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Jamie Crait

Program Director, WRSP

SIB, Rm 3017C

1000 E University Ave

Laramie, WY 82071

Email: craitj@uwyo.edu

__________________________

Tabatha Spencer

Ex. Business Manager, UW Science Initiative

SIB Rm 3017A

1000 E University Ave

Laramie, WY 82071

Phone: 307-766-4447

Email: tspence5@uwyo.edu

WRSP logo

2022-23 WYOMING RESEARCH SCHOLARS

Josh Arulsamy

Joshua Arulsamy

 

Hometown: Laramie, WY

Major: Computer Science

Joshua currently works in the MALLET Lab under the supervision of Dr. Lars Kotthoff (Computer Science), investigating new optimization methods for standard sorting algorithms. Modern programming languages include a built-in sorting function, usually a hybrid of two high-performance algorithms. In practice, this offers a sizeable performance gain, but the threshold to switch from one algorithm to the other is constant. Joshua is analyzing sorting performance at varying thresholds across many different hardware architectures to find optimal values for diverse situations. 


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Mercedes Cassidy

 

Hometown: Burns, WY

Major: Physiology

Mercedes is working in Dr. 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. Her current project is looking at different cellular pathways that could be contributing to the brain development seen in microcephaly, using Drosophila melanogaster as a model species. 

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

Majors: Physical Education & Teaching Education

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 Schmidt 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.


Kinsale Day

Kinsale Day

 

Hometown: Cheyenne, WY

Major: Physics

Kinsale works with Dr. Bart Geerts in the Atmospheric Science department. She is working to analyze surface weather observations in a small region of the Alps using Python coding language. The analysis of the weather data will be used to create a cloud climatology to understand where clouds are forming in the region of study. 

 


Katherine Garrett

Katherine Garrett

 

Hometown: Rapid City, SD

Major: Zoology

Katherine is working on examining the similarities found between elephant shrews in Laikipia, Kenya with rodents who live in the same place. She will closely look at survival rates and number of offspring to accomplish this. 

 


Sophia Glennie

Sophia Glennie

 

Hometown: Cheyenne, WY

Major: Molecular Biology

Sophia is interested in studying genetics and the impact environmental factors can have on genetic and cellular processes- especially as relating to modern events in pollution and disease. Sophia also enjoys being able to look at the effects our changing world could have on both ecological and human health.  


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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 under the guidance of Dr. Bryan Shuman 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.  


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Skylar Hodgins

 

Hometown: Casper, WY

Major: Psychology

Skylar is working in Dr. Ana Clara Bobadilla's lab (Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences) investigating the neurobiological mechanisms of relapse to drugs of abuse. She's interested in the physiological changes of neurons within the Nucleus accumbens region of the brain that occur during drug seeking or craving.


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Summer Holeman

 

Hometown: Cody, WY

Majors: Environment & Natural Resources, Environmental Systems 

Summer is interested in biodiversity conservation & sustainability and hopes to work on sustainability projects with international communities in the future. While in the program Summer would like to work with wildlife and biodiversity conservation, but is still open to a variety of research ideas. 


Elizabeth Howard

Elizabeth Howard

 

Hometown: Omaha, NE

Major: Zoology

Elizabeth is interested in researching animal behavior and ecology. 

 

 


Sarah Hurrell

Sarah Hurrell

 

Hometown: Westminster, CO

Major: Geology

Sarah is working with Dr. Laura Vietti, Dr. Lily Jackson, and Dr. Kevin Chamberlain. In Sarah’s current project, they have collected ash samples from the Green River Formation around Kemmerer, WY. They are crushing these samples to extract microscopic zircons and then proceed to date them with the U-Pb method. The knowledge of the time frame of the lake, however, is very poor, which is what they are hoping to expand on through this research. 


Dani Jones

Dani Jones

 

Hometown: Gillette, WY

Major: Enviornmental System Science

Dani is working with postdoctoral researcher, Dulcinea Groff, in the Shuman Lab. They are researching factors that may influence interpretations of paleoclimate proxies using moss peat cores in Antarctica. This research can be used to better understand the application of plant-based paleoclimate proxies. 


Cooper Krauth

Cooper Krauth

 

Hometown: Richfield, OH

Major: Electrical Engineering 

Cooper is currently interested in researching optoelectronic and other hardware devices. 

 

 


Ema Kurbos-Cooper

Ema Kurbos-Cooper

 

Hometown: Sylvania, OH

Majors: Environmental Systems Science and Environment & Natural Resources

Ema is currently researching recreation ecology with the "Pilot Hill Project" under the guidance of Dr. Drew Bennett (HAUB School). 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 


Adison Linder

Adison Linder

 

Hometown: Laramie, WY

Major: Molecular Biology

Adison is working with Dr. David Fay (Molecular Biology) investigating protein kinase expression in C. elegans. Her research focuses on how overexpression of the kinases NEKL-2 and NEKL-3 affects the worms' endocytic pathways and cellular trafficking.

 

 


Elizabeth Lungren

Elizabeth Lungren

 

Hometown: Ten Sleep, WY

Major: Molecular Biology

Elizabeth is working with Dr. James Pru in Reproductive Biology. Elizabeth is researching male reproductive physiology using the mouse model. 

 


Brenna Martin

Brenna Martin

 

Hometown: Cheyenne, WY

Major: Zoology

Brenna is working for WYNDD under Dr. Lusha Tronstad of the Wyoming Natural Diversity Database (WYNDD), studying pollinator behavior at current and purposed wind farm sites.   


Alexa MejiaAlexa Mejia

 

Hometown: Cheyenne, WY

Major: Molecular Biology

Alexa is currently interested in helping lower-income areas of the population through health care.


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


Sai Kit Ng

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


Ryan Nielsen

Ryen Nielsen

 

Hometown: Nyssa, OR

Major: Wildlife and Fisheries Biology and Management

Ryen is currently working in Dr. Patrick Kelley's Research Lab. Ryen is researching what role dorsal markings play in jumping spider camouflage and if changing those markings, or the putting spiders in new habitat settings, affects how effective their camouflage is.


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Maxwell Packebush

 

Hometown: Littleton, CO

Major: Microbiology, Molecular Biology

Max is from Littleton, CO, and is studying Microbiology and Molecular Biology at UW. Max is currently working with Dr. Thomas Boothby (Molecular Biology). Max is investigating the molecular mechanisms and structure of the Dsup protein, found in tardigrades. Max aims to explore the Dsup proteins' unique ability to protect DNA from radiation-induced damage. Research into the function of Dsup at a molecular level is imperative for Dsup utilization in the future of space flight, medicine, and biotechnology.

Student 2020 Virtual Symposium Research Presentation Found Here


Agnesh Pandey

Agnesh Pandey

 

Hometown: Patna, India

Majors: Astronomy & Astrophysics, Mathematics & Physics.

Agnesh is an International student and is currently working under the guidance of Dr. Adam Myers in collaboration with grad student Lucas Gabriel Napolitano (Physics & Astronomy). Agnesh's research includes spectrographic analysis for absorption features in quasars in order to understand the chemical composition of gas clouds in front of the quasars and also understanding the metallicity history of the Universe. Agnesh is also a part of the DESI survey (within the team of Quasar Physics under the professional guidance of again, Dr. Adam Myers), which is the acronym for Dark Energy Spectroscopic Instrument, a 4th generation equipment which is used by the Mayall 4m telescope located at the Kitt Peak National Observatory, Tucson, AZ. In the future, Agnesh would like to get involved within the fields of Gravitational Astrophysics and Theoretical Astrophysics.


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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 using a combined effort at both the Wyoming Infrared Observatory (WIRO) and Red Buttes Observatory (RBO) to characterize and analyze multiple systems of transiting exoplanets. Their aim is to determine orbital period, planet radius, planet mass, orbital radius, along with other planetary parameters. They have also been working with the exoplanet group at Penn State to follow up on potential planetary candidates using RBO to confirm or deny the existence of these planets. Additionally, Brock has been doing a lot of work at RBO in order to fully automate and optimize the telescope for automatic nightly observations. This includes updating old code and creating new code, as well as updating a few physical components and integrating everything together. 

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. She has also started a project on neutrophil respsonse to injury, as well.


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

Lauren is currently working with Dr. Brad Carr (Geology & Geophysics) to produce models of Self-Potential measurements taken in Yellowstone National Park. These models will help to map the flow of groundwater where the measurements were taken, and could potentially determine how the water is moving.  

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 under the guidance of mentor Dr. Lusha Tronstad and 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 under the supervision of Dr. Lars Kotthoff in the MALLET lab helping a research group improve automated machine learning. Currently, he is looking at predictive models that forecast the outcome of NBA games. His work focuses on using automated machine learning to classify games and train models on these potentially disparate subsets of games.  

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 bumblebees. Rachel is interested in researching how bumble bee water content affects different physiological processes.


Tera Swaby

Tera Swaby

 

Hometown: Aurora, CO

Major: Physics

Tera works with a research team of undergraduate students and Dr. Henry Kobulnicky to observe transiting exoplanets of other stellar systems at Red Buttes Observatory (RBO). From this the team characterizes the radius, orbital size, and mass of these exoplanets. This information is shared with collaborators at Pennsylvania State University who further analyze the exoplanets with the help of other telescopes.


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


Kaj Taylor

Kaj Taylor

 

Hometown: Palmer, AK

Majors: Chemical Engineering

Kaj works with Dr. Patrick Johnson (Chemical Engineering). Kaj’s interests lie in chemical reaction waste mitigation, and explosives. 


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


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Lucas Wall

 

Hometown: Laramie, WY

Major: Molecular Biology

Lucas is working with Dr. Dan Wall (Molecular Biology). Lucas is working with a virus that infects a type of bacteria called streptococcus mutans. These bacteria are the leading microorganism responsible for dental decay. 


 Gracen Wallen

Gracen Wallen

 

Hometown: St. Louis, MO

Majors: Geology, and Environment & Natural Resources

Gracen's hobbies include fossil excavation and preparation. Gracen will be conducting an undergraduate research project, studying variations among stratigraphic relationships along the Cretaceous-Paleogene boundary. Gracen's goal is to eventually obtain a Ph.D. in Geoscience.


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Madyson Willis

 

Hometown: Casper, WY

Major: Physiology

Madyson Willis is working with Dr. Amy Navratil. Madyson is currently researching how genetic knockouts can affect the secretion of LH and the reproductive cycle.  

 


Ashley Wolf

Ashley Wolf

 

Hometown: Gilbert, AZ

Major: Zoology

Ashley is working with Joe Holbrook (Haub School of Environment & Natural Resources and Zoology & Physiology). Ashley’s research focuses on the ecology of swift foxes in Wyoming. 


Angela Zhu

Angela Zhu

 

Hometown: Laramie, WY

Majors: Zoology, and Environmental Systems Science

Angela is working with Dr. Sarah Collins (Zoology & Physiology). Angela is looking at how insect food webs and community structure differ between beaver ponds and streams in Happy Jack. Angela is very interested in aquatic ecology and hopes to go to graduate school for this or marine ecology!


Contact Us

Jamie Crait

Program Director, WRSP

SIB, Rm 3017C

1000 E University Ave

Laramie, WY 82071

Email: craitj@uwyo.edu

__________________________

Tabatha Spencer

Ex. Business Manager, UW Science Initiative

SIB Rm 3017A

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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