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Washington State University Graduate School

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