2023-2024 ARCS Scholars

Jeffery (Tanner) Badigian

Molecular Biosciences

Jeffery Badigian in a lab coat smiling for a picture.

Tanner received a bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry from the University of Idaho after 3.5 years of study. During that time, he performed 2 years of undergraduate research on antifungal killer toxins produced by yeast, encoded by dsRNA satellites, and their potential as a therapy for vaginal yeast infections. He loves his field of study because it taught him how different life forms interact with and infect each other, sometimes benefiting both organisms. Tanner wants to study the same types of interactions in plants and their pathogens. He hopes to eventually expand this research into something that can allow plants to survive more diverse traumatic events. He enjoys going for hikes and spending time in nature more than anything, and if he can work towards preserving that, he will. 

Julianna Gilson

Immunology and Infectious Diseases

Julianna Gilson posing for a picture in front of a greenhouse and plants.

Julianna received her BS in Biology at Simpson University and her MPH&TM at Tulane University. She has always been interested in patterns of infectious disease and how they interact with hosts to move through populations. Working for the Frank Lab at Tulane University, Julianna focused her interests on bats and developed a fascination for how the bat’s immune system interacts with viruses. In continuing her research in this field at WSU, she hopes to generate useful descriptions of bat host-viral interactions that will uncover mechanisms of zoonotic spillover. In her free time, you can find Julianna exploring National Parks, climbing mountains, and writing fiction.

Yongjun (Joseph) Kwon

Chemical Engineering

Yongjun Kwon posing for a picture.

Joseph received his undergraduate and Master of Philosophy degrees from the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. His interest in mitigating the ozone hole sparked his curiosity about global warming and the potential solutions to this environmental issue. In Professor Minhua Shao’s lab, Joseph synthesized thermal catalysts to increase the production of butanol from ethanol and tested electrocatalysts with a polymer coating to discover reaction pathways for carbon reduction. His research focuses on the synthesis of electrocatalysts that react with carbon dioxide to produce higher-value products like ethanol and ethylene. His passion for understanding and discovering new solutions to this topic is what motivates him to pursue a Ph.D. Joseph enjoys hiking, biking, and playing games with his friends and family.

Chloe Leach

Immunology and Infectious Diseases

Chloe Lean posing for a picture below a stairway.

Chloe received a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry from Smith College. She has researched novel drug treatment of lymphatic filariasis, and from this work has gained an increasing fascination with infectious disease research and drug development. Chloe looks forward to learning more about the pathogenesis of infectious diseases at WSU in the hopes to gain more insight into possible treatment methods. She hopes to continue drug development research in an industrial setting by examining the mechanisms pathogens employ to survive. Chloe loves to spend her free time playing guitar and exploring local nature.

Taydin Macron


Taydin Macron smiling in front of mountains and hills in the background.

Taydin received bachelor’s degrees in both Physics and Philosophy from Loyola Marymount University in the summer of 2021. His post-undergraduate career in clinical research coupled with a preexisting love of insects fueled his decision to pursue a PhD in Entomology. At WSU, he will be studying the stability of pollinator health for commercial agriculture, and his research aims include detailing the intricate relationships between growers, beekeepers, and honeybees along with exploring novel methods to better pollinator health within the industry. Taydin is eager to work with pollinators as well as conduct research contributing to sustainable agricultural practices. After completing his degree, he plans to either complete a postdoc or work in commercial beekeeping. In his free time, Taydin enjoys reading, writing poetry, and camping.

Alyssa Maine

Immunology and Infectious Diseases

Alyssa Main in a forest holding a bug and smiling.

Alyssa received her B.S. in Biology from Evangel University and her M.S. in Applied Ecology and Conservation Biology from Frostburg State University. A self-described Renaissance woman, Alyssa enjoys learning new skills and has worked in a variety of positions including optometric technician, Microbiology lab assistant, veterinary technician, phlebotomist, field research technician, and Immunological research assistant. Her research interests include vector-borne diseases, specifically tick-borne diseases. She appreciates the interdisciplinary approach to this particular field to tackle the issue of vector-borne disease using a One Health approach. Specifically, she is interested in the variation of how microbes interact with different species or individuals to cause disease in some but not others. She believes understanding these interactions can help prevent or treat disease to ultimately decrease suffering. Her goal is to have a career in academia as a researcher and professor. Outside of academics and work Alyssa enjoys outdoor activities with her beagle Ranger, weightlifting, spending time in local coffee shops, and baking.

Kaylie McCracken


Kylie McCracken smiling with the ocean in the background.

Kaylie received an interdisciplinary bachelor’s degree in chemistry-Environmental Studies from Whitman College in Walla Walla, WA. She conducted research that examined the kinetic pathways of nickel uptake in thin films, and she continued this work the year after graduation as a full-time researcher. Kaylie decided to attend graduate school to further her knowledge of chemistry and learn advanced analytical techniques. She is starting work with the Moreau Group this fall, where she will have the opportunity to work on a project that can benefit environmental remediation applications in radiochemistry. Kaylie loves being outdoors and loves to ski, hike, and camping with family and friends. 

Peter (Wes) Moughan

Crop and Soil Sciences

A black and white photo of Peter Moughan smiling.

Wes received two bachelor’s degrees from Brigham Young University, B.S. in Landscape Management and B.A. Portuguese Studies; as well as a M.S. in Plant Science from Utah State University. For Wes, early classes in crop pest management and plant health diagnostics soon developed into graduate research in invasive plant management. His research at Utah State University sought to further develop herbicide-based strategies for restoring degraded rangelands from invasive annual grasses. Currently, as a graduate student at WSU, he hopes to further his invasive plant science skills in the agricultural environment. He is passionate about working towards increasing plant growth and production, whether those be in wildland or farmland settings, and hopes to run a lab of his own in the near future. Wes loves fishing, writing, and spending time with his kids.

Caitlin Ottaway


Caitlin Ottaway smiling in front of a canal in a city.

Caitlin Ottaway was born and raised in Bellevue, Washington, after which she earned her bachelor’s degrees in neuroscience and psychology at Washington State University. She worked in human and animal research labs during her undergraduate degree and was a member of the Students Targeted Towards Advanced Research Studies program. She is specifically interested in continuing her neuroscience education by studying different disorders and influences related to neurological, psychiatric, and developmental disorders. In Caitlin’s free time, she enjoys working on mental health advocacy, spending time with her friends and family, kayaking, swimming, and doing art projects.

Karina Pastrana

Molecular Biosciences

Karina Pastrana smiling for a photo in front of plants.

Karina received a Bachelor of Science in cell and molecular biology from San Diego State University. Her research interests lie in immunology and regenerative medicine. As an undergraduate, she worked in a microbiology lab where she studied the gut microbiome of patients with inflammatory bowel disease. Afterward, she completed an internship at the University of California, San Diego where she used induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) to study nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. Karina refined her research interests to include research projects with translational potential. She is passionate about using research to uncover the molecular mechanisms of disease and aspires to become a senior scientist in the industry. Her dream is to contribute to the development of therapeutics for some of the major pressing health issues we face today. In her free time, Karina enjoys spending time with her loved ones, traveling, hiking, and camping.

Clare Riley


Claire Riley smiling and posing in front a tree.

Clare received Bachelor’s in both Chemistry and Vocal Performance from Pacific University. She has always been fascinated with the makeup of the objects that form the foundation of our world and universe. To this end, her prospective research is in inorganic chemistry, possibly in geochemistry or planetary geochemistry. She plans to continue in this vein in the future as a researcher. She is a musician, singing and playing the violin. She also enjoys knitting, sewing, and making origami. She also enjoys hiking and sailing. In her spare time, she fosters cats.

Mary Steele

Plant Pathology

Mary Steele smiling with a beach and ocean in the background.

Mary received a bachelor’s degree in biology and a master’s degree in agriculture from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, CA. She has always been passionate and curious about how life, plants, and microorganisms in particular, operate, and has found an intensely practical side of this through agriculture. Plant pathology has allowed Mary to ask complex questions about plant-microbe interactions that have crucial applications to our food supply. At Cal Poly she researched soilborne pathogens of strawberries, and at WSU she will be researching the gray mold of blueberries. She is excited to apply her plant pathology knowledge to climate-smart agricultural practices. Outside of the lab, Mary loves to be outdoors. She especially enjoys hiking, camping, and mountain biking. 

Brayden Young

Immunology and Infectious Diseases

Brayden Young in a kayak surrounded by water.

Brayden received a Bachelor of Science in Microbiology from San Diego State University. Inspired by his love for science podcasts and non-fiction novels, he seeks to understand the vast world of viruses. Brayden aims to enter this research field alongside the faculty and viral research community at Washington State University. His current research investigates the host-parasite interactions between Trichomonas vaginalis and the female reproductive tract. This research, alongside his health and community history, motivates him to better understand immunology and how infectious diseases impact human health. Brayden aims to become a professional researcher and aspires to become a professor of biology. Outside academia, Brayden is a rugby player,  long-distance runner, and video game coder.