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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

Kyler Arriola

Kyler Arriola

 

Hometown: Jackson, WY

Major: Criminal Justice

Kyler will be working with Dr. Bruns (Kinesiology and Health) within the HEART lab. He will be studying the impact of age on the failing heart, sex differences in heart failure development and treatment, exercise as medicine for heart failure, and the identification of new therapies for the treatment of heart disease.


Josh Arulsamy

Josh Arulsamy

 

Hometown: Laramie, WY

Major: Computer Science

 

 

 


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Mercedes Bartels

 

Hometown: Burns, WY

Major: Physiology

Mercedes is working in Doctor Todd Schoborg's lab. For her project, she is investigating the cellular basis for microcephaly - a reduction in brain size - which is a genetic disease in humans. They are doing this by testing the hypothesis that a reduction in brain size is caused by a decrease in the number of neural cells. They are using Drosophila melanogaster as a model species through which we can examine microcephaly. 

Student 2020 Virtual Symposium Research Presentation Found Here


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.

Student 2020 Virtual Symposium Research Presentation Found Here


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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 agricultural effluent, using algae.  Through this research, he aims to combat dead zones while providing economically viable byproducts.  

Student 2020 Virtual Symposium Research Presentation Found Here


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Kellyn Chandler

 

Hometown: Dubois, WY

Major: Fish & Wildlife

Kellyn has an interest in studying wildlife populations, habitat, and human influence as well as helping with conservation efforts and pushing to protect wildlife and wild places. Growing up in Wyoming has motivated her to be part of the solution and she hopes someday to be able to provide research that enables humans to understand and live more cohesively with native species. 

Student 2020 Virtual Symposium Research Presentation Found Here


Malea Christensen

Malea Christensen

 

Hometown: Buford, WY

Major: Molecular Biology

Malea is working with Dr. Todd Schoborg (Molecular Biology).

 

 

Student 2020 Virtual Symposium Research Presentation Found Here


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Kalley Collins

 

Hometown: Cowley, WY

Major: Anthropology & Geology

Kalley is currently working with Lauren Azevedo Scmidt a current P.hD. Student in the Currano Lab. She will be studying modern leaves and the insect interactions that occur in the present, to compare the modern flora with insect interactions in past flora throughout deep time. This comparison will hopefully be used to understand potential future insect interactions with flora as climate change progresses.


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Hanna Crockett

 

Hometown: Rock Springs, Wyoming

Major: Kinesiology & Health

 

 

 

Student 2020 Virtual Symposium Research Presentation Found Here


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.

Student 2020 Virtual Symposium Research Presentation Found Here


Andromeda Erikson

Andromeda Erikson

 

Hometown: Laramie, WY

Major: Exploratory Studies

Andromeda is working with Dr. Catherine Wagner and master's student Lucia Combrink to determine the ecological and evolutionary impacts of introduced trout populations in Wyoming's Wind River Range. Fish stocking in alpine lakes is common practice for supporting recreational fisheries and provides an interesting case study for their effects. Andromeda is looking at trout diet through stomach content analyses to better understand these interactions.

Student 2020 Virtual Symposium Research Presentation Found Here 


Kaatje Fisk

Kaatje Fisk

 

Hometown: Salt Lake City, UT

Major: Molecular Biology

Kaatje Fisk is working with Dr. Jason Gigley (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 acute Toxoplasma infection. Through this research, she hopes to uncover the regulation of IL-12 production by CD4 T cells.

Student 2020 Virtual Symposium Research Presentation Found Here


Sydnie Fossberg

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 are 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.

 Student 2020 Virtual Symposium Research Presentation Found Here


Rebecca Franke

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 Iron-Oxide Copper Gold ore deposits in hopes of characterizing epidote group minerals and their control on mineralization. Additionally, 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.

Student 2020 Virtual Symposium Research Presentation Found Here


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Maille Gray

 

Hometown: Lander, WY

Major: Environmental Geology & Geohydrology

Maille is working with Dr. JJ Shinker on exploring the relationship between glacier recession and stream quality in the Wind River Range.

 

 

Student 2020 Virtual Symposium Research Presentation Found Here 


Susannah Heller

Susannah Heller 

 

Hometown: Laramie, WY

Major: Geophysics 

Susannah is currently working on a study of historic ENSO-like patterns that happen on a longer-term scale. Susannah is examining lake-level histories of various lakes in the Western US. This work could be used to better understand historic climate variability which in turn helps to understand modern climate. She is interested in climate change and hopes to continue to study it as she continues her higher education. She also hopes to contribute to a better understanding, and possibly help mitigate, damage from severe and unusual weather, droughts, flooding, and increased wildfires.  


Sophia Helmkamp

Sophia Helmkamp

 

Hometown: Parker, CO

Majors: Mechanical Engineering, Music

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

 

 

Student 2020 Virtual Symposium Research Presentation Found Here


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 a better understanding of dark energy.


Elizabeth Howard

Elizabeth Howard

 

Hometown: Omaha, NE

Major: Zoology

Elizabeth is interested in researching animal behavior and ecology. 

 

 


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.

 

Student 2020 Virtual Symposium Research Presentation Found Here 


Ema Kurbos-Cooper

Ema Kurbos-Cooper

 

Hometown: Sylvania, OH

Majors: Environmental Systems Science and Environment & Natural Resources

Ema will be researching recreation ecology with the "Pilot Hill Project" under the guidance of Dr. Abby Sisneros-Kidd. Through this research, Ema wishes to further understand the interactions of non-motorized outdoor recreation in relation to the wildlife on the Pilot Hill property as it is opened for recreation. 

Student 2020 Virtual Symposium Research Presentation Found Here 


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 of 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. 

Student 2020 Virtual Symposium Research Presentation Found Here


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.

Student 2020 Virtual Symposium Research Presentation Found Here


Isabella Mijares

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. 

Student 2020 Virtual Symposium Research Presentation Found Here


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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.

Student 2020 Virtual Symposium Research Presentation Found Here


Sai Kit Ng

Sai Kit Ng

 

Hometown: Laramie, WY

Majors: Microbiology & Molecular Biology

Kit is working with Dr. Jason Gigley (Molecular Biology) and is currently investigating how iron is acquired by the obligate intracellular parasite Toxoplasma gondii during infection.  It is known that iron, as a nutrient, is required for the growth and replication of T. gondii.  Comprehensive analysis of the T. gondii genome reveals that T. gondii has the genes necessary for iron-sulfur complex loading and for heme biosynthesis, which is essential for the growth and replication of the parasite.  Iron deprivation is not lethal on the parasite and the iron acquisition pathway of the parasite is still unknown.  Kit is investigating the exact pathway on how T. gondii acquires iron into its system even though iron acquisition is highly regulated by the host, and how perturbations of that pathway affect parasite biology.  In addition, Kit is investigating how iron contributes to the development of the host immune response to T. gondii.  Preliminary data shows that the Th1 immune response is dampened when the iron is limited.  Kit will use mice, MRC5 human lung fibroblasts, flow cytometry, ELISA (enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay), and quantitative RT-PCR in his experiments.

Student 2020 Virtual Symposium Research Presentation Found Here


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Maxwell Packebush

 

Hometown: Littleton, CO

Major: Microbiology, Molecular Biology

Max Packebush is working with Lusha Tronstad (WYNDD). His research will look into disease-causing pathogens that are leading to the critical loss of bumblebee populations in North America. He will be investigating bumblebees parasitized by ​Nosema bombi ​and other novel pathogens. Max is examining many species of Bombus, including the Western Bumble Bee, in hopes of discovering the pathogens parasitizing bumble bee populations based on Bombus species and environment. Using DNA extraction and DNA sequencing, Max aims to identify pathogens previously unobserved in multiple North American Bombus species. His research focuses on committing resources to benefit the health of massively advantageous North American pollinators, critical ecosystems, and agriculture.

Student 2020 Virtual Symposium Research Presentation Found Here


Brock Parker

Brock Parker

 

Hometown: Gering, NE

Major: Physics, Astronomy & Astrophysics

Brock is working with Dr. Chip Kobulnicky (Physics & Astrophysics) and several other graduate and undergraduate students. Brock and his team are researching transiting exoplanets. Over the summer Brock collected data on dozens of targets and observed numerous transits using the Wyoming Infrared Observatory (WIRO). Brock is now reducing and compiling that data and using it to determine orbit period, planet radius, planet mass, orbital radius, and other planetary parameters. His overall goal is to either confirm or deny the existence of speculated exoplanets and add those targets and the parameters they find to the ever-growing exoplanet archive.

Student 2020 Virtual Symposium Research Presentation Found Here


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Emily Purifoy

 

Hometown: Cheyenne, WY

Major: Animal & Veterinary Science

Emily works with Dr. Karen Mruk (Pharmacy). The lab does research into zebrafish spinal injury and regeneration. Emily's project has been centered around the effects of diet on recovery for injured fish, as well as if the diets affect growth and survivability.


Hannah Rhymes

Hannah Rhymes

 

Hometown: Oklahoma City, OK

Majors: Physiology

Hannah is working with Dr. Trey Todd (Neuroscience); their research focuses on the input and output pathways of the suprachiasmatic nucleus, which regulates circadian rhythms. Specifically, their research explores how dysfunction of these circadian pathways may be associated with temporal behavioral aggression such as “sundowning syndrome” as seen in Alzheimer’s disease.

Student 2020 Virtual Symposium Research Presentation Found Here


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. 

Student 2020 Virtual Symposium Research Presentation Found Here


Chet Russell

Chet Russell

 

Hometown: Laramie, WY

Major: Computer Science

 

 

 

Student 2020 Virtual Symposium Research Presentation Found Here 


Lauren Sauley

Lauren Sauley

 

Hometown: Palmer Lake, CO

Major: Geology

 

 

 

Student 2020 Virtual Symposium Research Presentation Found Here


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).

 

 

Student 2020 Virtual Symposium Research Presentation Found Here


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).

 

 

Student 2020 Virtual Symposium Research Presentation Found Here


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Erin Schwalbe

 

Hometown: Reno, NV

Major: Microbiology

Erin is working in Dr. Jennifer Malmberg's Research Lab.  Erin's research is focused on better understanding the bacterial pathogen Mycoplasma bovis which is associated with respiratory disease, arthritis, and other diseases in cattle.  It has recently expanded its host range to include bison, often resulting in mortality for these animals.  Bison can also be carriers for the pathogen without showing symptoms.  In the lab, Erin and her team members are focused on investigating the optimal sampling method for the detection of M. boivs.


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Zoe Short

 

Hometown: Douglas, WY

Major: Zoology

Zoe is currently working with a Master’s student, Madison Crawford. Zoe is researching the habitats of the monarch and regal fritillary butterfly populations in eastern Wyoming. After the completion of her research on this project, she hopes to further pursue research in the field of zoology. She is also interested in learning more about the ecology and evolution of different animals.


Austin Stephen

Austin Stephen

 

Hometown: Cheyenne, WY

Major: Computer Science

Austin works in the MALLET lab helping a research group improve automated algorithm selection. Automated algorithm selection uses machine learning to take advantage of the complementary nature of existing algorithms that solve challenging problems by applying the optimal algorithm to a given problem. 

Student 2020 Virtual Symposium Research Presentation Found Here


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Rachel Sucharski

 

Hometown: Alamosa, CO

Major: Physiology

Rachel is working with Dr. Michael Dillon (Zoology & Physiology), whose primary focus is on bumble bees. Rachel is interested in researching how high altitudes affect different physiological processes.


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.

Student 2020 Virtual Symposium Research Presentation Found Here


Alicia Thoney

Alicia Thoney

 

Hometown: Sheridan, WY 

Major: Computer Science

Alicia is working with Dr. Mike Borowczak (Computer Science) and Shaya Wolf in the Cybersecurity EDucation And Research (CEDAR) lab on the development of Jangseung. Jangseung is a preprocessor that rejects malicious data that could be injected into machine learning systems to produce skewed results. Jangseung was created to guard support vector machines (SVMs ) from poisoned data by utilizing anomaly detection algorithms. Alicia also works with Mason Johnson (CEDAR) in cybersecurity education outreach efforts like summer camps for middle schoolers and computer science-focused professional development for Wyoming teachers.

Student 2020 Virtual Symposium Research Presentation Found Here


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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Adalyn Vergara

 

Hometown: Greeley, CO

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

Adalyn is working with mentor, Lauren Azevedo Schmidt (Ecology) and advisor Dr. Ellen Currano (Botany). Adalyn and her research team are currently studying the relationship of leaf mass per area and insect herbivory across two temperate forest ecosystems in order to quantify the effects of the environment on plant-insect interactions. Adalyn is pursuing the opportunity to take the research and results and create a publication with her fellow research assistant. Her research team also hopes to better understand how they can develop sustainable changes to become better stewards for future generations. 


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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