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UW College of Arts and Sciences Names Dean’s Graduate Scholars

January 15, 2019
Francesca King, Bryan Maitland and Macy Ricketts

A total of 23 University of Wyoming students recently were named Dean’s Graduate Scholars by the College of Arts and Sciences. The annual funding from the dean’s office provides master’s and doctoral-level students a $2,500 award to be used for one month’s summer salary and special travel funds.

The 2018-19 recipients come from many different areas of study and concentration, but three who stick out are Francesca King, from the Department of Visual and Literary Arts; Bryan Maitland, of the Department of Zoology and Physiology; and Macy Ricketts, of the Department of Botany.

King will graduate with her Master of Fine Arts from UW’s Creative Writing Program during the summer of 2019. She recently finalized a draft of her thesis, a 100-page novella focused on Iceland’s Huldufolk. The Huldufolk (Icelandic for hidden people) are mythical figures such as elves, fairies, dwarves and trolls that hold a special place in the country’s folklore. King will spend parts of the spring semester revising her work under the guidance of Professor Alyson Hagy and, thanks to the award, also will travel back to Iceland for 10 days in March to conduct further research.

Maitland is a doctoral candidate with plans to graduate in the spring of 2020. His dissertation research is focused on informing the conservation and management of biodiversity in Wyoming through detailed research on food web structure. He is exploring mechanisms that influence the diversity of fish communities in rivers that originate in mountains and flow onto the Great Plains. He is specifically looking at the Laramie, Sweetwater and Medicine Bow rivers, which are major tributary streams of the North Platte River in Wyoming.

Ricketts’ doctoral research focuses on genetic analysis of past and present microbial community structure in soils from prominent Wyoming archeological sites. This highly exploratory work involves using a new molecular technique to separate DNA of living bacteria from DNA of ancient or recently deceased bacteria. She plans to use this method to address the question of how bacterial communities change over periods of days and years to millennia, and how these bacteria may contain markers of past climate change. She is working with soil collected from the La Prele mammoth kill site near Douglas, the Alm Shelter site in the Bighorn Mountains and the Hell Gap Paleoindian camp site in eastern Wyoming.

A complete list of 2018-19 honorees, listed by hometown, is below:

Cheyenne -- Mike Uribe, master’s, modern and classical languages.

Kelly -- Katherine Gura, master’s, zoology and physiology.

Laramie -- Kylie Gower, master’s, history and American studies; Veronica Hanway, master’s, geography; Riley Jordan, doctoral, physics and astronomy; Phineas Arthur Kelly, doctoral, anthropology; Belen Reyes Morente, master’s, modern and classical languages; Judah Serrano, master’s, psychology; and Trent Wondra, doctoral, psychology.

Rock Springs -- Robert Nielsen, doctoral, physics and astronomy.

Anchorage, Alaska -- Henry Wladkowski, doctoral, physics and astronomy.

Bromley, United Kingdom -- Francesca King, master’s, visual and literary arts.

Davie, Fla. -- Fabio Da Pat, master’s, geology and geophysics.

Livingston, Mont. -- Macy Ricketts, doctoral, botany.

Madras, Ore. -- Tesalee Sensibaugh, doctoral, psychology.

Mancos, Colo. -- Rica Fulton, master’s, geography.

Napa, Calif. -- Rebecca Wilcox, doctoral, zoology and physiology.

New York City -- Bryan Maitland, doctoral, zoology and physiology.

Pompton Lakes, N.J. -- Christopher Sudol, master’s, history and American studies.

St. Paul, Minn. -- Alexander Garcia-Putnam, doctoral, anthropology.

Scotland, S.D. -- Rhiannon Jakopak, master’s, zoology and physiology.

Seal Beach, Calif. -- Shira Kern, doctoral, psychology.

Yakima, Wash. -- Baylee Staufenbiel, master’s, history and American studies.

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