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2017-18 ARCS Scholars


2017-18 ARCS Scholars


Graduate student Brent Arnoldusssen on a tractorBrent Arnoldussen is a first-year Ph.D. student in the plant pathology department under the supervision of Dr. Mark Mazzola. His project will focus on the genotypic effects on the variation of exuduate composition of apple rootstocks, and their subsequent effects on recruiting beneficial microbes to the rhizosphere, which impart resistance to apple replant disease. Brent earned two BS degrees in horticulture and biology from The University of Wisconsin-River Falls.  While there, he was highly involved in a variety of undergraduate research projects, most notably, his Ronald E. Mcnair Scholars project, looking at the effects of mycorrhizal helper bacteria on the colonization and growth of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi.  Brent also worked on the Northern Organic Vegetable Improvement Collaborative project for 3 years for Dr. Silva. In addition, he has done work with bioremediation, a project which was presented at the National Council on Undergraduate Research (NCUR), and two projects working with molecular genetics for a strawberry and ageratum breeding program on campus. At UWRF Brent served as president and treasurer of the Student Alliance for Sustainable Agriculture and served as the student liaison on the faculty sustainability working group. Coming from an agricultural background, Brent’s main interest is in growing much of his own food and working with community farms and organizations to teach people about food production, as well as outdoor activities like fishing and backpacking. Upon the completion of his degree, Brent hopes to hold a faculty position working in research and extension in fruit or vegetable crop pathology, working to make production more economically and environmentally sustainable.

Graduate student holding honey beeMegan Asche is a first-year Ph.D. student in the Department of Entomology under the supervision of Dr. Richard Zack. She specializes in honeybee biology and agroecology. Over the next three years, Megan will be investigating the apiculturally significant predator/prey relationship between the family Vespidae and the species Apis mellifera (L.). Her master’s work was done at Washington State University where she studied the foraging and hygienic behavior of honeybee strains. Megan was awarded a B.A. in design from Western Washington University in 2007. She worked as a professional designer for over six years before beginning her career in science. Megan is an award-winning macro insect photographer and has contributed to many international scientific and outreach publications. After completing her Ph.D., Megan wishes to work within the commercial beekeeping industry before returning to academia.

Student Rachel Bone with baby goatsRachel M. Bone Relat is a veterinarian and first-year student in the Combined Residency in Anatomic Pathology PhD program.  Rachel graduated with honors from the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine in 2017.  In addition to her anatomic pathology residency, she will also pursue a Ph.D. through the Department of Veterinary Microbiology and Pathology. Currently, her interests are in virology, aquatic medicine, and herd health disease outbreak prevention. While attending veterinary school, Rachel was sponsored by Winrock International and the USAID to work in Bangladesh with local researchers and farmers to develop molecular techniques used to diagnose shrimp diseases. Prior to veterinary school, Rachel attended the University of Rhode Island and completed a M.S. in biology, specializing in sustainable agriculture and food systems under the guidance of Dr. Marta Gomez-Chiarri. Rachel earned her B.S. in ecology, behavior, and evolutionary biology with a minor in conservation biology from UCLA.  During her academic tenure, Rachel has studied aquatic parasites in Costa Rica, effects of plant-based diets in carnivorous fish, and herpes viruses in sturgeon. After completing her Ph.D., she hopes to pursue her love of aquatic diseases within academia.  Rachel is a 3rd generation veterinarian whose father and grandfather graduated from the College of Veterinary Medicine at Washington State University. While at UCLA Rachel played club water polo, and was nominated as an All-American Honorable Mention for her role as goalie. Married this past June, Rachel and her husband are looking forward to new opportunities for outdoor adventuring, and for her to improve her fly casting while in Washington.

Student Cody Cockreham in front of European villageCody Cockreham grew up in New Mexico playing basketball, wrestling rattlesnakes, and trying to avoid the scorching desert sun.  After graduating with a B.S. in chemical and materials engineering from New Mexico State University, he is pursuing his Ph.D. in chemical engineering at Washington State University. His research prior to WSU includes working on synthesizing metal-organic frameworks for use in carbon capture technologies at New Mexico State University and developing electrospinning methods to control fiber diameter for in-situ vascular grafts at the University of Pittsburgh.  For Cody, the most important thing in his current research and his career is to improve sustainability through new environmentally cleaner technologies because he is interested in preserving the natural beauty of the Earth.  At New Mexico State University, Cody was the president of the Biomedical Engineering Society and a guest judge for the home brewing class. Cody has visited twenty countries in Europe and loves to travel.

Sedelia Dominguez earned a B.S. in biology with a minor in chemistry at St. John’s University in Queens, New York. While at St. John’s, she conducted research for two years with Dr. Rachel Zufferey of the Biology Department. Her research included the study of arthropod-born protozoan parasites that cause important diseases in humans and animals. Over the span of two years, she conducted a combination of genetic, molecular and cell biology, and biochemical approaches. Soon she will be receiving a publication for a review on lipidomics and anti-trypanosomal chemotherapy. She hopes to continue to conduct her research in disease prevention and treatment at the CDC. Over the course of the past two years, Sedelia traveled to Honduras and Ghana to provide health preventives, treatments and education for underdeveloped communities. Outside the lab, Sedelia enjoys working out and spending time with family and friends.

graduate student holding exotic birdAmanda L. Foreman is a first-year Ph.D. student in the Department of Veterinary Microbiology and Pathology. She is a NIH Protein Biotechnology trainee, and will be completing rotations in laboratories in the Immunology and Infectious Disease program. Amanda earned B.S. and M.S. degrees in animal and nutritional sciences at West Virginia University. Her undergraduate and graduate work at West Virginia University examined the roles of nutrition on avian health and performance. This research lead to a publication on the effects of different diets on the health and well-being of cockatiels. She then completed a graduate certificate in infectious disease control at Thomas Jefferson University. At Thomas Jefferson University, Amanda’s research focused on developing a rabies virus based therapeutic colon cancer vaccine. Furthermore, she developed cell-based assays to show the success of the vaccine in vivo. This research lead to a publication on the effects of CD4+ T-cell help on antitumor immunity. While completing research at Thomas Jefferson University, Amanda also worked full-time at the biotechnology company Wuxi Apptec. She worked in the viral clearance department to determine the efficacy of drug purification processes in different pharmaceutical companies. Upon graduation from Washington State University, Amanda would like to become a principal investigator in academia focusing on preventative and therapeutic approaches to infectious diseases. When not engaging in scientific research, she spends her time outdoors with her dog, home brewing, and reading.

graduate student in EcuadorJohn A. Hadish is a first-year Ph.D. student who will be doing rotations in the Department of Molecular Plant Sciences. He is interested in applying the latest genetic techniques to agriculture in order to pursue a more sustainable and environmentally friendly world. John earned his B.S. degree in biology from Luther College where he was a part of several research projects and was a recipient of a McElroy Grant. He also was an NSF intern at the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center where he performed research on developing a CRISPR Cas9 genome editing tool for Chlamydomonas reinhardtii. While at Luther John ran on both the varsity cross country and varsity track teams, and was involved in the schools chapter of Beta Beta Beta Biological Honor Society. He enjoys camping, gardening and reading science fiction books.

graduate student studying objectEllis Hammond-Pereira will be a first-year Ph.D. student in the School of Chemical Engineering under the direction of Dr. Steve Saunders. He will begin research on the development of yolk-shell based nanocomposites to homogenize heterogeneous catalysts. Ellis earned his B.S. degree in chemical engineering from Oregon State University. During this program, he worked as a learning assistant, and helped pioneer the Engineering Learning Assistant program at Oregon State under Dr. Milo Koretsky. The program was successfully implemented and is still in use. After completing his Ph.D., Ellis aims to conduct research and development of semiconductors. He is driven by a love of taking in and sharing knowledge, which has led him to consider a career in higher education. In his spare time, he enjoys both writing and deconstructing music, graphic design, video games, and fencing.

graduate student holding small fish in fingersLee Opdahl is a first-year Ph.D. student in the Department of Crop and Soil Sciences under the supervision of Dr. Tarah Sullivan. The subject of his dissertation research will be in the area of metal and micronutrient transformations by the rhizosphere microbiome that enhance plant nutrition and crop productivity. Lee earned his M.S. degree in animal science, and his B.s. degree in biology, microbiology, and biotechnology with minors in chemistry and psychology at South Dakota State University. During his master’s degree, he worked to identify candidate cellulose-metabolizing bacteria in the rumen of beef cattle, resulting in two articles soon to be submitted for publication. After his Ph.D., Lee will work for Ralco Agriculture based out of southwest Minnesota, where he will conduct research on crop enhancing products such as micronutrient fertilizers and seed treatment. Lee enjoys many outdoor activities including hiking, fishing, and canoeing, and also enjoys global travel, which he plans to do more of once he has completed his Ph.D.

graduate student standing in front of posterGregory L. Pearson will be pursuing his Ph.D. in the Department of Veterinary Microbiology & Pathology at Washington State University starting fall 2017.  His primary research interests are focused on rickettsial organisms, but he is generally interested in vector-borne disease.  Gregory earned a B.S. in exercise science with a minor in biology and a M.S. in biology at Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania.  As a graduate student, Gregory completed a thesis under the supervision of Dr. Alison L. Fedrow, which was entitled “The surveillance of ticks and tickborne pathogens in the understudied region of southwestern Pennsylvania.” Also during this time, he was chosen as an intern for the Naval Research Enterprise Internship Program (Summer 2016, Summer 2017) and worked in Dr. Allen L. Richards rickettsial diseases laboratory at the Naval Medical Research Center in Silver Spring, Maryland.  As an undergraduate at Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania, Gregory competed on the track and field team as a discus, shot put, and hammer thrower.  He is regularly involved in weightlifting, playing sports, and hiking or other adventurous outdoor activities.

Graduate student holding baby goatKelly M. Ramsay is a first-year Ph.D. student in the Department of Immunology and Infectious Disease at Washington State University. She is also pursuing a residency in veterinary anatomic pathology through the Department of Veterinary Microbiology and Pathology and College of Veterinary Medicine. Currently, Kelly is exploring various labs, but she ultimately hopes to investigate zoonotic diseases that could ultimately lead to the improvement of both human and animal health. Kelly earned her B.A. degree in English literature and creative writing, with a minor in chemistry, from California State University, Long Beach. She then went on to intern at a marine mammal rehabilitation facility, as well as an exotic feline breeding and research center. She earned her D.V.M. at the University of California, Davis. During this time, she developed an interest in pathology and research. Volunteering at clinics that practiced a “one health” approach (the concept that human, animal and environmental health are inextricably intertwined) further drove her interest in researching diseases that affect both humans and animals. During her clinical year, she was an extern with the Johns Hopkins University Department of Comparative Pathobiology, as well as the National Cancer Institute at the National Institutes of Health. After completing her residency and Ph.D., Kelly hopes to pursue a career in academia. This would allow her to pursue all her favorite aspects of pathology: diagnostics, teaching and research. In her free time, Kelly loves nature, traveling, weight lifting, dancing and discovering new craft breweries. Recent adventures include sledding down a volcano in Nicaragua, surfing in Kauai and hiking Half Dome in Yosemite National Park.

graduate student with toddler sonMatthew D. Romero is a first-year Ph.D. student in the Department of Biomedical Sciences under the supervision of Dr. Jean Celli. He is principally interested in host pathogen interactions, particularly the molecular mechanisms used to bolster immunity or evade immune detection. Matthew completed both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees at Texas Tech University in microbiology. While in Lubbock, Matthew conducted research on bacterial toxins derived from human pathogens and how host cells respond to intoxication. Additionally, Matthew has taught several laboratory courses in immunology and microbiology and appreciates the opportunity to educate and communicate with young scientists. Outside of the laboratory, Matthew enjoys a few rounds of bowling, a few games of racquetball and a couple pints of homebrewed beer. Cooking is something Matthew is passionate about, and loves shopping in farmer’s markets for new or fresh ingredients to try in a dish. He is hoping to pursue a career in the biomedical industry, and is fortunate for the many opportunities provided by Washington State University to meet this goal.

female graduate student holding large mothJessa Thurman is a first-year P.hD. student entering the Department of Entomology under the supervision of Dr. William Snyder. She will investigate parasitoid-host interactions for natural pest control in agricultural systems. Jessa earned her B.S. in biology from Hendrix College, where she also completed two years of research on the seed dispersion of anachronistic fruits alongside independent research on new species of gall wasps from Costa Rica under the supervision of Dr. Matthew Moran. After finishing her undergraduate degree, Jessa embarked on a year-long Thomas J. Watson Fellowship to study different applications of entomology in Australia, Thailand, Malaysia, Peru, and the United Kingdom. The various projects within each country ranged from studying entomophagy, the consumption of insects, to using insects to control pests in tropical crop systems. While on the Watson Fellowship, Jessa was also awarded a William J. Fulbright to study the biological control of arthropod pests in macadamia nuts using parasitoid wasps for 2018. After completing her Ph.D., Jessa plans to further develop the methodology and social work required for using natural pest control. Jessa has worked as children’s librarian for six years and thoroughly enjoys teaching kids of all ages about the outdoors. She also organized TEDx events for her college and ran a local radio show on scientific research from Arkansas, her home state.

Graduate student Joel Velasco portrait with purple tieJoel A. Velasco is a first-year Ph.D. student in molecular plant sciences under the supervision of Dr. David Gang. His research seeks to elucidate the genomics of biosynthetic pathways that produce novel and important plant specialized metabolites. Joel earned his B.S. in biology with a botany emphasis from Boise State University. While there, he conducted two years of research into the effects of drought on the symbiotic association between arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi and Artemisia tridentata (sagebrush) under the direction of Dr. Marcelo Serpe. Joel also participated in the NSF-CEPCEB REU Program in Next Generation Plant Biology at the University of California Riverside for two summers under the guidance of National Academy of Sciences member Dr. Julia Bailey-Serres, which resulted in a publication that is currently in the review process. After completing his PhD, Joel wishes to pursue a postdoctoral position at the Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry in Germany with the hopes of obtaining the experience necessary to secure a position at a biotechnology firm, and eventually returning to academia and continuing to broaden the knowledge about specialized plant secondary metabolite synthesis. Joel is one of nine children and is a first generation college graduate. While at Boise State, Joel was a McNair Scholar and a resident mentor for TRIO Upward Bound. He enjoys any activity that involves puzzles and critical thought. He is also an avid music listener and live-music enthusiast.

graduate student in laboratoryHalle Weimar is a first-year Ph.D. student in the Integrative Physiology and Neuroscience Department at Washington State University. Born and raised in Kennewick, Washington, she earned a B.S. in neuroscience from WSU in 2017. Continuing her studies at WSU, Halle is rotating in the laboratories of Dr. Jon Davis, who studies feeding behavior, and Dr. David Rossi, who investigates development of the cerebellum. After receiving her Ph.D., Halle plans to further refine her skills through a postdoctoral fellowship and eventually become a teaching faculty and researcher. Throughout her current and future endeavors, Halle will strive to provide high-quality research to the growing body of work surrounding the human brain and nervous system. In addition to neuroscience, Halle enjoys hiking, photography, and travel.

2015-16 ARCS Scholars

2015-16 ARCS Scholars


Grad Student Tara Burke Lewis presenting her researchTara Burke Lewis is a PhD student in the Department of Crop Science, co-advised under the supervision of Dr. Arron Carter and Dr. Ian Burke. She is investigating herbicide resistance in wheat. She has enjoyed developing a cross-disciplinary skillset in the life sciences, initiated by a biotechnology vocational degree from the Thomas Edison High School of Technology in Maryland, which resulted in an internship at the FDA-CFSAN in 2003. She received her bachelor’s degree in agricultural biotechnology and master’s degree in plant and soil science from the University of Kentucky. Tara held lab technician positions in plant protein science and tobacco/tall fescue analytical chemistry laboratories at the University of Kentucky, and wrote a graduate thesis, “Selection and Basis for 2-4D Tolerance in Red Clover (Trifolium pratense).”

ARCS Scholar Christal ClementsChristal R. Clements is a Clinical Microbiology resident/PhD student in the Department of Veterinary Microbiology and Pathology. She has interests in infectious and zoonotic diseases and immunology. Christal obtained her DVM from Tuskegee University, and once she has completed her residency, would like to work to understand the biological mechanisms of poorly understood infectious organisms with efforts to create effective vaccines or treatments. Once she has completed her PhD, she would like to continue performing research and eventually enter academia.

Grad Student Rachel DeTar posing in winter gear on top of rocky terrainRachael DeTar is a PhD student in the Molecular Plant Science Program at Washington State University. In addition to the ARCS fellowship, she received a National Institute of Health Biotechnology Training Fellowship. She intends on rotating in several laboratories before choosing an advisor. Her research interests include photosynthesis, nutrient assimilation and metabolism in plants. Her goal during her time at WSU is to develop a better understanding of the biochemistry of plants and use these discoveries to improve agriculture and food security. In the future, Rachael envisions working in industry and using her knowledge of plant biology to develop crops that are higher yielding and resistant to climate stress. Rachael earned her B.S. in Biology summa cum laude from Colorado State University in the College of Natural Sciences. She also won a prestigious American Society of Plant Biologists Summer Undergraduate Research fellowship. Rachael is an author on two research papers, and is first name author on one paper.

ARCS Scholar Matt Marcec kneeling down in front of plantsMatt Marcec is a PhD student at Washington State University with the Molecular Plant Sciences program. Matt has earned an M.S. in biology from Northern Illinois University where he studied proteins of unknown function using the model organism Arabidopsis thaliana. . Matt also taught two lab courses at NIU, the fundamentals of cell biology and the biology of land plants. Matt enjoys teaching and loves to study plants and plans to work in academia or industry hopefully studying how plants respond to their environment and how they can continue to feed and aid humanity. Matt also has a technical certificate in emergency medicine received from Florida College of Jacksonville where he volunteered as an EMT for three years.

Grad student Ryan Oliveira preparing to perform an ultrasound on a catRyan Oliveira is a PhD student in the Department of Veterinary Microbiology and Pathology. Ryan earned both his BS and DVM from Tufts University, where he researched lead toxicity in New England’s bald eagles and co-authored a federal publication. He coordinated his veterinary school’s tutoring programs the year after its founding and aspires to continue teaching in his career. After he completes his PhD, he wants to stay involved in wildlife disease and work in academia. His specific career interests include epidemiology, ecotoxicology, and zoological pathology.

ARCS Scholar Nick Pokorynski posing in his labNicholas (Nick) D. Pokorzynski is a  PhD student in the School of Molecular Biosciences at Washington State University. He graduated from Michigan State University in 2013 with his Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry, Molecular Biology/Biotechnology. At Michigan State, he investigated the genetic basis of algal lipid biosynthesis in Dr. Christoph Benning’s laboratory. He currently has several research interests, and hopes to narrow them down during his first-year laboratory rotations. His first rotation will be in Dr. Susan Wang’s laboratory studying the “radical SAM” superfamily of enzymes to better understand the unique and difficult methyl-transfer chemistry performed by a subfamily of this enzyme and how it may relate to antibiotic synthesis.

entomology graduate student Joseph TaylorJoseph M. Taylor is a PhD student in the Department of Entomology under the supervision of Dr. William Snyder. He investigates the role of natural arthropod predators in controlling insect agricultural pests. Joseph earned his Bachelor of Science in Biology with a minor in Russian language and culture from Washington and Lee University. While there he conducted three years of research into the feeding and hunting habits of generalist arthropod predators under the direction of Dr. Lawrence Hurd, which resulted in a publication and three additional articles well underway. After completing his PhD, Joseph hopes to work for the USDA on pest management before returning to academia and continuing to broaden his knowledge about the complex interactions between insect predators and their prey.

ARCS Scholar Jenny Voss is kneeling down and posing in front of her car's license plateJenny M. Voss is a PhD student at the Voiland School of Chemical Engineering and Bioengineering of Washington State University. She is interested in working in the fields of catalysis and nanotechnology in hopes of finding solutions to current energy, environmental and medical challenges. Jenny earned her bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from Washington State University with honors while participating in multiple intramural sports teams, engineering clubs and two years on the women’s club soccer team. She spent two summers interning with BP Alaska and P66 Ferndale Refinery as a safety and operational risk engineer and as a process engineering intern respectively. After completing her PhD, she wants to work in a national lab with university connections as an academic professor focusing on both experimental and theoretical catalysis. She also strives to develop methods to produce economical catalysts to synthesize alternative fuels to supplement diminishing fossil fuel supplies.

Grad Student Naomi Wallace looking at brain activityNaomi K. Wallace is a  PhD student in Neuroscience.  She earned her BS in Psychology with a concentration in Cognitive Neuroscience from the University of Denver. Naomi completed an undergraduate senior thesis on the relationships among socioeconomic status, sleep problems and mental health in 8- to 10-year-old children. She spent a semester abroad in Maastricht, The Netherlands, where she was able to learn more about positive psychology and the philosophy of science.

ARCS Scholar Breanna Wong working in the labBreanna Wong is a PhD student at Washington State University’s Chemical and Biological Engineering Department. She earned her B.S. in chemical engineering from the University of Idaho in 2015. During her time as an undergraduate, she represented the University of Idaho two years in a row in an international design contest hosted by New Mexico State University called Waste-Management Education Research Consortium (WERC). ). Breanna and her team won first place both years for their design of a floating solar cell system on a mine tailings pond and a radiative cooling system utilizing the night’s sky. During the summers, Breanna interned with Hewlett-Packard, first as a product steward and then as a metal deposition intern. The latter helped her realize her desire to seek out a PhD and to do research in thin films.

Jessica Wong is in doctor scrubs holding an animalJessica K. Wong is an anatomic pathology resident and PhD student in the Department of Veterinary Microbiology and Pathology. Jessica earned her undergraduate degrees in Biology and International Comparative Studies from Duke University and her DVM from the University of Georgia. Jessica plans to use her pathology residency and PhD training to add to her diagnostic tools for investigating infectious disease and population health at the human-wildlife-livestock interfaces. Her dream job is to work in academia as a veterinary pathologist with both teaching and diagnostic duties.


Achievement Rewards for College Scientists (ARCS)

Achievement Rewards for College Scientists (ARCS)

In 1999, Washington State University Graduate School was designated as an ARCS recipient school. The first ARCS Fellowships were awarded to the College of Veterinary Medicine through the Seattle Chapter of ARCS. The Seattle Chapter is one of twelve chapters of the ARCS Foundation which has supported graduate education in the natural sciences, medicine and engineering.

By offering financial incentives to graduate students, the ARCS program further encourages the study of science, medicine, and engineering at the most prestigious universities in the United States. Since 1958, the ARCS Foundation has awarded over $66 million to support research in the fields of science and technology. Nationally, 14 ARCS chapters support graduate fellowships at 43 universities. ARCS Foundation Fellows possess outstanding scholastic records and proven abilities, and receive multiple offers to study at other top national universities.

For more information about ARCS, please visit, the Seattle Chapter (ARCS).

2019-2020 ARCS Scholars

Hanen Baggar

Veterinary Microbiology and Pathology


Hanen’s career objective is to be a researcher and maximize opportunities to develop and implement infectious diseases control. She would like to work in a research institute that has an impact on public health.

After earning her B.S. in microbiology from King Abdulaziz University – Jeddah, Hanen earned a professional accreditation certificate in medical laboratory in Saudi Arabia. She then worked for two years in medical laboratory labs, including bacteriology, hematology, blood bank and histopathology labs. Following her lab work, she came to the College of Veterinary Medicine at Washington State University and worked for a year researching Babesia bovis. During that time, she started developing her interest in vector-borne diseases.

WSU will provide Hanen the opportunity to work on human and zoonotic diseases, and the ARCS scholar award will help ease the transition into a Ph.D. program and provide a stable educational environment for my son.

Hanen’s master’s research is on the mechanism of pathogen entry into tick cells with the goal to identify their molecular pathway. As a result, there will be a better understanding of tick-borne diseases and hopefully improve tick control methods.

In her free time, Hanen enjoys long walks with her son, cooking traditional food, and traveling.

Alex Batson

Plant Pathology

Alex’s career objective is to work as a vegetable plant pathologist alongside vegetable breeders, preferably a plant pathologist at a vegetable breeding company.

Alex graduated from Western Washington University in 2015 with a B.S. in biology. During his time at WWU, he worked in a research laboratory where he studied the inhibitory effect of plant seed extracts on the fungus Aspergillus nidulans. After graduating from WWU, he worked at Adaptive Symbiotic Technologies in Seattle, where he helped develop biological seed treatments for corn, soy, and wheat. Both research experiences inspired him to learn more about how plants and microbes communicate with each other, encouraging him to consider plant pathology as a career path to explore this interest further. He was fortunate enough to begin an M.S. in Plant Pathology at the Washington State University Vegetable Seed Pathology program at the Mount Vernon Northwestern Washington Research and Extension Center. The aim of his M.S. project and future Ph.D. project are to determine what genetic factors enable the causal agent of spinach Fusarium wilt to be a pathogen of spinach.

The only region suitable for spinach seed production in the United States is the maritime Pacific Northwest, where mild, dry summers with long day length are necessary to produce high yields of quality seed. The primary biotic limitation to seed production in this region is spinach Fusarium wilt caused by the soilborne fungus Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. spinaciae. Over 120 host-specific strains of F. oxysporum are known, and recently, host-specificity of given strains of F. oxysporum has been associated with unique combinations of genes known as effector genes. Currently, it is unclear what genetically determines host-specificity to spinach in F. oxysporum f. sp. Spinaciae, thus Alex’s research project aims to identify and characterize unique regions of the genome of F. oxysporum f. sp. spinaciae. During his M.S. degree, it was  determined that isolates of this pathogen could be differentiated from non-pathogenic F. oxysporum isolates associated with spinach based on profiles of predicted effector genes. By characterizing these predicted effector genes and other genomic regions of F. oxysporum f. sp. spinaciae as part of his Ph.D. project, it should be possible to develop molecular tools that can be used to detect and quantify this pathogen rapidly, provide information to spinach breeders to increase resistance to Fusarium wilt in spinach cultivars, and improve upon our understanding of the mechanisms that define this F. oxysporum f. sp. spinaciae as a pathogen of spinach.

Alex chose WSU for graduate studies because he was drawn to the individuals and research in the department of Plant Pathology. The ARCS scholar award had a significant impact on his decision to attend WSU for his Ph.D. Another factor that influenced his decision to continue enrollment at WSU was the community. He did not consider other offers.

Outside the laboratory, Alex likes to spend as much time as possible hiking, riding his bicycle, running, or photographing natural landscapes. A fun fact about Alex is his family owns an inquisitive yellow-naped Amazon parrot named Pan.

Robert Christian


Robert’s goal is to earn a Ph.D. followed by research in industry contributing to neurological development.

Ultimately, he would like to work with NASA or SpaceX to monitor the effects of space radiation on the cellular components of neurons.

Robert is the oldest child of seven, and due to his parents’ divorce, I moved around the west coast several times. Instead of focusing on the hardships of constantly moving, he used the experience to analyze the differences between school systems in different states and to improve what he could while still learning new information. As he moved, one thing that remained the same was his interest in behavior and biology, which got him interested in neuroscience. Due to growing up in different environments, he also developed an interest in environmental effects on neural development, specifically extreme environments. Robert’s goal is to study the effects of environments like Chernobyl and extended space flights on the nervous system and help develop ways to combat those effects in humans. He received his undergraduate degree at Northern Arizona University in psychological sciences and biomedical sciences.

Robert chose Washington State University because its Neuroscience Department is well known, but more importantly, becaise the department explores the biological research of the nervous system instead of just the behavioral component. His current research is aimed at understanding the compassion circuitry of the brain and differentiating empathy from sympathy.

The ARCS scholar award helped solidify Robert’s decision to attend WSU. At the time he was thinking of attending UMMC, where he would have research experience while working in a hospital setting.

While his hobbies include reading, exercising, and the occasional video games, he also has interests in community-based teaching projects such as teaching projects.

Holly Rose Drankhan

Veterinary Microbiology and Pathology Fellow

During her Ph.D. program, Holly hopes to design tactful research approaches that provide new insight into infectious animal disease. She aspires to have a career in academia, where she can pass down her knowledge and inspire the next generation of veterinarians.

Holly completed her undergraduate studies in zoology at Michigan State University. During this time, she also fostered a passion for education and journalism. She conducted lessons for an after-school science club at Lansing elementary schools, served as editor of her university’s yearbook, and wrote copy for multiple publications with a focus on scientific topics written for the general public.

When Holly started veterinary school in 2015, she quickly became interested in veterinary pathology. She obtained a summer job at the MSU Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory, where she conducted necropsies on a variety of species. During her clinical phase, she externed in Wyoming and Colorado to better understand diseases affecting domestic and wild animal species in other parts of the United States. For her combined anatomic pathology residency/Ph.D. program at WSU, her main area of research interest is infectious diseases of food animals, especially those with zoonotic potential and/or wildlife reservoirs. In addition to research, Holly also hopes to incorporate teaching into her future career as a veterinary pathologist. Veterinarians are experts in matters of both animal and public health, and Holly believes it is our responsibility to expand public understanding of risk factors, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of diseases.

Holly chose WSU because she met many alumni of its pathology program during her externships, and they were all outstanding pathologists combining their passions for pathology, teaching, and research. She aspires to have a similar career. She appreciates WSU’s research focus on zoonotic, food-borne, and vector-borne disease. “After visiting Pullman and meeting the current faculty of the Veterinary Microbiology and Pathology Department, I knew it would be an awesome place to learn, be challenged, and grow professionally,” she says.

Holly is also grateful to have her academic achievements recognized by the ARCS Foundation and for the financial support. She was also offered residency positions at Michigan State University and Colorado State University, but the superior research program, faculty, and financial support from the ARCS Foundation influenced her decision to attend WSU.

Holly hopes to pursue a career in academia at a veterinary college with opportunities for teaching, diagnostics and research. If possible, she would also like to collaborate with federal (and possibly international) agencies working to monitor and control wildlife and food animal diseases that have impacts on public health.

In her spare time, Holly’s hobbies include hiking, tennis, travel, cooking, playing with her nieces and nephews, and playing video and board games.

Ashley Eberly


Ashley was born and raised in Virginia about two hours outside Washington DC and was homeschooled through high school—but she still had fun along the way. While she played sports the whole time, including five years of synchronized swimming, academics was her strong suit.

Ashley attended The University of Alabama and graduated with degrees in chemistry and mathematics in spring 2019. While there, she was a peer coach, helping students stay organized and on top of their academics. She also performed computational chemistry research with Dr. David Dixon. Her project was on determining properties of actinide hydroxide compounds. Through this research, Ashley discovered her primary passion and decided to attend graduate school in pursuit of a greater understanding of the actinide series. Her goal is to graduate with a Ph.D. and continue her research, either at a university or in a national laboratory.

Ashley’s current research aims to further understand the actinide elements by building correlation consistent basis sets and using them for analyzing thermochemical and spectroscopic properties of molecules containing actinides. The benefits include better environmental cleanup of radioactive waste and production of cleaner nuclear energy.

“I chose WSU because of the outstanding faculty in my field of interest, specifically Dr. Kirk Peterson,” says Ashley. Also, while visiting the school, she fell in love with the beautiful campus and the surrounding area of Pullman. She also received competitive offers from Michigan State and the University at Buffalo; however, the ARCS scholar award combined with the excellence of Dr. Peterson made WSU the best choice by far and solidified her decision to attend WSU.

In her free time, Ashley enjoys completing puzzles, exploring parks and other hiking venues, reading informative books, studying psychological typology, and interacting with every dachshund she can. She also enjoys hanging out with her husband John, who has promised to buy her a dachshund.

Elizabeth (Elis) Fisk

Veterinary Microbiology and Pathology

Elizabeth is undecided as to whether to pursue a career in industry, academia, or another area entirely, and wants to keep an open mind as she continues her education.

“There are excellent career opportunities in many areas to put both my pathology and research skills to use,” she says.

Elizabeth received a bachelor of science in neuroscience with minors in creative writing and LGBTQ studies at the University of Michigan, then earned a DVM from Michigan State University. During her student career, Elizabeth has taken part in research involving vaccine development, allergic response, the efficacy of various surgical prep agents, and sterile struvite formation in research dogs. She hopes to hone her diagnostic skills (especially in histopathology) during her time at Washington State University, create lasting connections with colleagues, and help educate future veterinarians in diagnostic pathology. She is especially looking forward to the potential opportunity to give a lecture or two to veterinary students.

For her future research endeavors, Elizabeth would like to focus on host-parasite interaction. “Parasitology is something that’s interesting to me, mainly because of my love for invertebrates,” she says. “I actually have many pet insects and arachnids at home, and was also able to do a clerkship in honey bee medicine. The sheer alien-ness of invertebrates in comparison to every other species is fascinating to me.”

Washington State University has a large, well-established program in veterinary anatomic pathology with emphasis on collaboration between faculty, residents, and programs such as the USDA and the CDC. As someone who hopes to build connections within the field of research and pathology, this collaborative aspect appealed to Elizabeth. “I feel that a collaborative environment within a large program such as that at WSU will give me excellent opportunities to share ideas and gain different and new perspectives from many different sources,” she says. She also believes there is a strong likelihood of exposure to topics that will turn into new areas of interest for her. “WSU’s program offers so many opportunities to pursue the interests I already have, such as host-parasite interaction, aquatic animal pathology through the Aquatic Health Laboratory, and laboratory animal medicine through their status as a reference lab for the Laboratory Response Network for Bioterrorism and as a member of the National Animal Health Laboratory Network,” she says.

Elizabeth considered attending Michigan State University, which only offered a stipend to attend the yearly ACVP meeting. While interviewing at WSU, several faculty members mentioned the ARCS Fellowship, and although it is not the only reason she chose to attend WSU, the generous ARCS fellowship definitely factored into her choice.

Elizabeth loves reading both fiction and non-fiction in her spare time, and enjoys writing short stories (the University of Michigan published two, and she is hoping to turn one into a full novel). She also enjoys digital art and finds it a fun and calming activity. Recently she has been printing hand-drawn animals out onto vinyl stickers and giving them out to classmates to brighten their day. She also plays electric guitar and enjoys teaching herself new songs (alternative and classic rock are her favorites). She also likes bicycling, bikes to class every day, and takes long rides at night when she can.

Brenden Fraser-Hevlin

Chemical Engineering Fellow

Brenden’s career objective is to complete his Ph.D. in chemical engineering and work as an engineer in a research position in the biotechnology industry.

Brenden completed an honors bachelor of science degree in bioengineering at Oregon State University in 2017. He previously worked on research projects where he investigated drug delivery systems and essential oil extraction methods. Currently, he is interested in researching in the areas of biotechnology, bioprocessing and biomedical engineering.

“I was inspired to pursue this path after my experience as an intern with a pharmaceutical company several years ago,” says Brenden. “Being able to observe how a product is developed in the research lab from the earliest stages was a fascinating process and something that I am extremely motivated to continue working on.”

Ultimately, Brenden is looking to make a difference in people’s lives, whether that means developing new medicines or medical devices, or developing cleaner energy sources that improve the state of the environment.

Brenden decided to attend WSU after visiting Pullman and exploring the campus. “Overall WSU has a great balance between the facilities on campus, faculty, funding options, and atmosphere. It offers an excellent engineering program and graduate program and a very strong funding package.” he says.

The ARCS award strongly impacted Brenden’s decision to attend WSU, and made the offer better than most of the other offers he was considering.

In his spare time Brenden enjoys watching sports and the outdoors, including hiking, biking, camping, traveling.

Andrew Herr

Molecular Plant Science

Andrew grew up on a small sheep farm in rural Indiana in a community heavily based in agriculture. He found a passion for agriculture and feeding the world in his local FFA chapter and used the organization to learn and develop further. He graduated cum laude with a BS in agronomy focusing on plant breeding and biotechnology from Iowa State University. His research interests include advances in high-throughput phenotyping, genomics, genetic by environmental interaction, plasticity, and prediction modeling.

Andrew was also considering offers from University of Minnesota and Iowa State University, but WSU provided more opportunities for his growth and learning than any other institute he visited.

After earning a Ph.D. with an emphasis in winter wheat breeding and genetics, Andrew hopes to enter the private sector working for a major player in agriculture-based plant genetics.

Andrew enjoys furniture design and woodwork, breeding and showing livestock, and is also very active in his local church community.  A fun fact about him is that he was born in the same town as Wilbur Wright of the Wright brothers.

Nolan Jolley

Animal Sciences

Nolan would like to become a research scientist for either USDA or private industry.

He earned a BS in animal science at Middle Tennessee State University and after working several jobs at an animal hospital, decided to pursue graduate school. Since first participating in undergraduate research, Nolan has been working at Vanderbilt University Medical Center as a research assistant.

“I have always had an interest in animals, and my undergrad studies heavily exposed me to agriculture,” says Nolan. “I hope to learn more about genetics and statistics to help improve welfare and efficiency of animals in agriculture.”

Nolan wanted to attend a land grant university and study genetics in animal agriculture for his graduate degree. He narrowed down his options by looking at each university’s animal science genetics research, and liked Washington State University’s the best. The possibility of the ARCS scholar award added to his decision for WSU, but finding an advisor that he liked was his biggest priority. He also looked at Colorado State University and University of California Davis.

Nolan’s research goals at WSU will be to investigate the genetic components of animal health, the complex traits of economic importance, and the genomics of fertility. He hopes to use the skills he gains at WSU to get a job using genetics and statistics to improve agriculture.

In his spare time, Nolan is a casual fly fisherman and hiker.

Brianne Jones

Molecular Biosciences

Brianne’s passion for science and learning has been largely shaped by exceptional educators and mentors. Her goal is to give back and extend her assistance to others in some fashion, combining education and mentorship into a potential career.

Brianne has lived in Arizona the majority of her life and calls it home. “I am an only child to a hardworking single mother who has been one of the best role models I could have had,” she says.

Brianne received an interdisciplinary bachelor’s degree from Arizona State University in cell genetics and developmental biology. Her motivation for attending graduate school is to continue learning. “There were too many questions to be answered,” she says. “Although I am not sure of the exact focus areas at the moment, I am confident I will find them at WSU and be able to pursue worthwhile explorations.”

Brianne currently works at The Arizona Center for Algae Technology and Innovation, which serves as a national test bed for large scale algal production for potential products such as biofuel or wastewater remediation. While her undergraduate studies did not heavily focus on sustainability and environmental education, she feels this research experience has given her the opportunity to understand more of the creative efforts made to preserve our planet and just how important photosynthetics are to the preservation as a whole.

When Brianne visited WSU, she felt a sense of comfort, even though she had just met everyone. “It was a welcoming feeling and I thought it would be beneficial to see it through,” she says. “I believe my thoughts and ideas will be encouraged here and that I will be given the tools to foster my own curiosity and skills, as well as the tools to help others if I so choose.”

Brianne made the difficult decision between Washington State University and Penn State University. The choice ultimately came down to where she felt most comfortable and which place she could receive the optimal balance between mentorship and autonomy. ARCS played a large role in her decision to attend WSU because it was a symbol of support for the students and a pledge to assist in their successes, which she found important.

Brianne enjoys watching movies, participating in outdoor recreation, spending time with friends, and traveling when possible. She will watch almost any film genre except horror, although one of her favorite movies is Jurassic Park—which she believes to have played a key influence in shaping her love for science—particularly life science. She also loves hiking and most water recreations, including open water diving. She has been certified for over two years and tries to go as often as possible. “My mother and I often travel out of the country during the holiday season and often end up in warm weather climates that allow for a few dive trips,” she says. “Living in the Southwest, I have been fortunate to have been in a major hub for many musical bands and artists, as well as music festivals. I appreciate most genres of music and enjoy spending time with friends this way.”

Lance Merrick

Crop Science

Lance’s goal is to earn a Ph.D. and become a plant breeder to develop new cultivars and increase the productivity of farmers, whether for a university or for private industry.

Lance grew up on a family farm in South Dakota, where he learned first-hand the needs of farmers. There he discovered a passion for helping feed people, which led him to earn a B.S. in agronomy at South Dakota State University. While at SDSU he worked in the Spring Wheat Breeding and Genetics program under Dr. Karl Glover. He determined the best way to achieve his goal was to become a plant breeder and develop crops that will help feed the growing population around the world. After graduation he traveled to New Zealand to gain more plant breeding experience and for three months worked at a winter nursery called Southern Seed Technology, where he harvested nurseries from breeding programs from all over the world.

When he came back to the US, he completed a M.S. at South Dakota State University, where his research focused on how production locations in South Dakota affected end-use quality in spring wheat. Working with wheat is what led him to study at WSU. His research interests are in the use of genomic selection and high-throughput phenotyping to make breeding programs more efficient.

Lance’s research project at WSU will focus on identifying marker-trait associations in wheat for important traits, and exploring the use of genomic and phenomic selection as a tool for advancing selection efficiency in the wheat breeding program.

“I chose WSU because it has a large and impressive wheat breeding program with a long history of successful plant breeders,” says Lance. “The ARCS fellowship greatly affected my decision to attend and was one of the main reasons I decided to turn down offers from the University of California, Davis and Oregon State University.”

In his spare time, Lance enjoys traveling and all outdoor activities such as snowboarding, hiking, camping, and bicycling.

Colleen Monahan

Veterinary Microbiology and Pathology

Colleen’s career objective is to expand her knowledge of infectious diseases and other public health threats. With that knowledge, she hopes to become a lead scientist in a government research lab or in the biotech industry researching and developing therapeutic treatments for infectious diseases.

Colleen completed a B.S. in molecular biology and physiology at Cal State Long Beach in 2016, and a M.S. in molecular biology and physiology. Her master’s research on protein metabolism in Toxoplasma gondii was the first time mass specific rate of protein synthesis had been measured in a single cell Eukaryote. The methods that Colleen developed can be used to analyze complex biochemistry and phenotypic changes in genetically altered single-cell organisms. When treating T. gondii infections, protein synthesis inhibitors may not be effective. However, amino acid transporters or other organic material transporters may be a new and exciting area of drug treatments.

By attending various conferences and presenting posters, Colleen discovered her passion for understanding the underlying mechanisms of pathogens. She has traveled to Woodshole, MA and San Jose, CA to present posters, and also had the opportunity to travel to Japan for a marine biology course in which she learned calcium imaging techniques.

Colleen chose WSU because she likes the way the program is structured, and it was clear which faculty were interested in taking a graduate student. She also felt that the current graduate students were very welcoming and a close-knit group.

“The ARCS scholar award impacted my decision to attend WSU,” says Colleen. “When I received the offer, I felt that WSU was setting me up for success and really valued me as a potential graduate student. I also considered offers from University of Georgia, UC Riverside, and Clemson.”

In her free time, Colleen enjoys snowboarding, bike riding, salsa dancing, and swing dancing.

Kiersten Ritchie


Kiersten’s objectives in the WSU entomology graduate program are to study pollinators, specifically honey bee reproductive biology and asymmetric sperm survival in spermathecal storage. Kiersten graduated from the University of Washington in Spring 2017 with a BS in biochemistry.  One of her elective classes was an introductory entomology course, where she fell in love with insects.

Her youth was spent in the family apple orchard, where her scientific curiosity connected with crop sciences with entomology. She wants to research pollinator biology, including evolution and genetics to create more efficient ways to produce higher crop yields and protect honey bees from Colony Collapse Disorder and viruses. She plans to work closely with her adviser, and other faculty and students, to create a supportive community for herself.

“I chose WSU for the renowned study and research in agriculture and relationships with the community,” says Kiersten. “Without the assistance from the ARCS scholar award, I would not have thought attending WSU for doctoral studies would be possible. The ARCS scholar award helped finalize my decision to attend WSU. I also considered attending University of California, Davis; Colorado State University, and Oregon State University.”

Kiersten’s goals after earning her Ph.D. are to work in academia or closely with farmers in a consulting position. She intends to support WSU with her time and finances after completion of her studies, and wants to continue researching and advocating for a healthier planet and educating communities on the benefits and importance of insects.

Kiersten’s personal interests include true crime and the criminal law system. Forensic entomology on television shows kick-started her interest.  “I also love lizards,” she says. “My nickname in my entomology course was ‘The Huntress’, and my favorite local insect is the Ceanothus silkmoth. I also enjoy hiking, paddle boarding, kayaking, floating on a river with friends, camping, and country music festivals.”

Anthony Savoy

Chemical Engineering

Anthony’s goal is to earn a Ph.D. and work as a leading researcher in a sustainable energy lab for a company that has the power to change the way society consumes energy. He is also considering a professorship at a university where he would start a research group based on his interests in sustainable energy.

“I’ve moved around a lot through my life, but I’ve spent the majority of my time in Montana and really hope to stay in the western United States,” he says. Anthony started college at the University of Wyoming, but transferred to Montana State University, where he earned a B.S. in chemical engineering. He worked for a year and a half on biofuel-based research projects that studied alkaline pretreatment reactions on woody biomass and lignin solubility in organic solvents. He is especially interested in sustainable and clean energy as well as energy storage technology, such as batteries and fuel cells. After earning a Ph.D., he hopes to be a leading contributor behind the push for sustainable technology and energy. Anthony’s fiancé is also pursuing a Ph.D. in chemistry at WSU and the couple hope to one day collaborate and work together.

Anthony’s current research at MSU is meant to benefit the bio-refinery industry’s economic viability by assessing how effectively lignin can be converted into side products and how less severe reaction coordinates affect yields. His specific research project at WSU has yet to be determined; however, it will most likely pertain to the application of catalytic materials to convert fossil or biomass feedstocks into other valuable products, or applying catalysis to emissions. Anthony coauthored a manuscript that will be published in the near future in the Industrial and Engineering Chemistry Research journal titled, “Integrated Two-stage Alkaline-Oxidative Pretreatment of Hybrid Poplar. Part 1: Impact of Alkaline Pre-Extraction Conditions on Process Performance and Lignin Properties.”

“My soon-to-be wife and I love the feeling of Pullman and the people in our departments,” says Anthony. “Receiving the ARCS award made a big impact on my decision to attend WSU because it felt like WSU was investing a great deal in me, which gives me much more motivation to work harder in my program. I also received an offer of a reasonable stipend from Oregon State University.”

Anthony enjoys hiking, fishing, golfing, and camping, and almost any strategic board game. Anthony has lived in seven different states (eight once he moves to Pullman), and has visited 31. He hopes to have visited all 50 by the time he turns 30.

Stephanie Sikavitsas Johnson

Veterinary Microbiology and Pathology

Stephanie is an epidemiologist who wants to study and research zoonotic diseases in an environment that will challenge her to be ready to step onto the international stage (for the Center for Disease Control perhaps) as a leader in zoonotic disease research. She enjoys data analysis and fieldwork equally, and wants to find a job that allows her to do both, which could include a post-doc position directly after earning her Ph.D.

“I am a Midwestern girl who thought she was going to grow up and be a veterinarian or cure cancer,” says Stephanie. She earned a B.S. in molecular genetics from Ohio State University, and fell in love with statistics and public health. She turned that passion into a master’s in public health in epidemiology at the University of Pittsburgh, where she focused on dengue. After working in a pediatric research hospital for a year, she accepted an epidemiology fellowship in 2017, which placed her in Puerto Rico studying arboviruses. Then Hurricane Maria happened, which threw her life to Minnesota and switched her focus from vector-borne to zoonotic diseases.

Stephanie has a passion for zoonotic diseases, particularly rabies, and enjoys bringing her background in healthcare facilities to zoonotic disease research when possible. Her current research is looking at the cost of rabies post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) in Minnesota. The aim there is to obtain a better understanding of rabies PEP and the costs across Minnesota healthcare facilities. The benefits are to help bring transparency to costs and perhaps decrease or stabilize the pricing for PEP through transparency.

“Washington State University is one of the few schools that has a specific global animal health focus and dedicated research to rabies research,” says Stephanie. “I really like the rotation aspect for first-year Ph.D. students to make sure they find the correct lab and adviser for themselves.”

The ARCS scholar award had an impact on Stephanie’s decision to attend WSU. “The prestige and potential mentorship were a factor and WSU was the best fit for me,” she says. “I also considered an offer from the University of Iowa that was tuition- and stipend-funded.”

Stephanie is a seasonal road cyclist, and is starting to do some racing. She swims during the winter months and also enjoys playing board games, reading good fantasy books, exploring new hikes and areas, and is always up to try a new brewery or winery.


2018-19 ARCS Scholars

Shannon C. Allen is a first-year Ph.D. student in the Immunology and Infectious Disease program. She is an NIH Protein Biotechnology Trainee interested in studying zoonotic diseases. In 2016, Shannon earned her bachelor of science degree in biochemistry from Middle Tennessee State University. While attending MTSU, Shannon completed an independent honors thesis in chemistry. Using bioassay guided fractionation and nuclear magnetic resonance analysis, she isolated, purified, and identified the compound responsible for anti-viral activity in Snapdragon. After graduating, she worked for one year as a quality control technician for Eurofins Lancaster Laboratories in Nashville, Tenn. performing microbiological and environmental testing. The following six months, she worked as a research assistant at East Tennessee State University studying the relationship between hypertension and kidney disease. After completing her Ph.D., Shannon hopes to become a principal investigator at a major university, conducting research and training future microbiologists. As an avid hiker and rock climber, Shannon made the most of her move from Tennessee to Washington, visiting beautiful places along the way, like Black Hills National Forest and the Grand Teton, Yellowstone, and Glacier National Parks. Shannon is an animal lover and has a pet Chihuahua Yorkie mix named Daisy.

Rowan J. Calkins is a first-year PhD student in the Department of Neuroscience at Washington State University currently performing lab rotations to find a supervisor for her PhD program. She has performed research in a variety of fields, including: the protein-localization changes and creation of a proteome for the plant Nicotiniana benthamiana under viral infection by various rhabdoviruses; work in the Alltech, Inc. Nutrigenomics lab under Dr. Ronan Power researching the effect of dietary selenium on weight gain and brain inflammation, and; research into the effect of low-dose arsenic exposure on the metastasis of cancer cells. In her current summer internship, she has performed experiments to investigate the effect of homocysteine treatment on bEnd3 endothelial mouse cells, which has indicated an increase in proliferation under treatment not previously shown. Rowan earned her undergraduate degree in agricultural and medical biotechnology with a minor in biology from the University of Kentucky, where she graduated with a 4.0 GPA. After completing her PhD, she intends to continue her education and research neurodegenerative diseases and neuron repair in either a post-doc or an industry research lab. Rowan is originally from Wedgewood, Minn., but moved to Lexington, Ky., in high school and remained there until moving to Washington in August 2018. She loves singing, has been involved in various choirs since childhood, and has gone on many national tours and two international tours to Spain and Eastern Europe with the University of Kentucky Women’s Choir. In her free time, she enjoys taking care of her fish and her dog, Apollo, videos games and fantasy stories, and spending time on or under the water either boating or scuba diving. She hopes to continue performing as part of a choir, learning the guitar, and participating in Dungeons and Dragons storytelling with her current and future friends.

Elizabeth Campbell is a first-year PhD student, NIH Protein Biotechnology Trainee, and ARCS fellow in the Immunology and Infectious Diseases Program at Washington State University. She earned a combined honors bachelor of science (biology) and bachelor of music (vocal) degree from Dalhousie University, Nova Scotia, Canada. She completed her undergraduate research with Professors Song Lee and Scott Halperin at the Canadian Center of Vaccinology. Her project focused on characterizing a protein-based oral mucosal vaccine against Bordetella pertussis, and antigen-targeting as a method to enhance the immune response to vaccine antigen in the oral cavity. Elizabeth also participated in the Research Experience for Undergraduates summer program at Harvard University, Mass., in Professor David Weitz’s lab. She worked on engineering and characterizing polymer-shelled microcapsules via the microfluidic technique to encapsulate enzymes for detergent dispersions. Her contributions to the project lead to a publication and patent submission. Elizabeth also worked at BASF, a chemical company in Wyandotte, Mich., where she helped develop a research platform on the interaction between bio-active materials and detergent formulations, and contributed to the development of an application test for bacteria removal from textiles. Elizabeth will begin at Washington State University rotating with three professors and working on various projects before deciding where her thesis work will be conducted. Upon graduation, she hopes to start her career in the research and development branch of the biotechnology industry. In her free time, Elizabeth enjoys traveling and outdoor activities such as skiing, sailing, or canoe tripping.

Shane Carrion is a first-year Ph.D. student in the Department of Animal Science under the supervision of Dr. Zhihua Jiang. His graduate studies will be assisting in comparative genome biology, attempting to construct a toolset that can profile the transcriptome and its multifaceted variants to accurately predict its impact on the phenome. Shane earned his bachelor of science degree in biology from University of Colorado Colorado Springs. During his time there, he was involved in research on the role of a set of genes in the Post Mating Prezygotic barriers that had recently evolved in two sister species of flies. This was completed under the direction of Dr. Jeremy Bono, resulting in several presentations. He is planning to continue working in the field of genetics in an industry capacity upon graduation. Shane’s wife works in university research and his son is going into eighth grade. A non-traditional student, Shane has spent time working in several industries the last 11 years before discovering his passion for biology, prompting a major career change. He enjoys spending time with his wife, son, and animal menagerie, hiking, home projects, and playing the latest video games with his son.

Dr. Mitchell T. Caudill is a first-year veterinary resident in the Combined Residency in Anatomic Pathology/PhD program within the College of Veterinary Medicine. He received a bachelor of arts degree in anthropology from the College of William and Mary, where he studied animal behavior. His research activities included summers spent studying primate communication at the Smithsonian National Zoo and San Diego Zoo, and a trip to Cameroon to study chimpanzee tool use. Additionally, while on campus he worked in an environmental toxicology lab documenting the effects of environmental mercury on songbird immune response, resulting in a publication. He completed his doctorate in veterinary medicine at the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine, where he additionally researched and published on the genetic regulation within the bacteria Brucella abortus, the agent responsible for the major zoonotic disease brucellosis. In his free time, Mitch enjoys playing modern board games and spending time with his wife and two cats, Vena and Cava.

Elizabeth (Liz) W. Goldsmith is a first-year PhD student and a first-year veterinary anatomic pathology resident in the Department of Veterinary Microbiology and Pathology. Liz earned a bachelor of arts degree in biology from Macalester College in 2007. After graduating, she worked seasonally in wildlife field research in Alaska while guiding dog-sledding trips in northern Minnesota in the winters. Liz returned to school at the University of Alaska Fairbanks to complete her prerequisites for veterinary school from 2011-2013. While there, she conducted research on the population genetics of terrestrial rabies hosts in Alaska and worked as an intern for the Alaska Department of Fish and Game’s Wildlife Health and Disease Surveillance Program. In 2013, Liz began her master of public health in epidemiology from the Colorado School of Public Health and her doctor of veterinary medicine from the CSU College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences. During her time at CSU, Liz worked on collaborative research projects with Alaska Department of Fish and Game and with the National Park Service, focusing on brucellosis and rabies in wildlife populations. As a veterinary student, Liz also completed immunology research on sex-specific differences in CD8+ T-cell response to infection at Cornell University and a research project with MPI Research, a contract research organization, on injection site background pathology in rabbits used for vaccine research. After completing the Combined Anatomic Pathology Residency/PhD Program at Washington State University, Liz will work as a boarded veterinary pathologist in academia or in industry.  Liz has continued to be involved in the sled dog community, volunteering as a member of the veterinary team for the Copper Basin 300 Sled Dog Race in 2015 and 2017 and skijoring with her retired sled dog, Drum. In her free time, Liz enjoys reading, cooking, gardening, and hiking with her two dogs, Drum and Evelyn. She also has a snuggly grey cat, Otter Pop, and recently added four chickens to her home.

Dowen Jocson is an incoming first-year PhD student in the Department of Entomology under the supervision of Dr. Elizabeth Beers and Dr. David Crowder.  She investigates vibrational communication in pear psyllids and how disruption in communication could be integrated in pest management. Dowen earned her bachelor of science degree in biology with a concentration in plant sciences from Saint Louis University.  During her undergraduate career, she spent two years of research comparing reproduction success and pollinators of the two color morphs of Viola pedata, which was recently published in the Journal of Pollinator Ecology. She also earned her master of science degree in biology from Saint Louis University with her thesis focusing on how temperature may influence mating behaviors such as male mating signals and female mate preference in a Hemipteran (Enchenopa binotata).  Dowen has four pending manuscripts stemming for her master’s thesis.  After completing her PhD, she hopes to work with the USDA on developing non-chemical pest management strategies.  Dowen has a red-eared slider named Michelangelo that has a huge personality.  She loves playing board games, cooking, baking, napping, and looking at bugs.

Matthew A. King is an incoming first-year PhD student in the Department of Chemistry. He earned his bachelor of arts degree in chemistry with a research emphasis and minors in mathematics and biology from Concordia University Irvine. Matthew conducted research for seven years under Dr. and professor Kenney in the fields of spectroscopy and inorganic synthesis, with his most recent work based on binuclear chromium complexes. After completing his PhD, Matthew hopes to work in a national lab before returning to academia. Matthew enjoys reading fantasy novels, playing games, and going to museums with his wife.

Merri Metcalfe is a first-year PhD student in the Bread Lab at WSU Mt. Vernon. Her research will focus on the accessibility, quality, and affordability of grain-based products from Western Washington with an emphasis on making nutritional food more available within our communities. She completed a master of science in sport nutrition at the University of Colorado Colorado Springs (UCCS) in May 2018 and is a registered dietitian by trade—but a philosopher at heart. She has spent many sleepless nights thinking about why we are here, the meaning of it all, and our place in this world. She has experience working in clinical dietetics, eating disorder treatment, and sport nutrition, but most recently has been moved by the great need to improve our food system. After learning about the Bread Lab at “Grain School”, an annual event at UCCS, she was incredibly inspired by both its mission and purpose, and decided to apply to their PhD program. The rest is history. She has never been more excited for a next step. In her free time, Merri enjoys cooking—especially with local ingredients—and her favorite place to be is boating on Lake Shasta where she loves wakeboarding in the early mornings when the water is calm. Finally, in the last few months she has started to develop a slight addiction to rock climbing.

Katherine Naasko is a first-year PhD student in the Department of Crop and Soil Sciences under the supervision of Dr. Haiying Tao. She is working in cooperation with the NRCS to complete a soil health assessment project, looking at physical, biological and chemical aspects of soil in the Palouse. Growing up in Michigan, she tries to include outdoor activities in her daily routine, including hiking and photography. Katherine received her bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Michigan State University, where she graduated as an academic scholar. She discovered the importance of chemistry in the field of agricultural sciences as she received a minor in science, technology, environment and public policy, as well as a second minor in environmental studies and sustainability. She also had a summer internship working for a soybean, wheat, and corn pathology lab studying aphids and apothecia mushrooms. In addition to field experience, she also worked as a technician in MSU’s Soil and Plant Nutrient Laboratory. Entering into a graduate program in the Pacific Northwest is a dream come true for Katherine. After completing her PhD, she would like to utilize her unique educational background by working for the NRCS to address issues in soil fertility and improve efficiency, sustainability and productivity to improve soil health.

Miguel Rosas is a first-year rotating PhD student in the Plant Molecular Sciences Program. Miguel earned his bachelor of science in biology from California State University San Marcos. While there, he worked under the supervision of Dr. Matthew Escobar investigating nitrate induced class III glutaredoxin proteins and their regulatory role in the primary root growth of Arabidopsis thaliana. His contribution resulted in a publication in the Journal of Plant Physiology with two others well on their way. After completing his PhD, Miguel wishes to move back to San Diego and work in the biotech industry on recombinant protein production in plants before returning to academia. Miguel hopes to one day be a professor at the same university where he attended as an undergraduate. In his spare time, Miguel likes to go backpacking with friends, have bonfires at the beach, go on hikes with his dog, read science-fiction novels, and enjoy pizza with his family.

Eduardo J. Sánchez Díaz is a first-year PhD student in chemical engineering with Dr. Jim Petersen as his advisor. Eduardo earned his bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from the Polytechnic University of Puerto Rico. While there, he conducted several research projects, the most recent for a course conducted by Dr. Omar Movil comparing the benefits that graphene electronic tattoos have over the standard electrodes. During and following his PhD career, Eduardo would like to continue developing his skills and acquire knowledge to create a better environment and quality of life for humans and nature with his research. Eduardo is an athletic student who enjoys outdoor activities, especially mountain biking, and other activities such as working on cars.

Kayla A. Spawton is a first-year PhD student at Washington State University’s Department of Plant Pathology under the supervision of Dr. Lindsey du Toit and Dr. Tobin Peever. She studies the ecology and management of fungal pathogens of vegetable seed. Kayla earned her bachelor of science degree in evolution, ecology, and biodiversity with a minor in fungal biology and ecology from the University of California, Davis. As an undergraduate, she contributed to research projects on sudden oak death in California’s coastal forests, soft rot of table grapes, and pitch canker of Monterey Pine. She also conducted an independent project on the insectgall diversity of a population of native sagebrush in California’s eastern Sierras. This research became her honors thesis and was later published in a peer-reviewed academic journal. After graduating, she worked as a microbiologist for three years at an agricultural biotechnology company researching plant-associated bacteria and fungi that promote crop growth. She then briefly returned to UCD to lead the California stream monitoring project of sudden oak death. After completing her PhD in plant pathology, Kayla hopes to work in university agricultural extension where she can conduct and communicate research of plant pathogens that growers are encountering. While not learning about fungi, Kayla enjoys watching films, ranging from those produced during Hollywood’s silent era to foreign new releases. She also enjoys crocheting, hiking, and listening to podcasts.




ARCS  Scholars  Archives




2003 – 2014

Kaitlin Witherell

By Ruth Williams

Kaitlin Witherell Grad Student

Kaitlin Witherell, a doctoral student in the Paul G. Allen School for Global Animal Health at WSU, was destined to become a scientist. When she was young, she frequently went to work with her mother, who is also a scientist. As Kaitlin grew older, so did her interest in microbiology. In high school she conducted an extensive project on the micro-organisms that live off the oxidation of the Titanic.

“I’d been sitting in the lab for 12 hours one day, and realized that I wasn’t sick of studying it yet,” says Kaitlin. “That was when I realized how much I liked it!”

After high school, Kaitlin continued her studies at University of California Davis, where she fell in love with the community of shared knowledge and support. When she began looking for a graduate program, she found the perfect fit at WSU.

“While looking at graduate schools, I came across the Immunology and Infectious Disease program at WSU,” says Kaitlin. “When I visited WSU Pullman for my interview, everyone was so nice and willing to help. I felt a very warm sense of community here, and that really solidified my decision to apply.”

Why WSU?

Another factor in her decision to come to WSU was the Achievement Rewards for College Scientists (ARCS) program, which contributes to the advancement of science and technology by funding doctoral fellowships.

“I was wavering between several schools until I found out I had an ARCS Fellowship,” says Kaitlin. “I knew I couldn’t turn down that kind of opportunity.”

The Seattle Chapter of the ARCS Foundation has a strategic partnership with Washington State University and the University of Washington, and is supporting 157 fellows from both universities this year. Fifty-two of these fellowships are supported in perpetuity by named endowments.

“My sponsors, Bruce and Joanne Montgomery, are wonderful people,” says Kaitlin. “I have met with them a few times during site visits and when I was in Seattle. I really appreciate being able to share my successes with them. Knowing that I have such great, kind, and successful people in my corner is really nice, and I hope to stay in touch with them even after leaving the ARCS program.”

About Her Research

Kaitlin’s faculty advisor is Dr. Douglas Call, professor of molecular epidemiology in the Paul G. Allen School for Global Animal Health. In his laboratory, she is working on a collaborative project with the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center (Fred Hutch) on antimicrobial peptides.

These small antimicrobial peptides, called knottins, are a relatively untapped market for new antimicrobials. They are produced in organisms like sea snails, venomous snakes, and scorpions as a natural defense mechanism.

Fred Hutch contacted her lab because they had found a way to produce these antimicrobial knottins synthetically. They call these artificial knottins “optides”. The significance of this is that her lab now has access to a library of untapped, potential antimicrobials. They have already found several optides that are effective against a variety of multi-drug resistant bacteria. With more optides on the way, the lab is confident they will find many more effective optides in the next few months. Kaitlin’s part in this is to find out which ones are most effective by themselves, which optides have synergy with extant antibiotics, and discover how optides are killing bacteria.

“I feel so fortunate to be working with Dr. Call because it feels like this project is perfect for me,” says Kaitlin. “I’m so passionate about my research because I can see how it may lead to creating new antibiotics which will save lives. It feels like I can make a difference in the world. Plus, I enjoy the work so much it doesn’t even feel like work anymore.”

Through her work in Dr. Call’s lab, Kaitlin was able to complete an internship at Blaze Bioscience, Inc. in Seattle this summer. Blaze is a Fred Hutch partner and owns the rights to the optide project.

“Blaze is a small company, so I would frequently work at Fred Hutch because they had the equipment I needed, and while there I was able to make some of the microbial peptides I’ve been researching. It was really cool to be able to see that side of my research in person.”

After WSU

Kaitlin is surprised at how much she’s grown since coming to WSU.

“When I first came to WSU, I was shocked at how much I didn’t know. It feels like everyone who is in a Ph.D. program is the best of the best, and at first it felt like I did not deserve to be here. It took a lot of work to build up my self-confidence, especially about my dissertation project.”

After graduating, Kaitlin would like to go into industry or a government position.

“Most likely my objectives will change to go wherever the science takes me, but that is my current plan,” she says. Kaitlin graduates in Spring 2020.


Ashley Railey and Nick Pokorzynski

Doctoral Students Learn Science Policy and Advocacy on Capitol Hill

By Cheryl Reed


From left: Ashley Railey, Senator Maria Cantwell, Allison Kolbe, and Nick Pokorzynski

Pullman Doctoral students Nick Pokorzynski and Ashley Railey were selected to attend a three-day workshop in Washington DC in March, where they learned about Congress, the federal budget process, and effective science communication. The trip was hosted by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and funded by the WSU Graduate School and the Office of Research.

The workshop was developed in response to graduate student requests to learn more about science policy and advocacy. To be eligible to attend, students are required to demonstrate strong communication and leadership skills and a desire to learn more about science policy and advocacy. More than 200 undergraduate and graduate students from 70 universities nationwide attended the fourth annual workshop this year.

“I was pleasantly surprised at the large number of students there,” says Railey, a WSU GPSA (Graduate and Professional Student Association) senator and individual interdisciplinary doctoral student (IIDP). “We networked for four days and talked with other students about our research. It was really valuable.”

Pokorzynski, a doctoral student in the School of Molecular Biosciences and an ARCS scholar, says he developed an expansive network of other students with similar interests, and learned to appreciate the importance of face-to-face communication in the political arena.

“That level of physical communication is so important in politics,” he says.

Policy and Science

Railey’s interdisciplinary research in the combined fields of economics, sociology, and animal health, looks at the decision-making processes that control diseases in livestock in Tanzania.

“I wasn’t sure I could translate science into policy-making with my work in Tanzania—but the workshop exceeded my expectations and gave me the tools,” she says. “I thought we would hear something like ‘politics is important,’ but I learned why it is important and why what we do, as scientists, is essential to the policy-making process.”

Railey, whose advisor is Dr. Tom Marsh in the School of Economic Sciences, was happy to see funding increases for science in the omnibus bill, which passed while they were in DC.

“I could see that there is an arena for science in politics,” she said. “Knowing this, I have more of an interest in policy and how I can be active.”

Before coming to WSU, Railey spent 27 months in the Peace Corp in the Dominican Republic. She is one of two students at WSU funded by the Gates Foundation through the Program for Enhancing the Health and Productivity of Livestock in East Africa, and is also the recipient of the Graduate School’s Russ and Anne Fuller Fellowship for Interdisciplinary Research.  She has traveled to Tanzania four times during her doctoral program and plans to return in November 2018 to wrap up her research.

Pokorzynski says he has an interest in diversifying his portfolio to include government policy, so the CASE workshop interested him.

“I got an overview of the way science policy makes its way through the government and differing perspectives on how that process works,” he says. “CASE also put together panels of people who work at funding agencies to talk with us about how they function and how funding works.”

Pokorzynski is a WSU ARCS (Achievement Rewards for College Scientists) student conducting research in Dr. Rey Carabeo’s lab on the molecular stress response of the sexually transmitted bacteria Chlamydia trachomatis. He came to WSU from Michigan State University, and is in the third year of his doctoral program here.  He also serves on the executive committee of the NIH Protein Biotechnology Training Program, which offers interdisciplinary training to students with the goal to produce versatile scientists and engineers.

“I came to WSU because of the faculty and institutional support,” he says.

Both Pokorzynski and Railey consider the workshop valuable for their careers. Engaging with policy makers and learning how to be engaged in public and science policy as well as serving as resources for Congressional staff members with less experience in science and technology were highlights.

“The biggest highlight, though, was being on Capitol Hill and meeting our Congress men and women,” says Pokorzynski. “It was an incredible experience.”

For more information about the workshop, visit






2017 Evening of Excellence

2017 Scholarship & Fellowship Recipients

Graduate School Dissertation Year Fellowship

Nicole Ferry, Teaching and Learning (Left);  Brenden Higashi, Politics, Philosophy, and Public Affairs (Middle); Dean Bill Andrefsky. Not Shown: Judith Wait, Earth and Environmental Sciences

Karen P. DePauw Leadership Award

Margaret Black, Kari Ann Gaither (winner), William Andrefsky, and Kay Meier

Arnold and Julia Greenwell Memorial Scholarship for Social Sciences and Humanities

David Bolingbroke, History; Xue Zhang, Teaching and Learning;  Pierce Greenberg, Sociology;  Martha Jane Jenkins, Counseling Psychology; Dean William Andrefsky, Michael Lengefeld, Sociology;  Haseeb Ahmed (Economics). Shuang Liu, Communications (No photo)

Richard R. and Constance M. Albrecht Scholarship

Andrew Iverson, Educational Psychology; Nasreen Shah, Counseling Psychology; Darin Weed, Veterinary Microbiology and Pathology; Peter Olsoy, Earth and Environmental Sciences; Jacob Day, Chemistry, Dean William Andrefsky. Not Shown: Greg Collinge, Chemical and Bioengineering and Md Taibur Rahman, Materials Science and Engineering.

Russ and Anne Fuller Fellowship for Interdisciplinary Research/Scholarship

Ashley Railey, Individual Interdisciplinary; Seyed Ali Rokni Dezfooli, Electrical Engineering & Computer Science; Miriam Fernandez, English; Yang Song, Civil and Environmental Engineering; Dean William Andrefsky. Not Shown: Roxanne Moore, Teaching and Learning; David Alpizar, Educational Psychology; Laura Ahlers, Molecular Biosciences.

Dr. Phyllis Eide, College of Nursing; Dean William Andrefsky

2017 Scholarship/Fellowship Recipients

Graduate School Dissertation Year Fellowship

Nicole Ferry, Teaching and Learning
Brenden Higashi, Politics, Philosophy, and Public Affairs
Judith Wait, Earth and Environmental Sciences

Richard R. And Constance M. Albrecht Scholarship

Greg Collinge, Chemical and Bioengineering
Jacob Day, Chemistry
Andrew Iverson, Educational Psychology
Peter Olsoy, Earth and Environmental Sciences
Md Taibur Rahman,  Materials Science and Engineering
Nasreen Shah, Counseling Psychology
Darin Weed, Veterinary Microbiology and Pathology

Russ and Anne Fuller Fellowship for Interdisciplinary Research/Scholarship

Laura Ahlers, Molecular Biosciences
David Alpizar, Educational Psychology
Miriam Fernandez, English
Roxanne Moore, Teaching and Learning
Ashley Railey,  Individual Interdisciplinary
Seyed Ali Rokni Dezfooli, Electrical Engineering & Computer Science
Yang Song, Civil and Environmental Engineering

Second Year Russ and Anne Fuller Fellowship for Interdisciplinary Research/Scholarship

Korey Brownstein, Molecular Plant Sciences
Shaofang Fu , Materials Science and Engineering
Kimberly Lackey, Biological Sciences
Thu (Lily) Ly, Chemical and Bioengineering
Robert Orpet, Entomology
Craig Owen, Materials Science and Engineering
Gang Xu, Civil and Environmental Engineering

Charles Allen Master’s Thesis Award

Mycah Harrold, Psychology
Sarah Morton, Sociology

Karen P. Depauw Leadership Award

Kari Ann Gaither, Pharmaceutical Science

Graduate School Mentor Academy Award for Excellence

Dr. Phyllis Eide, College of Nursing

NSF Graduate Research Fellows

Jessie Arneson
Elias Bloom
Nicole Clark
Gregory Collinge
Jessamyn Dahmen
Sofia D’Ambrosio
Rachel DeTar
Alexandra Fraik
Kari Gaither
Cameron Hohimer
Travis King
Michael Meyer
Aaron Ogden
Lori Phillips
Vanessa Rose
Corey Ruder
Joseph Taylor
Iva Tews
Darin Weed

GPSA Excellence Awards

Davi Kallman  – Outstanding Graduate Assistant
Gracen Smith  – Outstanding Graduate Assistant
Andrea Smith – Outstanding Teaching Assistant
Natalie Peer – Outstanding Teaching Assistant
Seyed Ali Rokni Dezfooli  – Outstanding Research Assistant
Henry Sintim  – Outstanding Research Assistant
Nicole Ferry   – Outstanding Graduate Student Instructor
Jordan Engelke – Outstanding Graduate Student Instructor

Achievement Rewards for College Scientists (ARCS)

2017 President’s Award for Leadership

Megan Azee Brendal
Kakali Bhattacharya Chakrabarti
Yu-Chung Chang
Shuresh Ghimire
James P. Kent
Melanie Thornton
Brittany L. Wood


2016 Scholarship Recipients

Faculty opportunities for graduate student funding

Student Funding Opportunities

Nomination opportunities


ABD Waivers

Prestigious Fellowship workshops/proposals

NSF/NIH student training grant matches

Dissertation year fellowships

Proposal Leveraging


Recruitment Opportunities


ARCS nominations


RADS (Research Assistantship for Diverse Scholars)

STEM matching top-off

Funding Opportunities

Current Job Openings and Funding Opportunities

Assistive Living Advisor (ALA) Spring 2021 

ROAR Program is looking for a student-staff member who works in the Nez Perce Village Apartments as part of the WSU ROAR program helping to create safe and engaged communities for young adults with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities (WSU ROAR students).
More info and apply


Graduate Advisor/Instructor Student Positions  

The WSU ROAR Graduate Advisor/Instructor Assistantship, under the direction of the WSU ROAR program director, is responsible for coordinating activities, advising and providing support related to vocational skills, career guidance, social skills, life skills, and community involvement for WSU ROAR students.
Fall 2021-Spring 2022: More info and apply
Spring 2021: More info and apply


Graduate Research Assistant – Secondary Special Education and Transition 

The Special Education program is seeking a graduate research assistant for a statewide research and evaluation project related to the delivery and coordination of school-based transition services for secondary age students with disabilities.

More info and apply


Graduate Assistantship – IR and the Office of the Provost 

Institutional Research and Office of the Provost seeking a graduate assistant for spring 2021 term. This is a half-time, (20 hours per week – average) position.

More info and apply


National Founder’s Scholarship 

Brown, PC, has provided experience and mentorship to students through our internship programs. In an effort to continue to give back and assist the next generation of entrepreneurs, Brown, PC, is offering the following scholarships to current full-time U.S. business students: National Founder’s Scholarship – Graduate Student & National Founder’s Scholarship – Undergraduate Student


Alzheimer’s Clinical Trials 

Experienced psychometrist needed to administer neuropsychological / cognitive assessments to Alzheimer’s patients in clinical research trials. Certification preferred; minimum 2 years’ experience required or Medical background and experience working with dementia patients preferred.

More info and apply

Other Funding Opportunities

WSU Assistantships and Awards

Assistantship appointments provide financial support to a graduate student who engages in teaching (TA), research (RA), and/or service (SA or GA). Departments and programs generally make assistantship offers during the admissions process; however, current students may be eligible for an assistantship in their program when funding is available. Graduate assistantships may include a tuition waiver, health insurance, and a monthly stipend. Students should contact their department or graduate program to learn more about assistantship opportunities.

Each year the Graduate School and the Graduate and Professional Student Association (GPSA) recognize graduate students of outstanding achievement with numerous awards, including:


Achievement Rewards for College Scientists (ARCS)

Distinguished Graduate Research Program

PNNL Distinguished Graduate Research Program


Research Assistantships for Diverse Scholars

GPSA Awards


The Graduate School provides a number of donor-funded scholarships within specific disciplines that require nomination from your department. To learn about these scholarships and request nomination from your department, visit the scholarships website.

Graduate School Scholarships include:

Visit WSU’s general scholarship page.

Visit the Open Education Database for more scholarship opportunities.

Graduate student testing wheat in a green house

Western Regional Graduate Program (WRGP)

The WRGP allows master’s graduate certificate, and Ph.D. students who are residents of the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE) states to enroll in any participating programs within the participating institutions and pay resident tuition. The average savings is about $14,900 per student.

For more information about the WSU graduate programs eligible for resident tuition, visit

How to apply

Apply for admission and identify yourself as a WICHE WRGP applicant to be considered for the discounted tuition rate. Programs give a limited number of reduced tuition seats each year, so apply early.



Grad student conducting an experiment in a shock physics lab


Students should work with their faculty advisor to identify potential internship opportunities that fit within their program of study. Students who wish to participate in a fall or spring internship are required to meet the University’s continuous enrollment policy by either enrolling in a minimum of two graduate credits, be in continuous doctoral status, or be approved for official internship leave. Please see the complete Internship leave policy.

Two graduate students looking at a computer

Prestigious Fellowships and How to Apply

Applying for external fellowships and grants is an excellent professional development experience for many students who will be seeking academic career placement where grant funding is a necessity. The Graduate School offers training every spring to help students apply for a number of prestigious fellowships. Find out more about how to apply for these prestigious fellowships HERE

NIH Biotechnology Training Grants

The NIH Protein Biotechnology Training Program at Washington State University offers interdisciplinary training to enhance the graduate experience and produce versatile scientists and engineers to address the future needs of biotechnology in academic, industrial, or government service.

The program provides state-of-the-art training in basic science relevant to biotechnology and an education in the applied aspects of biotechnology, with particular emphasis on protein science.

Trainees in the Program are admitted for graduate studies through one of the participating academic units, then nominated for a traineeship:

Trainee positions are supported by a grant from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences, part of the National Institutes of Health, and contributions by Washington State University.


Finding Funding

Awards, Grants, Assistantships

Each year the Graduate School recognizes graduate students of outstanding achievement with numerous awards, including:


the Graduate School offers a number of donor-funded scholarships within specific disciplines that require nomination from your department. To learn about these scholarships so that you can request nomination from your department, visit the scholarships website. Also be sure to visit WSU’s general scholarship page. Graduate School Scholarships include:


Fellowships are available from a number of outside agencies, including private foundations, nonprofits, and state and federal sources. A variety of support is offered, from one-time awards to multi-year support for living expenses, educational fees, conference travel and/or research for beginning to advanced graduate student and postdoctoral levels. Aside from the obvious financial benefit, receipt of external funding exemplifies excellence in research, writing and scholarship.

Applying for external fellowships and grants is an excellent professional development experience for many students who will be seeking academic career placement where grant funding is a necessity. The Graduate School offers training to help students apply for a number of prestigious fellowships, including:

For information about our prestigious fellowships workshop, visit the Graduate School’s Fellowships Opportunities website.


Students should work with their faculty advisor to identify potential internship opportunities that fit within their program of study. Students who wish to participate in a fall or spring internship are required to meet the University’s continuous enrollment policy by either enrolling in a minimum of two graduate credits, be in continuous doctoral status, or be approved for official internship leave. Please see the complete Internship leave policy.


Find assistantships, internships, and other JOBS on campus.

RADS Cohort

WSU RADS student group

2018-19 Cohort

Tiffany Alvarez
Emily Harris
Joanna Hurtado
Ella McCalidaine
Jomalu Neyman
Rachel Perrier
Heather Ramos
Miguel Rosas
Katrina Sabochick
Sherwin Sales
Eduardo Sanchez
Brisa Zavala

2017-18 Cohort


Tabitha Espina Velasco picture (1)Tabitha Espina Velasco
Major: Ph.D. in English
Department: English
Research Interests: Cultural Rhetoric, Postcolonial Identity, Filipino-American Studies
More About Tabitha: Tabitha Espina Velasco is a Ph.D. Candidate in English Rhetoric and Composition at Washington State University. She is also the Outreach Coordinator for the WSU Critical Literacies Achievement and Success Program. A proud island girl, she was Guam’s youngest recording artist, releasing her Island Girl album at age 5. She is a government of Guam Merit Scholar, earning both her B.A. in Education as the Fall 2011 valedictorian and M.A. in English at the University of Guam (UOG). She has taught first-year composition courses at WSU, English courses and Women and Gender Studies courses as a full-time instructor at UOG, and has taught Adult Education English courses as an adjunct instructor at Guam Community College. Her work has been published in regional, national, and international books and scholarly journals, and she has presented her research at conferences across the nation and in eight countries. Her love for adventure has led her to twenty-nine countries.

Gina Castillo
Major: Ph.D. in Sociology Department: Sociology
Research Interests: Crime, Deviance, Social Control and Social Justice, Social Inequalities and how these themes intersect with Education, Work, Organizations, and Labor markets during Life Course
More About Gina: Gina Castillo graduated with a B.S. in Sociology and a minor in Computer Science from Linfield College in McMinnville, Oregon. As a Ford Family Foundation Scholar, she began Kernel of Hope, a program that educates on both the dangers and safety found in technology for survivors of abuse/stalking, and that offers classes with a non-basic skills approach to confidence training. As a senior, she completed an independent evaluation research project of a peer-run mentorship program for women exiting prison. During her undergraduate tenure, Gina balanced raising twin boys (now 9 years old) with working as a research assistant in the Linfield Center for the Northwest (LCN), and as a mentor to women exiting prison. During her time at the LCN, Gina worked collaboratively with the Director on projects such as: Oral Histories, designing a Sustainability Survey, and several projects surrounding Latino Farmers and their participation in a CSA. Her most recent project was in her role as the administrator of iFOCUS–a pre-orientation Science program at Linfield College, and as a crisis line worker at HOAP in Salem Oregon. Gina is passionate about undergraduate success! Gina enjoys spending time with her family, camping and the outdoors

Angelo Brown
Dominic Bush
Landon Charlo
Sedelia Dominguez
Tyler Fouty
Jenisha Gerard
Melissa Jenkins
Kevin Marchbanks-Owen
Eugene Mason
Larmie Paxton
Heather Ryan
Vanessa Real-Villalobos
Samantha Tjaden

2016-2017 Cohort

Jackelyn HidalgoJackelyn Hidalgo

Major: Ph.D. Prevention Science
Department: Human Development
Research Interests: Childhood Obesity Prevention
More About Jackelyn: Although born and raised, I decided to remain in Washington and attend Washington State University in 2012. As an undergraduate student, I was fortunate to be selected by faculty nomination for the Ronald E. McNair Post-baccalaureate Achievement Program, a program designed to prepare students for graduate research. I graduated in spring of 2016 with my degree in Kinesiology. My kinesiology background offers a holistic approach to physical activity in relation to the individual. An interesting fact about me is that I am very fascinated by the body building community and keep up with a few competitors. Upon completing the prevention science program, I intend to be globally active and continue conducting research for the prevention of obesity.

Nadia Panossian
Major: Mechanical Engineering
Department: Mechanical Engineering
Research Interests: Renewable Energy, Electrical Grid Balancing
More About Nadia: Nadia is from Silver Spring, Maryland and got her BS in mechanical engineering at the University of Maryland. As an undergrad, she was a member of the Mighty Sound of Maryland (the University’s marching band) and started a wind power team for the National Renewable Energy Lab’s Collegiate Wind Competition. She interned with UMD’s Simulation-Based System Design Lab, the Army Research Lab, and Baltimore Gas and Electric. After graduating, she worked for Siemens Energy in Orlando. In her free time, Nadia enjoys hiking and playing the piano.


Ryan Booth
Major: U.S. History
Department: History
Research Interests: American West, Native American History
More About Ryan: Ryan Booth originally hails from the Skagit Valley of Washington, but most recently resided in Wenatchee. With deep Northwest roots, Ryan claims both Upper Skagit Tribal membership and Oregon Trail pioneer ancestry. Having earned a bachelor’s degree in history and philosophy from Loyola University Chicago in 2001, Booth pursued a career in the National Park Service. Prior to the NPS, he was a Jesuit scholastic in the Oregon Province of the Society of Jesus. After spending five years in federal service, Booth taught at Heritage University while earning his masters in history at Central Washington University. Having found the career of a lifetime in teaching, Ryan plans to obtain his doctorate so he can spend the rest of his life teaching others about history at a small liberal arts college. When not studying, he enjoys reading, watching artsy films and hiking the hills.

Graduate student Marisa Cervantes

Marisa Cervantes
Major: Ph.D. in Sociology
Department: Sociology
Research Interests: Family, Gender, Intimate partner and domestic violence, and race/class/gender inequalities
More About Marisa: I am a first-generation college graduate from the San Francisco Bay Area, California. I earned a B.A in Sociology and Spanish from Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles in 2014. As an undergraduate, I did research on first-generation college students and co-created a program called First to Go, which provided resources and mentoring to help first year students navigate their way through college. Through my involvement with First to Go, I co-facilitated a course and discovered my passion for teaching. It was that experience that inspired me to pursue a Ph.D. so that I would be able to teach at the university level. I am grateful to have the opportunity to be at WSU and work towards doing what I love!

Emily Lafrance


Emily Lafrance
Major: Psychology
Department: Experimental Psychology
Research Interests: Health & Cognitive Psychology, including exercise, substance use, mindfulness & cognition
More About Emily: I graduated from Pullman high school in 2012 after moving to the Palouse from the California Bay Area. I completed my bachelor’s in Psychology at WSU and loved it so much I decided to stay for my Ph.D. in Experimental Psychology. My research focuses on the effects of exercise and substance use on various aspects of cognitive ability. Outside of school, my favorite pastimes include hiking and backpacking with my two-year-old Australian Shepherd, fly fishing and rafting!

Jesus Caro

Jesus Caro
Major: Physics
Department: Physics
Research Interests: Compact binaries, LMXB. Cosmology, Computational Physics.
More About Jesus: I’m from Texas, I received my B.S. at The University of Texas at El Paso. I love to play Euro tabletop games, am a novice RPGer and tend to obsess over anything that presents a cognitive challenge. My favorite captain is Picard, favorite cheese is Feta, favorite game is Power Grid, and my favorite molecule is C60. I look forward to spending the next several years in Washington!


Johannetsy AvillanJohannetsy Avillan
Major: Ph.D. Immunology and Infectious Diseases
Department: Veterinary Medicine
Research Interests: Antimicrobial Resistance
More About Johannetsy: I did my BS in microbiology in Puerto Rico, then moved to Florida where I did my medical technology program while working for the VA hospital. I moved to Atlanta, GA where I worked for 4 years for CDC in their antimicrobial resistance and characterization laboratory. I also was a CDC Spanish spokesperson. I have a 5 years old boy who is very active and lovely. I enjoy cooking and baking, love seafood but don’t like vegetables so now that I’m getting old I’m working on trying to incorporate them into my diet (at least trying). I like traveling to different places and at least I normally go to Puerto Rico and Florida once a year. Also, depending on how my day goes, I can start speaking to you in English but can switch back and forward to Spanish, if so, eventually I will realize it and re-explain myself.

Francisco “Paco” Gonzalez-Tapia
Major: Ph.D. Horticulture (Potato Agronomy Focus)
Department: Horticulture
Research Interests: Alternative agricultural input efficacy. Irrigation efficiency
More About Paco: Francisco “paco” Gonzalez-Tapia is a first-year graduate student pursuing a Ph.D. in Horticulture and will be focusing in potato agronomy. Francisco is interested in researching the efficacy of alternative agricultural inputs and ways to improve current center pivot irrigation in potatoes. Francisco is also interested in the use of Unmanned Aerial Systems to diagnose deficiencies, stress, and diseases in potatoes.Francisco graduated from Washington State University in 2016 with a Bachelor in Agricultural Food Systems, major in Agricultural Technology & Management and minor in Horticulture.After Francisco graduates with his Ph.D., he plans to move back to his hometown of Othello, where his parents dwell and will pursue a career as a potato research agronomist. Francisco hopes to be able to purchase land and build a house out of town with his wife, where they are able to raise animals and grow crops.

RADS_BioPic_ZoieZoie Lopez
Major: Ph.D. in Plant Biology
Department: Biology
Research Interests: Cooperation between plants and beneficial soil microbes; how soil constitution (biotic and abiotic) influences plant trait expression and plant community dynamics; and how genetic differences within a species confer susceptibility or resistance to stressors amongst plant ecotypes, especially considering plant-microbe mutualisms.
More About Zoie: I am a first year Plant Biology Ph.D. student studying the evolutionary and ecological shifts in the legume-rhizobium symbiosis during biological invasions. I received my undergraduate degree in Biology from UC Davis. Over the course of my studies I have worked on determining plant genetic variation through greenhouse common garden experiments, I investigated the genetic basis of stress tolerance in Arabidopsis, and I completed a summer REU project at the Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory looking at evolutionary responses to climate change in high elevation plants. After graduating, I became involved in the legume-rhizobium study system as Dr. Stephanie Porter’s research technician, and I am excited to continue working in her lab as a graduate student. When I am not studying I enjoy hiking, playing my viola, and slack lining. I also have a BA in English from the University of California, Davis.

Noe GomezNoe Gomez
Major: Ph.D. in Animal Science
Department: Animal Science
Research Interests: Biochemical and Molecular Nutrition as seen in Livestock Production
More About Noe: First off, no, I don’t own a pet cow (only Fall 2016 RADS will understand this). However, that doesn’t mean that I refrain from bovine-inclusive activities! Although I was raised a beach-bum on the scenic coastlines of the State of California, the majority of the past couple years in college have been spent debating whether it will be a “boot or sandal” day.At WSU, my research will focus on nutrigenomics – the study of how a diet can influence gene expression. In particular, I will study how different diets affect livestock growth and their eventual incorporation into the food market. With the world’s population growing at an increasing rate, I hope to contribute to this field of agriculture by one day joining faculty ranks at a university where I can continue researching and teaching in the field of animal sciences. Go Cougs!

lamonica-harrisonLamonica Harrison
Major: Ph.D. in Criminal Justice & Criminology
Department: Criminal Justice & Criminology
Research Interests: The effects of adverse childhood experiences and its correlation with different types of heinous crimes. The effects of social media on law enforcement and social separation.
More About Lamonica: Lamonica Harrison is originally from Hampton, Virginia, but recently moved to Washington State from Prince Georges County, Maryland. Inspired by her desire for change and new experiences, she decided to take the leap to the west coast to get started on her new journey and dream to earn her doctoral degree. Lamonica has a bachelor’s in Criminal Justice with a minor in Psychology and a Master’s in Forensic Psychology. Her passion for both fields lead her to many questions about the justice system and thought processes as a society. She is a curious person which works well with her ability to adjust to changing circumstances and new environments. Lamonica loves the outdoors and embarking on new ventures as she brings warm welcomes from the east coast.

a student poses with his trombone

Richard Owens (King Rich)
Major: Jazz Studies Instrumentation: Trombone
Department: Kimbrough School of Music
Research Interests: Ethnomusicology (West African and American Jazz Infused)
More About Richard: Born October 16th, 1983. He hails from Chicago, IL where jazz music surfaces the streets. Rich’s first music class was from his grandfather George D. Johnson, a jazz pianist. Young Richard joined the District 152 band program in the fourth grade were his interest were drums but the directors demanded him to play trombone. He attended Thornton Township High School and discovered jazz trombonist J.J. Johnson, whom gave him the vision to become a jazz musician. King Rich’s trombone style is influenced by many jazz musicians with whom he shared the stage with Jazz legends such as Frank Foster, Frank West, Barrie Lee Hall Jr., Joe Sample, Orbit Davis, Von Freeman, Kurt Elling, Buddy Guy, Femi Kuti, Sean Jones and Jon Faddis Bill Watrous. After completing his Bachelor’s degree from Texas Southern University in 2015 He was accepted into the Washington State University Kimbrough School Music to study his master’s in Jazz Studies. Richard really enjoys performing on Trombone with many different bands and genres.

Ta’Boris Osborne
Jose Razo
Oscar Martinez
Christina Louie
Kalina Ebling
Megan Brendal

2015-16 Cohort


WSU RADS student Ashley Faytol and her dog Neech

Ashley Faytol
Major: Ph.D. Counseling Psychology
Department: Counseling Psychology
Research Interests: Chicana spirituality & healing
More About Ashley: As the youngest of five and a first generation college student, I did not believe that graduate school was an option for me until I became involved with the McNair Scholars program through California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, where I completed a dual major bachelor’s degree in psychology and gender, ethnic, & multicultural studies. Afterward, I immediately went on to receive my master’s degree in counseling through California State University, Fullerton. However, after completing a thesis focusing on male victims of intimate partner violence, I decided to take time away from school. During that time, I worked for a child protection agency and provided individual and group counseling for victims of intimate partner violence and their families. Although I was inspired on a daily basis by my clients, I felt that something was missing from my life and decided to apply for doctoral programs, not fully believing that I would successfully gain admission. Fast forward to today and I just finished the first year of my counseling psychology doctoral program! I guess anything really can happen!

WSU RADS student Katherine Hirchak

Katherine Hirchak
Major: Ph.D. Prevention Science
Department: Human Development
Research Interests: The prevention and treatment of substance use disorders among American Indian/Alaska Native peoples.
More About Katherine: I am a federally recognized direct descendant of the Eastern Shoshone Tribe located on the Wind River Indian Reservation in central Wyoming. My passion is in promoting the health and well-being of Indigenous peoples mainly through effective health policy and translational research. I am obsessed with cats, love nature walks, and am not embarrassed to admit that I am a “heavy” podcast user. Proud to belong to the Yellow Bangs Clan, everyday I work to carry on the dreams of my ancestors in support of current and future generations. Who-wee-hoo.

WSU RADS student Jessica Ortiz

Jessica Ortiz
Major: Ph.D. Molecular Plant Science (MPS)
Department: Crops and Soil Sciences (CSS)
Research Interests: Studying biochemical pathways in order to develop genetically improved crops. To develop improved plant varieties using genetic engineering, which involves manipulating the plant’s genes through techniques of modern molecular biology.
More About Jessica: I earned a B.S. in Biochemistry from the University of California, Riverside in 2011. My undergraduate research involved the development of a morphological and molecular key for the classification of several species of Orasema (Hymenoptera: Eucharitidae) so they can be more accurately identified for potential use in biological control efforts against fire ants. I earned a M.S. in Biochemistry from the California State University, Los Angeles in 2015. I worked on identifying T-DNA insertion sites in A. thaliana transgenic lines via TAIL-PCR and performed targeted mutagenesis in A. thaliana and O. sativa using CRISPR-Cas system.

Graduate Student Brianne Posey

Brianne Posey
Major: Ph.D. in Criminal Justice and Criminology
Department: Criminal Justice and Criminology
Research Interests: Violence in society; juvenile justice, issues in medico-legal science and corrections
More About Brianne: I was originally born and raised in Denver, Colorado. Although I am a Colorado native, I have never been skiing or snowboarding. I am a huge comic, star wars, and horror movie nerd. I love the beach but I am terrified of open water. I love food and am somewhat of a food snob, but my cooking skills are mediocre. In my spare time I volunteer with the Office of Violence Prevention on campus as a peer educator, Green Dot student facilitator, and office maintenance support. I’m a vegetarian (since January 2016). I love classical music, plays, going to the ballet, roller-coasters, and working hard to prevent violence on WSU’s campus, as well as in society. I aspire to be a professor and researcher/ academic.

Graduate Student Naomi Wallace

Naomi Wallace
Major: Ph.D. in Neuroscience
Department: Integrative Physiology and Neuroscience
Research Interests: Circadian Rhythms, Development
More About Naomi: Naomi graduated with a BS in Psychology and a concentration in Cognitive Neuroscience in 2015 from the University of Denver. During her undergraduate studies, she worked in the Family and Child Neuroscience Lab studying sleep and its relationship to the socioeconomic mental health gradient in 8-10-year-old children. In her free time, Naomi enjoys traveling, cooking, and playing the saxophone.



Kerry Francis
Danielle Guzman

Nalee Moua
Kelly Nguyen
Bojana Opacic
Victoria Ortega

Carly Prior
Emiliano Reed
Joseph Taylor
Breanna Wong

2014-15 Cohort


Priyanka Bushana, WSU ARCS student

Priyanka Bushana
Major: Neuroscience
Department: Integrative Physiology and Neuroscience (Veterinary Medicine)
Research Interests: Sleep, Metabolism.
More About Pri: “Pri” earned her bachelor’s degree in 2012 in Information Systems and Biological Sciences from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County where she participated in the CWIT (Center for Women and Information Technology) and the Honors College. After graduating, she worked at Northrop Grumman, then participated in an ORISE Fellowship with the Food and Drug Administration, where she worked to validate the nematode C. elegans as a neurotoxicological model. In her free time, she has become involved in volunteering at the Mobius Science Center and Children’s Museum in Spokane. She also has played rugby for the past 7 years, and has continued to play with the Spokane Women’s Rugby Club.

WSU RADS student Ruby Kim

Ruby Kim
Major: American Studies Program
Department: Critical Culture, Gender, and Race Studies (CCGRS)
Research Interests: Postcolonial feminist theory, queer theory, specifically interested in sexual violence against Korean comfort woman and camptown women, and U.S. – South Korea relations

More About Ruby: Ruby received her B.A. in English with high distinction from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX. She achieved two minors in Psychology and Women’s and Gender Studies, thus spurring her interest in the interdisciplinary field of American Studies. During her first year, she presented at four national conferences. This past fall, she presented on a trans panel at the 2015 National Women’s Studies Association in Milwaukee, WI. Her master’s thesis addresses the tensions between the U.S.-ROK alliance, and the commodification of Korean culture, particularly sex workers and LGBT Koreans, as one of the culminating effects of American imperialism and occupation in South Korea. A self-proclaimed nerd of television shows with smart writing and an obsessed Parks and Recreation fan, Korean cinema, all-things-that-are musicals, and of course, any fictional novel with a ferociously feminist protagonist. In Spring 2016, Ruby will receive her master’s degree in American Studies from Washington State University.

Allen, Phill
Anguiano, Carlos
Ricardo Duvil
Paige Lesperance
Lucia Soriano
Riane Stene
Berlin Sudduth
Cynthia Zavala

2013-14 Cohort


WSU RADS student Zachary Cartwright

Zachary Cartwright
Major: Ph.D. Candidate Food Science
Department: School of Food Science
Research Interests: Wine Microbiology and Processing
More About Zachery: He was born and raised in Albuquerque, NM. After receiving his BS in Biochemistry with top honors from New Mexico State University, he traveled to Pullman, WA to study viticulture, enology, and food science. When he is not in the laboratory researching wine microorganisms, you can find him DJing at Stubblefields under the name DJ Grape Vinyl.


Estela Arciniega
Zachary Cartwright
James De Los Santos
William Dupree
Jhoana Duran
Miriam Fernandez
Kristle Figueroa
Nicholas Gailey
Kathy Helling
Jessica Higginbotham
Andrew Iverson
Shantel Martinez
Roxanne Moore
Prashant Pokhrel
Michael Pope
Melissa Rioseco
Ezana Taddese
Peiyu Tan

2012-13 Cohort


WSU RADS student Shao Yeh Lu

Shao Yeh Lu
Major: Ph.D. Candidate Immunology and Infectious Diseases (ID)
Department: Paul G. Allen School for Global Animal Health
Research Interests: Antimicrobial peptides, bacteriocin, colicin, microcin, antimicrobial resistance
More About Shao: Born in Taiwan and a first generation American/Washingtonian, Shao-Yeh obtained his Bachelor of Science in chemistry with specialization in biochemistry from Central Washington University. At WSU, his research focuses on understanding the regulation, inhibition, and self-immunity of microcin (MccPDI), an antimicrobial peptide, that is known to inhibit foodborne pathogens such as E. coli O157:H7. In addition, he is also interested in mechanisms of antimicrobial resistance associated with the use of antibiotics. He is an NIH Protein Biotechnology Training Program trainee and also an Achievement Rewards for College Scientists (ARCS) fellow. In his spare time, he likes to explore the beauty of the Pacific Northwest with a camera. Prior to becoming a scientist, he worked in banking with a Bachelor of Arts degree in economics from the University of Washington

Casey Clark
Kristle Figueroa
Katherine Flores
Zulema Garcia
Alexander Little
Rebecca Long

Annita Lucchesi
Yvonne Manning
Lindsey Marco
Caitlyn McNabb
Manee Moua
Debra O’Connell
Natalie Peer
Chrystal Quisenberry
Heather Reyes
Kaeli Rivera

2011-12 Cohort

Jessica Beaver
Judith Card
Emily Davenport
Michael Gonzalez
Chris Lundholm
Desiree Mendes
Kathryn Mirales
Adrienne Muldrow
Damian Ramiraz
Leslie Randall
Joshua Smith
Deborah Tamakloe
Jasmine Villanueva
Dominique Worthen
Jennifer Williams