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Jamie Crait

Program Director, WRSP

Ag-C, Rm 5007

1000 E University Ave

Laramie, WY 82071

Email: craitj@uwyo.edu

__________________________

Tabatha Spencer

Project Coordinator, UW Science Initiative

A&S Rm 152A

1000 E University Ave

Laramie, WY 82071

Phone: 307-766-4447

Email: tspence5@uwyo.edu

WRSP logo

2020-21 WYOMING RESEARCH SCHOLARS

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Megan Andersen

 

Hometown: Whitewood, SD

Major: Environmental Systems Science

Megan is working with Dr. Karen Vaughan and Chelsea Duball (Ecosystem Science & Management). Through her research, she will consider the reduction rates of FeS in hydric soils, studying the amount of time needed for the IRIS (Indicator of Reduction in Soils) device to show maximum reduction of FeS. Results from this research aim to simplify the methods of calculating reduction-oxidization reactions in anaerobic conditions of wetland hydric soils, specifically regarding the reduction of iron monosulfides.


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Josh Arulsamy

 

Hometown: Laramie, WY

Major: Computer Science

 

 

 


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Mercedes Bartels

 

Hometown: Burns, WY

Major: Physiology

Mercedes has an interest in disease and general physiology, recently in regards to the spread of COVID-19, and the research being done to help combat it. She hopes one day she can make a difference in medicine as more than a physician, but as a researcher as well.


Tyler Beddingfield

Tyler Beddingfield

 

Hometown: Fremont, CA

Major: Rangeland Ecology & Watershed Management, Environment & Natural Resources

Tyler is working with Dr. Fabian Nippgen & Dr. Ginger Paige (Ecosystem Science & Management). Tyler hopes to improve understanding of how vegetation affects hyporheic zones and water balances in rangeland riparian areas. Rangeland watersheds are home to many small headwater streams that contribute a large portion of water to the arid and semiarid ecosystems of the western United States. This research aims to contribute to a larger project describing how riparian vegetation affects hyporheic zones in a small mountain rangeland watershed in southeastern Wyoming.


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Kyle Biehl

 

Hometown: Timnath, CO

Major: Molecular Biology

Kyle is working with Dr. Daniel Wall (Molecular Biology). His research on Self-nonself recognition between cells and how it serves as the basis of the immune system allowing for discrimination between self and nonself intrusive pathogens. He will use the model bacterium, Myxococcus xanthus, which uses self-nonself recognition to form multicellular structures in which cells recognize their neighbors and regulate social interactions between kin and non-kin. This study seeks to characterize TraB function using various genetic and microscopy methods.


Michelle Bronstein

Michelle Bronstein

 

Hometown: Boulder, CO

Major: Computer Science

Michelle is working with Dr. Mike Borowczak (Computer Science) on a project through the UW Cybersecurity Education and Research (CEDAR) center. Her research focuses on auditory stimulus as a form of continuous authentication, with the goal of being able to use free speech for identification.


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Bradon Bryngelson

 

Hometown: Gillette, WY

Majors: History, Secondary Education

Bradon is working with Dr. Joseph Schroer (Education) on a study into why and when female-oriented students begin to feel uncomfortable pursuing education in STEM fields. He wants to examine and potentially create teaching styles and lessons to counteract this effect.


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Wren Buchenroth

 

Hometown: Jackson, WY

Majors: Environment & Natural Resources, Microbiology

Wren is working with Rachel Watson (Chemistry) to develop an efficient method of cleaning wastewaters, primarily agricultual effluent, using algae.  Through this research, he aims to combat dead zones while providing economically viable byproducts.  


christensen,amanda_205x205Amanda Christensen

 

Hometown: Buford, WY

Major: Chemical Engineering

Amanda is working with Dr. Amy Navratil and Dr. Brian Cherrington (Zoology & Physiology) to determine the role of the reproductive hormone prolactin on milk production by looking at the changes it causes in mammary proteins. She is focusing on histone proteins that alter gene expression and ultimately the proteins produced in the milk, and architectural proteins of the mammary gland.


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Malea Christensen

 

Hometown: Buford, WY

Major: Molecular Biology


Adam CouldridgeAdam Couldridge

 

Hometown: Casper, WY

Majors: Geology, Chemistry

Adam is working with Dr. Kenneth W. Sims (Geology). His area of research is currently focused on looking at different isotopes systems. One of the main isotopes system I plan on looking at is stable Fe.


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Hanna Crockett

 

Hometown: Rock Springs, WY

Major: Kinesiology & Health

 

 

 


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Kamaile DeLong

 

Hometown: Etna, WY

Major: Zoology

Kamaile is working with Dr. Lusha Tronstad (WYNDD). Her research on tall forb communities – plant communities with tall, diverse wildflowers – and how they are unique to high elevations of the Rocky Mountains from Montana to Utah. Spreading awareness on how these plant communities provide food and shelter for many animals both large and small, and how these plant communities may become increasingly important to pollinator conservation as the climate warms and human development expands. Kamaile hopes to help fill this information gap for land managers responsible for restoring damaged tall forb communities. She will collect data that will allow resource managers to better restore and conserve these critical habitats for pollinators, wildlife, and watersheds for generations to come.


Emma Dixon

Emma Dixon

 

Hometown: Lawrence, KS

Majors: Environmental Systems Science, Outdoor Recreation & Tourism Management

Emma is working with Dr. Ramesh Sivanpillai (WyGISC).  They are analyzing peer-reviewed articles about the human-elephant conflict found near Coimbatore, India to create a synthesis article on the subject. She traveled to India in the summer of 2019 and conducted her own research on the human-elephant conflict by interviewing farmers and other citizens affected by this issue.


Andromeda Erikson

Andromeda Erikson

 

Hometown: Laramie, WY

Major: Exploratory Studies

 

 

 


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Eloise Fadial

 

Hometown: Laramie, WY

Majors: Chemical Engineering, Music

Eloise is working with Dr. John Oakey (Chemical Engineering). Her research involves the observation and understanding of how cells develop in vivo. She will study of the mechanics and interactions of cells and extracellular matrices using the Optimized Cell Response Microfluidic Chamber; a microfluidic device designed to grow and observe cells and cellular matrices in order to better understand their growth. She also hopes to create a new model of this device which will contain traps to allow the study of algae growth. 


Colin Finlay

Colin Finlay

 

Hometown: Jackson, WY

Major: Microbiology

Colin is working with Dr. Mario Bretfeld (within the Ewers lab). He is looking at how soil microbes recover after a forest fire; specifically, he is looking for an interaction between fire intensity and the development of antibiotic resistance.


Kaatje Fisk

Kaatje Fisk

 

Hometown: Salt Lake City, UT

Major: Molecular Biology

Kaatje Fisk is working with Dr. Jason Gigley (Immunology and Molecular Biology); her research focuses on the immune system’s response to Toxoplasma gondii infection in mice models. She is working with the Gigley team to look closely at the relationship between the innate and adaptive immune responses in the host during Toxoplasma infection. Through this research, she hopes to uncover the biological mechanisms responsible for the unique interactions between NK and CD4 T cells.


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Sydnie Fossberg

 

Hometown: Las Cruces, NM

Major: Biology

Sydnie is working with Dr. Matthew Carling (Zoology & Physiology) to study the health of hybrid birds in the Great Plains area, specifically indigo and lazuli buntings. Isotopic analysis and physical evaluation is being used to determine how effectively the birds are able to devote energy to growth and physical maintenance. She is also observing the birds' behavior around molting and migration seasons to see if their hybrid nature is causing them to molt irregularly or migrate in a different direction than either parent species.

 


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Rebecca Franke

 

Hometown: Stillwater, MN

Major: Zoology & Physiology

Rebecca's research work with Dr. Patrick Kelley (Zoology & Physiology) focused on a project titled "Response of army ant-following birds to predation risk: an experimental test".

 


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Silas Goetz

 

Hometown: Lander, WY

Major: Geology

Silas is working with Dr. Simone Runyon (Geology & Geophysics)His research is focused on base and precious metals with overall hopes to help benefit the mining industry and continue to take steps to reduce our overall impact on the environment through technological advancements in the industry.


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Maille Gray

 

Hometown: Lander, WY

Major: Environmental Geology & Geohydrology

Maille's research will be focused on the study and protection of "wild places". Her passion and determination for wanting to give back to the earth, along with her firsthand knowledge of how reckless humans can be, will push her to pursue all routes of gaining ways to improve awareness and make positive impacts for the future of the environment.


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Natasha Heins

 

Hometown: Cheyenne, WY

Majors: Botany, Biology

Natasha is working with Dr. Ellen Currano (Botany).

 

 


Sophia Helmkamp

Sophia Helmkamp

 

Hometown: Parker, CO

Majors: Mechanical Engineering, Music

Sophia is working with Dr. Erica Belmont (Mechanical Engineering).


Zoe Hendricks

Zoe Hendricks

 

Hometown: Colorado Springs, CO

Major: Physiology

Zoe is working in Dr. Cynthia Hartung's Attention & Learning Lab (Psychology). As a lab assistant, Zoe is researching the baseline health differences in college students with and without ADHD in relation to obesity, aerobic capacity, handgrip strength, and health habits. Additionally, the lab is studying the positive effects of exercise on cognition as a potential treatment for ADHD.


Theresa Higgins

Theresa Higgins

 

Hometown: Cedar Park, TX

Majors: Zoology, Physiology

Theresa is working with Dr. Corey Tarwater (Zoology & Physiology) and Rebecca Wilcox researching Song Sparrow personalities and behavioral syndromes in an isolated island population (Mandarte island) off Vancouver, Canada.


Alexandra Higley

Alexandra Higley

 

Hometown: Parker, CO

Majors: Physics, Astronomy & Astrophysics

Alexandra works with Dr. Adam Myers and Brad Lyke (Physics & Astronomy) with quasar spectra by working on computational projects to understand outliers and their nature. Data collected from quasars is essential to cosmology and better understanding of dark energy.


Caleb Hoopes

Caleb Hoopes

 

Hometown: Sheridan, WY

Major: Chemistry

Caleb works with Dr. Michael Taylor (Chemistry) and researches how organic compounds that interact with light can modify proteins.

 


Corinne Komlodi

Corinne Komlodi

 

Hometown: Gilbert, AZ

Major: Physics & Astronomy

Corinne is interested in theoretical and material physics, specifically how each subject can impact the future of humanity on both earth, and in space in any applicable field.

 


Ema Kurbos-Cooper

Ema Kurbos-Cooper

 

Hometown: Sylvania, OH

Major: Environmental Systems Science

 

 

 


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Ayda Lewis

 

Hometown: Cheyenne, WY

Majors: Psychology

Ayda is working with Dr. Cynthia Weinig & Dr. Reilly Dibner (Botany). Her research will focus on exploring relationships between atmospheric and both terrestrial and aquatic microbiomes in several different areas and climates in Wyoming. She hopes to further research into the stratification of microbes in an environment, and how changes to those microbial environments impact overall ecosystem health and function.  


Michael James Lindman

Michael Lindman

 

Hometown: Cheyenne, WY

Major: Astronomy and Astrophysics

MJ is working with Dr. Chip Kobulnicky (Physics & Astrophysics). His research is focused on the study stellar bowshock nebulae and the stars that drive them. He plans to catalog and classify 180 bowshock stars to add to the current list of over 700 stars with the help of Dr. Kobulnicky and other astronomy students. 


Jacob Schneider

Ian Lovell

 

Hometown: Ault, CO

Major: Animal & Veterinary Science

Ian is working with Dr. Cody Gifford (Animal Science). His study aims to assess shelf life characteristics that are influenced by microbiological growth and lipid oxidation in ground beef packages over time and to determine if photooxidation from package display under LED, fluorescent lighting or dark storage further influences microbiological and lipid oxidation once packages are opened and displayed in a traditional oxygenated retail display environment. Overall helping to determine storage factors that contribute to the differing levels of shelf life in ground beef and to identify time points that are optimal for human health. 


McKell LyonMcKell Lyon

 

Hometown: Green River, WY

Major: Physics

McKell is working with Dr. Chip Kobulnicky (Physics & Astrophysics).


Nesha Michaels

Nesha Michaels

 

Hometown: Gillette, WY

Majors: Wildlife & Fisheries Biology & Management, Environment & Natural Resources

Nesha works with Dr. Kevin Monteith (Zoology & Physiology). Her research involves laboratory analysis of fetal eye diameter measurements and associated birth dates of bighorn sheep lambs. Her goal is to determine if birth dates can be better predicted based upon the measurable progression in fetus growth.


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Isabella Mijares

 

Hometown: Pagosa Springs, CO

Major: Speech-Language & Hearing Sciences

Isabella Mijares is working with Dr. Mark Guiberson (Communication Disorders) in the Dual Language and Preschool Laboratory for Speech and Language Disorders. Research is focused on clinical screening approaches and consistent early intervention for Latino and Native American preschool-age children, as well as looking at language barriers within communication disorders. 


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Molly Murnane

 

Hometown: Crofton, MD

Major: Energy Resource Management and Development

Molly is working with Dr. Daniel Laughlin (Botany). Her research will be focused on investigating the changes in critical ecosystem functions such as nutrient cycling and water use, following the optimization of species assemblages for drought tolerance and invasion resistance.


Sai Kit Ng

Sai Kit Ng

 

Hometown: Laramie, WY

Major: Microbiology & Molecular Biology

Kit is working with Dr. Jason Gigley (Molecular Biology) in investigating how immune factors such as non-classical MHC Qa-1b contributes to immunity by infecting mice with the obligate intracellular parasite Toxoplasma gondii in the presence or absence of Qa-1b antibody blockade. He will also investigate how Qa-1b contributes to the development of the immune response to Toxoplasma gondii. How immune factors such as non-classical MHC Qa-1b contributes to immunity to this parasite has never been tested. He will then determine the impact of Qa-1b blockade on infection and immunity to Toxoplasma gondii. He will use mice and flow cytometry in my experiments.


Kianna Olson

Kianna Olson

 

Hometown: Laramie, WY

Majors: Astronomy & Astrophysics; Physics


Kianna is working with Dr. Michael Brotherton (Physics & Astronomy) on the MAHA Project. With the MAHA project, they are doing reverberation mapping, a technique that will allow us to better determine the size of Active Galactic Nuclei (AGN).  Another key interest of this project is to search for binary supermassive black holes.


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Maxwell Packebush

 

Hometown: Littleton, CO

Major: Microbiology, Molecular Biology

Maxwell is working with Dr. Lusha Tronstad (WYNDD)His research will look into disease-causing pathogens that are causing a critical loss of bumblebee populations in North America. By comparing the percent of bumblebees parasitized by ​Nosema bombi ​and other novel pathogens in each species of bumblebees, investigation if some species including the Western Bumble Bee, are more heavily parasitized than others based on the species and their environment. His research focuses on committing resources to benefit the health of massively advantageous North American pollinators, critical ecosystems, and agriculture will be greatly served. Maxwell believes environmental stewardship is crucially fundamental in the conservation of North American Bombus.


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Brock Parker

 

Hometown: Gering, NE

Major: Physics, Astronomy & Astrophysics

Brock is working with Dr. Chip Kobulnicky (Physics & Astrophysics).


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Emily Purifoy

 

Hometown: Cheyenne, WY

Major: Animal & Veterinary Science

Emily will be doing research working under Dr. Karen Mruk (Pharmacy).


Tatiana Rice

Tatiana Rice

 

Hometown: Casper, WY

Majors: Physiology; Spanish

Tatiana is working with Dr. Guanglong He (School of Pharmacy), studying the effects of e-cigarettes on the cardiovascular system of mice at the molecular, tissue, and system level.


Benjamin Romanjenko

Benjamin Romanjenko

 

Hometown: Story, WY

Major: Microbiology & Molecular Biology

Ben has been working with Dr. Vikram Chhatre (INBRE Bioinformatics Core) completing research pertaining to plant genetics. By analyzing RNA expression of grapes under salt-stressed conditions as well as looking at hybridization in wild poplar genomes Ben hopes to better understand genetic-based tolerance to abiotic stresses that are a result of climate change.


Aeriana Roth

Aeriana Roth

 

Hometown: Sheridan, WY

Major: Chemical Engineering

Aeriana Roth is working with Dr. John Oakey (Chemical Engineering), in a Bioengineering laboratory. Her interest is in Biomedical Engineering research. Currently, she is working with other undergraduates, learning how to make Micro-fluidic devices, by filling a mold with PDMS (a type of plastic), cutting out the imprints, and bonding them to glass. These devices have a number of uses in medical and biomedical research. 


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Ethan Rowe

 

Hometown: Asheville, NC

Major: Zoology

Ethan is working with Dr. Michael Dillon (Zoology & Physiology)His research on tropical environments aims to determine the hosts of Stylogaster flies and to determine the strategies these flies employ when selecting a host and how that may change based on biotic and abiotic factors. Results from this study will help us to better understand novel ecological interactions in the communities that flourish around the army ants in the neotropics.


Chet Russell

Chet Russell

 

Hometown: Laramie, WY

Major: Computer Science

 

 

 


Lauren Sauley

Lauren Sauley

 

Hometown: Palmer Lake, CO

Major: Geology


Kaci Schmick

Kaci Schmick

 

Hometown: Torrington, WY

Major: Pre-Pharmacy


Andrea Schmitt

Andrea Schmitt

 

Hometown: Parker, CO

Major: Physiology

Andrea is working with Dr. John Oakey (Chemical Engineering).


Kevin Schnedecker

Kevin Schnedecker

 

Hometown: Berthoud, CO

Majors: Microbiology, Molecular Biology

Kevin is working with Dr. Ellen Currano (Botany). His research interests include microbiological and molecular biological research related to genetics.


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Jacob Schneider

 

Hometown: Cincinnati, OH

Major: Petroleum Engineering

Jacob is working with Dr. Tawfik Elshehabi (Petroleum Engineering).


Austin Stephen

Austin Stephen

 

Hometown: Cheyenne, WY

Major: Computer Science

Austin is currently working with Dr. Lars Kotthoff (Computer Science) in the MALLET lab, which studies machine learning and algorithm selection. Austin's research interests lie in machine learning, neural architectures, applications of machine learning techniques. 


Hunter Swilling

Hunter Swilling

 

Hometown: Cheyenne, WY

Majors: Physiology, Molecular Biology

Hunter works with Dr. Yun Li (Zoology & Physiology) to determine how neural activity in the prefrontal cortex carries information that guides behavior; including how neural activity is impacted by a variety of neural disorders such as dementia, depression, and autism. They then look at how these changes in neural activity caused by the disorders translate to changes in behavior. They use miniScope in vivo calcium imaging in freely behaving mice, as well as optogenetics and viral-genetic tools, to study this.


Rachel TenneyRachel Tenney

 

Hometown: Casper, WY

Major: Chemistry; Physics

Rachel is working with Dr. Elliott Hulley (Chemistry) on a project involving organometallic complexes used in studying the generation of protons from carbon-hydrogen bonds (heterolytic C-H activation).


Alicia Thoney

Alicia Thoney

 

Hometown: Sheridan, WY 

Major: Computer Science

Alicia has a passion for computer science, specifically in computational sciences within biology, deep learning, and cyber-security. She hopes to focus her research on finding new ways to use these technologies to help and engage communities.


Narisse Trippel

Narisse Trippel

 

Hometown: Worland, WY

Majors: Mechanical Engineering; Energy Systems Engineering

Narisse is working with Dr. Erica Belmont (Mechanical Engineering) on using various types of biomass samples to create biochar and bio-oils to test the feasibility of a particular biomass for regular use as alternative fuels.


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Sarah Wannemuehler

 

Hometown: Mount Vernon, IN

Major: Zoology

Sarah is working with Dr. Michael Dillon (Zoology & Physiology). Her research focused on the study of aquatic invertebrate populations and how they are key indicators for a healthy water ecosystem. Through this research, she hopes to better understand the effects of climate change and limited oxygen availability on physiological processes such as development and energy allocation in various ecosystems and how it will have many implications in the fields of ecology, physiology, conservation, fisheries management, geography, the study of climate change, and many others.


Tanner Warder

Tanner Warder

 

Hometown: Sheridan, WY

Major: Wildlife & Fisheries Biology & Management

Tanner is working with Dr. Matthew Kauffman (Wyoming Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Unit) to research Wyoming's Red Desert to Hoback mule deer migration, which takes place every spring and fall. Some of these ungulates travel nearly 150 miles between their summer and winter range, and Tanner is looking to assess their interactions with fences and other barriers along their migration corridor using trail cameras.

Contact Us

Jamie Crait

Program Director, WRSP

Ag-C, Rm 5007

1000 E University Ave

Laramie, WY 82071

Email: craitj@uwyo.edu

__________________________

Tabatha Spencer

Project Coordinator, UW Science Initiative

A&S Rm 152A

1000 E University Ave

Laramie, WY 82071

Phone: 307-766-4447

Email: tspence5@uwyo.edu

WRSP logo

1000 E. University Ave. Laramie, WY 82071
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