatment of cancer and natural methods of cancer treatment that circumvent the side effects associated with traditional chemotherapy. Tristan Phillips, in Mathematics, is especially interested in number theory and the way it influences other mathematic theories and practice.

John Powell, a student in Linguistics, plans to research language documentation and revitalization of indigenous languages. Joe Schlosser, in Chemical Engineering, will be researching the impacts of aerosols on climate change, especially in respect to sustainable practices in nutrient and water recovery, farming, manufacturing, and transportation. After studying in the USA, Mexico, and Spain, Carmella Scorcia Pacheco looks forward to exploring border issues, cultural resistance, social justice, and the affirmation of multicultural and transnational identities while in the Spanish program at the U of A.


The class is rounded out by Victoria Sisk in Sociology, who plans to focus on understanding social inequality at the neighborhood level, particularly the ways in which gentrification can disrupt or perpetuate inequality for long-time residents of gentrifying neighborhoods. A. Grace Steig, in Anthropology, studies ecology of changing food systems and the biopolitics of agricultural work and migration. Yuhui Tang, a student in Planetary Sciences, is excited to contribute to the UA Lunar and Planetary Laboratory’s exploration of the processes that shape planet development and to be a part of the search for life on other planets. In Art and Visual Culture Education, Rebecca Thompson explores how to develop sustainable mindsets and embodied experience in art education. Amanda Wilson, a student in Environmental Health Sciences, focuses on quantitative microbial risk assessment, exposure modeling, and exposure science. Jessica Zanetell seeks to account for the effect of noise associated with tipping points in climate models in the Applied Mathematics Graduate Interdisciplinary Program.


We are excited to welcome the new Fellows, and we look forward to sharing in-depth profiles of individual Fellows as the year proceeds.