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Washington State University Graduate School

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).

2016-17 ARCS Scholars


ARCS Scholar Lori BedientLori Bedient is a 1st year veterinary medical resident in the combined anatomic pathology/Ph.D. program at Washington State University. She received her B.S. in agriculture and D.V.M. at Kansas State University. While a veterinary student, Dr. Bedient had the opportunity to attend Aquamed, an intensive aquatic pathobiology program at Louisiana State University. Here she found a deep passion for both cultured and wild aquatic health issues. After graduation, she practiced small animal medicine for three years before returning to academia. She is most interested in opportunities in aquatic pathology and toxicological research and hopes to teach pathology after finishing her residency. She is a U.S. Army veteran, serving as a nurse in Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan and numerous stateside and overseas assignments. She and her husband have two little girls that keep her busy in her spare time.

ARCS Scholar Jacob Bray headshotJacob Bray is a 1st year Chemical Engineering Ph.D. student at Washington State University under the guidance of Dr. Jean-Sabin McEwen. In this program, he will be focusing on catalysis research. In 2013, Jake graduated from Michigan Technological University (MTU) with a degree in chemical engineering. During his time at Michigan Tech he spent 15 months in Kentucky as a process engineering co-op for Domtar Paper Company. Jake is also the co-founder of a start-up alternative agriculture company, Northern Aquaponics LLC, which won the best technology award of $10,000 at Central Michigan University’s New Venture Competition in 2013. Following graduation, Jake began his career as a chemical engineer for the mid-western utility company, We Energies, working as the subject matter expert for all of the We Energies power generation assets in areas such as air quality control, waste water treatment, and various process and project operations. Jake married Maria, his fiancée of six years, this past September in their hometown of Marquette, Michigan. They enjoy spending time with their two dogs, Maple and Lentil, adventuring outdoors, and have a passion for coffee and coffee roasting, good breweries, spicy foods, and long road trips.

ARCS Scholar Jonathan Eagle posing with two crabs in his handJonathan Eagle is a 1st year Ph.D. student in plant pathology, interested in researching disease resistance and integrated disease management using cultural, chemical, biological, and biotechnological approaches. Jonathan earned his B.S. in biology at Henderson State University, where he was a member of the Honors College, a student leader, and an office assistant for the College. He served as president of the Biology Club, was president of the Henderson Honors College Heart and Key Service Organization, and was an active member of the Student Government Association. He is also a member of Beta Beta Beta, the Biological Honors Society as well as Gamma Beta Phi International Society. In 2014, Jonathan worked in in the laboratory of Dr. Javier Brumos at North Carolina State University as part of an NSF funded REU program, where he studied the regulation of auxin biosynthesis, examining specifically the effects of either activating or repressing selected transcription factor on the activity of the master auxin biosynthetic gene TAA1. Following his research, Jonathan presented at the Summer Undergraduate Symposium at NCSU. The summer of 2015, Jonathan traveled to Belize to conduct fieldwork on marine conservation and ecology as a member of the Undergraduate Teaching Assistant Program at Henderson.

ARCS Scholar Rachel Gewiss playing the violin outsideRachel L. Gewiss is a 1st year Ph.D. student in the School of Molecular Biosciences at Washington State University, with plans to study reproductive biology. Rachel earned her bachelor’s of science in genetics, cell biology, and development from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities. A large part of her education there was doing research in Dr. David Zarkower’s laboratory for three years. Her senior thesis encapsulated her work on the potential role of Sox9 in sexual transdifferentiation of the mouse ovary. Rachel also spent a summer working at the Jackson Laboratory through their Summer Student Program in 2015, where she looked at the molecular role of RNA-modifying enzymes in the testis under the guidance of Dr. Robert Braun. After completion of her Ph.D., Rachel plans to continue research in academia in the reproductive biology field. Outside of the laboratory, Rachel is an avid curler, and was part of the 2013 University of Minnesota team that won the College Curling Nationals. She was also the Journal Club facilitator for the Genetics, Cell Biology, and Development Club. Rachel loves spending time in nature, playing the viola, and going to petting zoos.

ARCS Scholar Noe Gomez holding a lamb on a farmNoe Gomez is a 1st year Ph.D. student in the Department of Animal Sciences at WSU. Originally from Santa Barbara, California, Noe went on to earn a B.S. in animal science with a minor in biology from the California Polytechnic State University at San Luis Obispo in 2014. He then relocated to the University of California, Davis, were he conducted research in the area of ruminant physiology and completed an M.S. in animal biology in 2016. At WSU, Noe will be working in the laboratory of Dr. Min Du conducting research in the area of nutrient metabolism. After his Ph.D., Noe hopes to get some experience as a livestock nutritionist before returning to teach and conduct research at the university level. His primary objective is to contribute to the field of science, which seeks to improve the efficiency of food production along with teaching the next generation of agricultural scientists. When not in the lab or covered in cow manure, Noe enjoys competitive volleyball games, long runs across the Palouse, and guitar jam sessions with his musically talented friends.

ARCS James Hepler kneeling down next to a plantJames R. Hepler is a 1st year Ph.D. student in the Department of Entomology under the supervision of Dr. Elizabeth Beers. His research focuses on integrated pest management for the brown marmorated stinkbug, an invasive insect pest of deciduous tree fruits. James graduated from the University of California, Riverside, where he earned his bachelor’s of science in entomology and plant biology. As part of his University Honors thesis he conducted two years of research into the reproductive behaviors of the carob moth, a pest of dates, under the direction of Dr. Thomas M. Perring. After earning his Ph.D, James intends to become a professor of entomology to combine his enthusiasm for agricultural pest research with his desire to teach others. James is active in his church’s college ministry and served as the president of The Well Christian Club at UC Riverside during his senior year. He is an avid long-distance runner, and enjoys traditional archery, hiking, and caring for his backyard citrus and pomegranate trees in Riverside, California.

ARCS Scholar Benjamin Lee posing with a book open in the libraryBenjamin W. Lee is a 1st year Ph.D. student working under Dr. David Crowder in the Department of Entomology. He investigates how patterns of landscape and climate can affect the distribution and spread of insect pests and plant pathogens in agricultural fields. Ben earned a bachelor’s of science in entomology at Cornell University in the spring of 2016. While at Cornell, he conducted research on the physiology and ecology of the native and invasive lady beetles of New York State, resulting in the publication of his senior thesis. After graduate school, Ben would like to use his knowledge of agricultural and landscape ecology to improve subsistence farming in developing countries. He is a strong proponent of supporting local foods and farmers, and is a wine enthusiast who hopes to someday receive a master sommelier certification.

ARCS Scholar Becky Lee posing in Nurse scrubs holding a puppyBecky H. Lee is a 1st year Anatomic Pathology Residency/PhD student in the Department of Veterinary Pathology and Microbiology at Washington State University. Becky recently graduated from a 4-year veterinary medicine program and received her Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine from the University of California, Davis. Using the summer during her vigorous veterinary school training, Becky completed research projects involving sequencing genomes and identifying genetic markers as therapeutic targets. Her most recent work with the T35 NIH Program at Stanford University is currently in the process of being published, and exemplifies comparative medicine in applying human medical therapies to animal disease. Upon starting at WSU, Becky hopes to find a research environment that can further expand her interests in comparative medicine and pathology. As extracurricular at UC Davis, Becky continued to develop her passion for shelter animals, and was an avid participant of fostering neonatal kittens and a Chihuahua rescue program. She enjoys outdoor adventures such as hiking, and is a novice photographer with her husband and animal family. She also enjoys at-home activities such as cooking and fiber art.

ARCS Scholar Jenna Murray posing with goat on green grassJenna Murray is a 1st year Ph.D. student in immunology and infectious diseases. She holds a B.S. in molecular biology from the University of Nevada Reno and a B.A. in religious studies from the University of South Carolina. Jenna has a strong understanding of current medical microbiology and laboratory methods as well as the fundamentals of microbial genomics. With this knowledge, she will be able to address current research studies on molecular mechanisms underlying microbial growth, genetics, genomics, and pathogenesis. Her extra-curricular activities as an undergraduate student include working in a neuroscience laboratory to study the consumption of ethanol in mice and working as a certified pharmacy technician.

ARCS Scholar Alexander Olson holding an baby CrocodileAlexander H. Olson is a 1st year Ph.D. student in the Department of Molecular Biosciences and a part of the National Institute of Health Biotechnology Training program. He will be working with Dr. Helmut Kirchoff and Dr. Mark Lange to study photosynthetic membranes and terpenoids, respectively. Alexander graduated with his bachelor’s of science in Environmental Science at the University of Wisconsin – Stout. While he was there he worked with Dr. Vande Linde on developing new methods for preventing the uptake of the heavy metal cadmium in crops. After obtaining his Ph.D., Alexander plans on pursuing research in plant molecular structure. While working on his bachelor’s, Alexander worked as a chemistry tutor, naturalist educator, and teaching assistant. He has a deep passion for teaching others about what he’s learned and helping them find success in their own lives. He also enjoys spending time outdoors, playing board games, and traveling.

ARCS Scholar Nikayla Strauss selfie in a cavernMikayla M. Strauss is a 1st year Ph.D. student in the Department of Crop and Soil Sciences under the supervision of Dr. Kim Campbell and Dr. Arron Carter. She will be working with high throughput phenotyping in winter wheat. Nikayla received her bachelor’s degree in Soil and Crop Sciences with a concentration in plant genetics, breeding, and biotechnology from Colorado State University. During her time at CSU, she worked for the winter wheat breeding program under Dr. Scott Haley and was awarded the Triticeae Coordinated Agriculture Project grant for undergraduate research. With this grant, she developed a KASP marker assay for a novel trait in winter wheat, and also presented this research in the undergraduate research competition at the SASES national meetings. Also while at CSU, Nikayla was president of the Agronomy Club for two years. After completing her Ph.D., Nikayla hopes to become a cereal grain breeder. In her free time Nikayla enjoys hiking, backpacking, shooting, fishing, snowshoeing, and dancing.

ARCS Scholar Kaitlin WitherellKaitlin Witherell is a 1st year Ph.D student in the Department of Immunology and Infectious Disease. She will be doing rotations in three laboratories for the first year and then select from one of those to begin her research project. She has a bachelor of science degree in Microbiology from the University of California Davis. While there, she worked at the University of California Davis Comparative Pathology Laboratory identifying microbes, particularly pathogenic microbes in a variety of submitted research animals including: fish, mice, rats, rabbits, and many others. For one summer she was a student lab assistant in a neurobiology laboratory. She also conducted research for two summers as an intern at Biolog Inc. After completing her Ph.D., Kaitlin would like to eventually run a microbiology laboratory in industry studying infectious disease. Outside of school, Kaitlin enjoys hiking, kayaking, jogging, baking, and spending time with friends and family.

2015-16 ARCS Scholars

Tara Burke LewisTara Burke Lewis is a first-year 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).”
Christal ClementsChristal R. Clements is currently a first-year 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
Rachel DeTarRachael DeTar is a first-year 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.
Matt MarcecMatt Marcec is a first-year 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.
Ryan OliveiraRyan Oliveira is a first-year 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.
Nick PokorynskiNicholas (Nick) D. Pokorzynski is a first-year 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.
Joseph TaylorJoseph M. Taylor is a first-year 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.
Jenny VossJenny M. Voss is a first-year 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.
Naomi WallaceNaomi K. Wallace is beginning her PhD 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.
Chemical Engineering student Breanna Wong working in the lab for a Annual Giving letter
Chemical Engineering student Breanna Wong working in the lab for a Annual Giving letter
Breanna Wong is a first-year 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 WongJessica K. Wong is a first-year 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.

2014-15 ARCS Scholars

Liam Eugene Broughton-Neiswanger
Liam is combining the Ph.D. and anatomic pathology residency program in the Department of Veterinary Microbiology and Pathology at Washington State University. His research interests are in zoonotic and infectious diseases. He received his bachelor’s degree in microbiology and a master’s degree in veterinary virology studying a sheep virus related to HIV. During his master’s work, Liam realized that he wanted to pursue education in veterinary medicine to combine that knowledge with his research background, and in 2014 he received his D.V.M. from Washington State University. After Liam completes his Ph.D., he would like to obtain a research position at a university to help train the next generation of veterinarians.
Bushana N. Piryanka
"Pri" is a first-year Ph.D. student in the Department of Integrative Physiology and Neuroscience at Washington State University. She will be focusing on circadian rhythms and sleep in her dissertation project. She earned her bachelor’s degree in 2012 in Information Systems and Biological Sciences from the University of Maryland. There, she participated in the CWIT (Center for Women and Information Technology) and the Honors College. After graduating, she worked at Northrop Grumman Corporation on the HITECH project, which implements mandatory Electronic Health Record systems in Medicare- and Medicaid-funded medical practices. She has since gone on to participate in a one-year ORISE Fellowship with the Food and Drug Administration, where she is working with validating the nematode C. elegans as a neurotoxicological model. Her work involves developing novel toxicity assays that will help support the “3 Rs” of toxicology research: reduce, refine, and replace tests using animals.
Gregory B. Collinge
Gregory is a first-year Ph.D. student in the Voiland School of Chemical and Bioengineering at Washington State University. He works under the guidance and supervision of Dr. Jean-Sabin McEwen to model catalyzed reaction phenomena using quantum mechanical and density functional theory calculations. He earned his B.S. in Chemical Engineering from Washington State University. Upon completion of his Ph.D., he wants to enter academia as a professor and continue his research, broadening the scope to include the creation of new theories of chemical and transport phenomena. Gregory likes to learn as much as possible about math and science in his spare time, often spending hours experimenting with advanced math for nothing but the pleasure of doing so.
Seanna L. Hewitt
Seanna is a first-year Ph.D. student in the Molecular Plant Sciences program at Washington State University. She will be doing rotations this year and hopes to settle in a lab in which the research is directed towards crop improvement and sustainable agriculture. Seanna earned a B.S. in Biology and B.A. in Hispanic Studies at Pacific Lutheran University. In addition to her undergraduate coursework, she participated in several years of chloroplast genomics research and interned abroad at a nature institute in Oaxaca, Mexico, where she studied social perceptions of the Oaxacan water crisis. After she completes her Ph.D., she wants to work in academia for a while before eventually pursuing a career in industry.
Jeffrey M. Hoyt
Jeffrey recently completed his undergraduate education at Drake University with a B.S. in neuroscience and a B.A. in philosophy and writing. He investigated the expression of immediate early genes as indicators of neural activity in fruit flies, and used these findings to study the effects of deficient environments on sensory system function. Jeff is eager to begin as a Ph.D. student in Integrative Physiology and Neuroscience at Washington State University. He plans to study developmental neurobiology and the neural basis of audition and communication. After Jeff completes his Ph.D., he aspires to remain in academia as a research scientist and professor, where he may continue to investigate the formation, structure, and function of cells and circuitry involved in the sensation of complex auditory stimuli, as well as the effects of genetics, the environment, and the interactions between them on neural development and plasticity.
Nicholas R. Jaegers
Nick is a graduate of Iowa State University with a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering. He is a first-year student at Washington State University pursuing a Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering. His passion for renewable bioenergy sources has prompted him to pursue a graduate degree to enhance his research opportunities in the field. Nick has completed three different internship opportunities, two in the field of energy. Upon graduation, Nick intends to continue this research in academia, government, or industry.
Kruse, EricaErica Kruse
Erica is a first-year Ph.D. student in the Molecular Plant Sciences program at Washington State University, where she will be investigating pathogen resistance in wheat. Erica earned her bachelor’s degree in genetics at Rutgers University, where she also completed a minor in plant sciences. Inserting her love of genetics into agriculture fulfills her wish to combine lab and field work and provides her a route upon which to experience industry, which she plans to do after achieving her Ph.D.
Alisha T. Massa
Alisha is a first-year combined resident and Ph.D. student in the Department of Veterinary Microbiology and Pathology at Washington State University, working toward her eligibility for board certification in the American College of Veterinary Pathologists. Her research will be in immunology and infectious disease with a desire to study viruses or antimicrobial resistance. Alisha earned her D.V.M. and bachelor’s degree in microbiology from Michigan State University. During her clinical studies, she visited several schools for anatomic pathology externships including Washington State University, North Carolina State University, University of Georgia, and Texas A&M. After completion of her combined program she hopes to work in academia due to her love of teaching, or in the pharmaceutical industry as a pathologist.
Jessica McCrea
Jessica is in a combined veterinary microbiology residency/Ph.D. program at Washington State University. She is interested in pursuing research focused on infectious and zoonotic disease at the human/livestock/wildlife interface. She earned her D.V.M. from Colorado State University in 2010. After that, she completed a one-year small animal rotating internship at VCA Veterinary Specialists of Northern Colorado in Loveland, CO. She then worked for three years as an associate veterinarian in small animal general practice in Colorado and Washington before deciding to pursue a career change towards infectious disease research. After completing her residency/Ph.D., Jessica hopes to continue in academia or gain a position in a non‐governmental organization.
Brigid Meints
Brigid is a first-year Ph.D. student in the Department of Crop and Soil Sciences under the direction of Dr. Stephen Jones at the Mount Vernon Northwestern Research and Extension Center of Washington State University. Her research focuses on breeding and testing small grains and dry beans for Northwestern Washington. Brigid earned her M.S. from Oregon State University in Crop Science with a focus in Plant Breeding and Genetics, where she worked in breeding new food barley varieties and characterizing them for quality traits. After she completes her Ph.D., Brigid wants to stay in academia, either as a research/faculty member or in extension, focusing on breeding food crops for regional needs.
Robert Orpet
Robert is a first-year Ph.D. student in the Department of Entomology at Washington State University. He received a B.S. in entomology from the University of Illinois and a M.S. from the University of Arizona. His interest lies primarily in applied entomology because he finds insects endlessly entertaining in their diverse ecology, behavior, and morphology. Robert would like to use what he learns about them to conduct scientific-based pest management that prevents environmental damage and other societal costs associated with conventional insecticide sprays. While studying under Drs. Dave Crowder and Vince Jones at Washington State University, Robert plans to investigate how woolly apple aphid pest density is affected by factors such as soil quality, nitrogen levels, insecticides, and natural enemies (beneficial insects that eat aphids) in organic and non-organic orchards.
Annie Pollard
Annie is a first-year Ph.D. student in the Department of Crop and Soil Sciences at Washington State University, studying soil microbe and metal interactions with Dr. Tarah Sullivan. During pursuit of her M.S. in soil science at the University of Idaho, she investigated biological control of pathogenic nematodes using soil fungi. She finished her M.S. with a review article on the fate of chemicals of emerging concern in dairy manure-amended soils. During her doctoral studies with Dr. Sullivan, she will be exploring the interaction between soil microbes and metals and their impacts on sustainable agriculture. Currently, she is conducting research for a pilot study on the role of soil microorganisms in iron chlorosis of vineyards.
Brittney Wager
Brittney is a first-year Ph.D. student in the interdisciplinary department of Molecular Plant Sciences at Washington State University. She joined Dr. Michael Knoblauch’s lab where she has the opportunity to research either the phytoremediation of radioactive strontium present in contaminated soil, or the biosynthesis, structural identification and modification of forisome proteins. Both of these projects are in collaboration with Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and involve the use of a dynamic transmission electron microscope. Brittney earned a B.S. in Biology from Salem State University in Massachusetts, where she was involved in ecological research on the effects of climate change on the leaf lifespan of evergreen trees and biochemical research on the action of adducin in the nuclei of Hela cells. After finishing her Ph.D., she would like to begin a career in research where she can continue her work with microscopy and molecular plant science.
Laura Beth Artz Williams
Laura is a first-year Ph.D. student and anatomic pathology resident in the Department of Veterinary Microbiology and Pathology under the supervision of Dr. Donald Knowles at Washington State University. She is investigating novel vaccine development strategies, focusing on Theileria parva, a devastating disease affecting cattle in Sub-Saharan Africa. Laura earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Northern Colorado in cellular and molecular biology, and continued on to receive her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from Washington State University. After completing her Ph.D., Laura would like to continue her career in academia focusing on infectious disease research, diagnostic pathology, and teaching future generations of veterinarians.


ARCS Scholars Archives