Museum of Southwestern Biology

Undergraduate Opportunities Program
2007-2012

Museum of Southwestern Biology

The Museum of Southwestern Biology is a research and teaching facility in the Department of Biology at the University of New Mexico.

open weekdays 8am - 5pm
visitors welcome by appointment
information for visitors

phone: (505) 277-1360
fax: (505) 277-1351
museum administrator


CERIA

mailing:
Museum of Southwestern Biology
1 University of New Mexico
MSC03-2020
Albuquerque, NM 87131

shipping:
University of New Mexico
302 Yale Blvd NE
CERIA 83, Room 204
Albuquerque, NM, USA 87131

About the UnO Scholars

Abbie Reade was born in London, England. She joined the UnO program in Summer 2011. Abbie is very interested in biogeography, conservation and environmental remediation. Her UnO project was “Differences in body shape in a sympatric species flock of pupfish” and she was mentored by Astrid Kodric-Brown and Rhiannon West. Abbie did field work in the Bahamas with the Kodric-Brown lab for three weeks in May 2012 and participated in outreach activities through the UnO Roadshow and UNM’s Summer of Service Program (2012). She presented at 2 conferences. She graduated Spring 2013 with a BS in Biology completing an undergraduate degree in 5.5 years. Abbie received her Master’s degree in Zoology at Colorado State University in 2017.
currently: employed at Colorado State University, Biology Department
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Adeline Murthy was (Indian/Belgian) born in Houston, TX and joined the UnO program in Fall 2011. Adeline feels that conservation is one of the most socially and environmentally pertinent topics, and will be growing field in these upcoming years. She highly values the intrinsic aspects of nature and ecosystems, which is why she feels it is important to protect and understand them. Her UnO project was “The effects of urbanization on the composition of winter bird communities,” described as: Over the past 100 years, the United States has experienced a vast increase in urban development. In many temperate environments, urbanization can alter the availability of food for certain species during harsh winters. We investigated the effect that these pools of resources on winter bird communities using data from the Christmas Bird Count to see how community composition and species abundance changed with increasing density of human population in urban areas. She was mentored by James Brown and Trevor Fristoe. While in the UnO program, she has achieved University Honors, Biology Honors and studying abroad (Chile) Fall 2012. Other experiences and noteworthy accomplishments include Strategies for Ecology Education, Diversity and Sustainability of the ESA (SEEDS) co-president (2012). Adeline did leaf litter plots in Costa Rica March 2012 and conducted bird surveys in Bonanza Creek and Toolik LTERs, Alaska, June 2012. Additionally, she has presented at 2 conferences and co-published a paper on her project. She graduated Fall 2013 with a BS in Biology with a concentration in Conservation completing an undergraduate degree in 4.5 years. She received a Master’s degree from Oxford University (UK) and now works in environmental planning for an NGO in Santa Fe, NM.
currently: works in environmental planning for an NGO in Santa Fe, New Mexico
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Alyssa Begay is a Navajo female born in Killeen, Texas. She joined the UnO program in Summer 2010 and studied the horse hairworm. Her interests in biology are broad, but parasites have always been intriguing. Her UnO project is Relationship of gordiids from an international biodiversity hotspot, the Madrean Pine-Oak Woodland Sky Islands. She and her mentor (Dr. Ben Hanelt) published a paper on this topic. She graduated Fall 2013 with a BA in Native American Studies and minors in Navajo and Biology completing an undergraduate degree in 4.5 years. Alyssa participated in outreach activities through the UnO Road Show to Walatowa High (2010) and Rio Rancho High School (2012). She was nominated to apply for the Udall Scholarship, and Chief Manuelito scholar. She has attended 3 conferences, presented at 5 conferences, and has 1 paper.
currently: works in the private sector in Farmington, New Mexico
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Andrea Jackson is an African American female born in Anchorage, Alaska. She joined the UnO program in Fall 2010. Her UnO project was “The Effects of Large Migratory Herbivores on Annual Net Primary Productivity and Nutrient Availability Along Botswana’s Chobe-Linyanti-Zambezi Wetland”. She is mentored by Scott Collins and Kina Murphy. Andrea did 6 weeks of field work in Maun, Batswana, Africa, setting up vegetation plots with her graduate mentor, Kina Murphy. While in Africa, Andrea contributed to helping a neighboring village, Moreomaoto to help teach the community about the importance of the wildlife in the area and how they play a key role in the ecosystem. She graduated in Summer 2012 with a BS in Biology and a BA Spanish completing an undergraduate degree in 6 years. While at UNM, she earned New Mexico Lottery Scholarship, SIMES certificate, and African American Undergraduate Success Certificate. She is currently employed in the private sector.
currently: employed in the private sector
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Angelica Swanson was born in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Her UnO project is “Molecular evolution of freeze tolerance in amphibians”. She was mentored by Joe Cook and Jolene Rearick. She graduated Fall 2013 with a BS in Biology with an ecology focus with a Chemistry minor completing an undergraduate degree in 4 years. While in the UnO program, she has achieved University Honors and studied abroad (Nicaragua) in Summer 2012. Angie participated in outreach activities through the UnO Road Show to Highland High (2011) and Belen High School (2012), participated in the Junior Science Outreach Camp (2011), and appeared on KUNM public radio's Children's Hour (2012). Additionally, she has earned Wood Clements Scholarship, and was nominated for the Goldwater Scholarship. She has presented at 2 conferences.
currently: in a Master’s degree program in Biology at New Mexico State University
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April Chavez is a Hispanic female born in Albuquerque, NM. She joined the UnO program in Spring 2011. April's interests in Biology are conservation education, biodiversity, marine bio, and animal behavior. Her UnO project is “Taming of the Dusky Shrew: An Attempt to Structure a Cryptic Species,” described as: Every species, no matter how “charismatically challenged” has a story to tell. For the Dusky Shrew, Sorex monticolus, classification is unclear, insufficient, and may contain hidden species’. Her project explores whether Sorex monticolus contains cryptic species. She was mentored by Joe Cook and Yadeeh Sawyer. While in the UnO program, she participated in a summer study abroad program to Veracruz, MX for an anthropology course, August 2010. Other experiences and noteworthy accomplishments include Biology Undergraduate Society Secretary (2011-2012) and Fundraising Chair (2012-2013). April participated in a mammal field work in October 2011, near Mt. Taylor/Grants NM. April participated in outreach activities through the Uno Road Show to Santa Fe Indian School (2011), Highland High (2011), Belen High School (2012), and UNM’s Summer of Service Program (2012). She guided a nature hike for Truman Middle School (2011) and participated in the Junior Science Outreach Camp (2011). April also appeared on KUNM public radio's Children's Hour (2011) and spoke to 21th Century Charter School students about research and college (2011). Additionally, she has earned Joseph Gaudin Research Scholarship, and UNM Alumni Memorial Scholarship. She presented at 3 conferences. She graduated Fall 2013 with a BS in Biology with a chemistry minor completing an undergraduate degree in 4.5 years.
currently: a middle school teacher in Albuquerque, New Mexico
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Ashley Smiley is a Native American female born in Logan, Utah. She joined the UnO program in Summer 2010. Although Ashley is interested in various fields of biology, but ornithology is her favorite. She is studying Andean birds and the effects of elevation on cardiac morphology. As for a career, she hopes to one day use her knowledge to continue research and even teach at the university level. Her UnO project was “Effects of high-altitude hypoxia on cardiac morphology in Andean birds,” described as: House Wrens (Troglodytes aedon) and Rufous-collared Sparrows (Zonotrichia capensis) are two species of songbird found from sea level to high elevations in the Andean mountains of Peru. Because they are so widespread, investigating these species offers insight in adaptations to high elevation. Within these species, I am interested in how the heart morphology of muscle cells differs across an altitudinal gradient. Specifically, she is comparing nuclear density in cardiac myocytes of individuals within the same species. She was mentored by Chris Witt and Natalie Wright. While in the UnO program, she has done a Study Abroad (France) Fall 2011. Ashley has participated in multiple field work efforts, including a summer (2010) in Southeast Alaska for a collecting expedition with Division of Mammals at Museum of Southwestern Biology, and a summer (2011) Peru for a collecting expedition with Division of Birds at Museum of Southwestern Biology. Additionally, she has presented at 3 conferences. She graduated Spring 2013 with a BS in Biology completing an undergraduate degree in 5 years.
currently: in a doctoral program at UC Berkeley in Biology with Robert Dudley
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Diego Matek is a Hispanic male born in Metarie, Louisiana. He joined the UnO program in Summer 2010. While biology in general piques his interest, Diego was particularly partial towards community and organismal ecology. His UnO project was “A Survey of Hoplopleura arbicola and Neohamatopinus pacificus across Select Tamias Species”. He investigated chipmunks (Tamias) and their associated parasite. There are 23 species of chipmunks with two sucking lice and three pinworms species associated. Preliminary research shows lice DNA matches the nuclear DNA of chipmunks, but the sample size is still too small for results to be significant. Future research will be aimed at more genetic analyses of nuclear and mitochondrial DNA to elucidate information regarding possible coevolution of these hosts and parasites. He was mentored by Joe Cook and Kayce Bell. Diego taught English as a second language abroad for a year in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Then he will apply to vet school or graduate school. While in the UnO program, he achieved University Honors and participated in Study Abroad (Spain) 2010-2011. Diego participated in outreach activities through his appearance on KUNM public radio's Children's Hour (2012) and co-authored1 paper. Additionally, he has earned Presidential Scholarship, Lottery Scholarship, and Joseph Gaudin Research Scholarship. He graduated Spring 2012 with a BS in Biology completing an undergraduate degree in 5 years. He received his DVM from Colorado State University in 2017, receiving the American Animal Hospital Association Award.
currently: a veterinarian in Albuquerque, New Mexico
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Elizabeth (Lizzy) Stone was born in Charleston, SC. She joined the UnO program in Fall 2010. Lizzy's interests in biology are widespread but she is particularly fascinated by genetics and ecology. She studied the symbiotic relationship between the algae, Symbiodinium, and a specific species of Foraminifera. Her UnO project was “A comparison of Symbiodinium communities with in Marginapora vertebralis, its substrates, and the surrounding water,” She collected Foraminiferan samples from two locations around Lizard Island on the Great Barrier Reef of Australia. She sequenced several of foraminiferan-substrate-water groups from each location to identify the range of the clades to be found in the system. She was mentored by Ursula Shepherd and Justine Hall (at Emory University) and Christina Vesbach-Takacs. While in the UnO program, she has studied abroad (Spain) 2010-2011, and achieved University Honors, and Biology Honors. Lizzy participated in outreach activities through the UnO Roadshow and UNM’s Summer of Service Program (2012). Additionally, she has been nominated for the Goldwater scholarship, and earned Phi Beta Kappa, Phi Kappa Phi, and Regents travel grant. She has presented at 1 conference. She current;ly is employed in the private sector. She graduated in Spring 2013 with a BS in Biology with a minor in Chemistry completing an undergraduate degree in 5 years.
currently: a community education coordinator at Tilth Alliance in Seattle, Washington
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Jackson Sabol is a Hispanic male born in Tucson, AZ. He joined the UnO program in Fall 2010. Jackson is most interested in humans, particularly human bio-psychology. In other words, he is interested in the study of human behavior and the mind plus what molecular, genetic, or ecological factors influence the two. His UnO project was “Global distribution of Autism Spectrum Disorders as a result of pathogen/parasite stress,” He was mentored by Randy Thornhill and Kenneth Letendre. He has earned Presidential Scholarship, and Deans List. He has presented at 1 conference. He graduated Spring 2012 with a BS in Biology and a minor in Psychology completing an undergraduate degree in 5 years.
currently: a computer programmer (Full Stack Engineering Specialist) with Victorious SEO in San Francisco, California

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Jesse Trujillo is a Hispanic male born in La Junta, Colorado. He joined the UnO program in Fall 2009. Jess’ interest in biology began with studying the effects of habitat fragmentation on Herricka horrida (Canadian River Spiny Aster). Jess then became interested in water quality and started a research project using Pimephales promelas (Fathead minnow) as an indicator species of endocrine disruption by xenoestrogens released into river systems by wastewater treatment plants. Jess decided to continue his career in biology studying fish and traveled to Ghana, West Africa to study the biodiversity of freshwater and marine fishes in coastal wetlands. Currently Jess is researching the genetics of the endangered New Mexico native fish Meda fulgida. His UnO project is “A Measure of Genetic Variability of Meda fulgida Based on Microsatellite Allele Frequencies,” described as: Meda fulgida is a species of native fish now endemic to the Gila River in New Mexico, a tributary of the Colorado River., fulgida was listed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as a threatened species in 1986 after being extirpated from several rivers in New Mexico and Arizona. He was mentored by Tom Turner and Tyler Pilger. He expects to graduate Fall 2012 with a BS in Biology and a BA Evolutionary Anthropology. Other experiences and noteworthy accomplishments include Biology Undergraduate Society Vice President (2010-2011), President (2011-2012), and Outreach Director of Strategies for Ecology Education, Diversity and Sustainability of the ESA (SEEDS; 2012). Jesse has done fieldwork in the Gila River, Rio Grande, Otero Mesa, Colfax County NM, and Las Animas County CO. Jesse participated in outreach activities through the UnO Roadshow to Albuquerque High (2009), Sandia Prep (2010), Rio Grande High (2010), Walatowa High (2010), and Highland High (2011). Additionally, he has earned Best Student Poster at the Fisheries conference (DFC) in Moab Utah (2010. He has presented at 7 conferences.
currently: employed in the private sector
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Kelly Speer was born in Albuquerque, NM. She joined the UnO program in Fall 2008. Kelly studied the effects of climatic cycling during the late Pleistocene in mammals. Her UnO project is “Clarifying the Diversity of Mountain Voles (Genus Alticola) in Mongolia,” described as: Voles of the genus Alticola residing in central Asia remain phylogenetically cryptic. As central Asian countries, like Mongolia, continue to develop, it is important to have a supported phylogeny of Alticola to ensure proper conservation management and planning. She was mentored by Joe Cook and Brooks Kohli. While in the UnO program, she has achieved Study Abroad (Austria) 2010-2011, and Magna cum laude in Biology. Kelly participated in outreach activities through the UnO Roadshow to Santa Fe Indian School (2011) and UNM’s Summer of Service Program (2012). She presented at 6 conferences, has 1 paper published and another publication in preparation. She graduated Summer 2012 with a BS in Biology and a BA in Chemistry completing an undergraduate degree in 5 years. She subsequently obtained a Master’s degree at the University of Florida and a PhD through the American Museum of Natural History and CUNY.
currently: a postdoctoral associate at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington DC.
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Martha Jo "MJ" Vargas is a Hispanic female born in Santa Fe, NM. She joined the UnO program in Summer 2009. MJ’s UnO project was “Sharing science: A case study of the effects of science education outreach with elementary students ,” described as the effects of informal science education via the Junior Scientist Outreach Program, an annual science camp for 4th and 5th grade students in the South Valley of Albuquerque, will be studied in an effort to connect an increasing number of traditionally underrepresented people to more jobs in the medical and science fields by peaking their interest in science at a young age. Using a mixed methods approach, this study quantitatively and qualitatively assessed the outcomes of informal science education focused on sustainability and ecology. She was mentored by Diane Marshall and Allison Chatterjee (at Purdue University). While in the UnO program, she has achieved McNair Scholar, Study abroad Argentina (Spring 2009), Spain (Summer 2011), and Nicaragua (Summer 2012), Biology Honors, and University Honors (Summa Cum Laude). Other experiences and noteworthy accomplishments include Biology Undergraduate Society Vice President (2009-2010) and President (2010-2011). MJ did field work in 2009 through a biogeography field study in Argentina. Additionally, in 2009 and 2010, she worked with Dr. Diana Northup on Cave microbiology and did lots of field work there. MJ participated in outreach activities through the UnO Roadshow to Rio Grande High (2010). She also organized the Junior Science Outreach Camp (2011-2011), is now the Director of JSOP Board (2011-2012), and presented to National Parks Services (2010). Additionally, she has earned Golden Key Society, Cocalina Memorial Scholarship (2011), Rosalie Doolittle Memorial Scholarship (2011 & 2012), UNM Finalist for Rhodes and Marshall Scholarships (2011), Phi Kappa Phi, Phi Beta Kappa, National Society of Collegiate Scholars, Who's Who Amongst American Colleges and Universities (2012) , and Presidential Luminaria Award (2012). She has attended 2 conferences, and also presented at 7 other conferences. She graduated Summer 2012 with a BA in Biology and Spanish completing an undergraduate degree in 4 years.
currently: completing an MBA degree at UC San Diego in California
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Nathan Cournoyer is a Hispanic male born in Espanola, NM. He joined the UnO program in Summer 2011. Nathan is currently interested primarily in toxicology, specifically toxins created by infectious organisms within a host. His UnO project was “Seasonality of Infectious Diseases in the Pre-vaccine United States,” described as: Every year, millions of influenza inoculations are given in the United States in preparation for the upcoming flu season. This flu season is the time of year when people appear to be more susceptible to infection by the influenza virus. We have been able to observe this phenomenon but the mechanisms behind it remain unclear. He developed mechanistic and statistical models of intra- and inter-city disease dynamics based on case reports of infectious diseases such as influenza in pre-vaccine era United States cities. He was mentored by Helen Wearing and Christian Gunning. He graduated Spring 2013 with a BS in Biochemistry completing an undergraduate degree in 4 years. He has presented at 2 conference.
currently: in the Peace Corps
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Nick Homziak is from Ocean Springs, Mississippi. He joined the UnO program in Fall 2010. Nick is interested in conservation biology and the use of taxonomic knowledge of Lepidoptera to better protect and manage biodiversity. His UnO project is “Revision of the genus Heteranasssa Smith, (Erebidae; Catocalinae),” described as: I intend to clarify the relationships between the moths in the genus Heteranassa, as well as provide a summary the known natural history of the group. He was mentored by Kelly Miller and Heidi Hopkins. Nick has done field work at White Sands National Monument, New Mexico in August 2010, Tambopata Reserve, Peru in May 2011, Cuatrocienagas, Mexico in June 2011, Kazakhstan in July 2011, and Cuatrocienagas, Mexico in September 2011. Additionally, he has earned a nomination for the Goldwater scholarship, UNM National Scholars Scholarship, and UNM Amigo Scholarship. He has attended 2 conferences, and presented at 3 other conferences. He graduated Spring 2013 with a BS in Biology with a minor in Spanish completing an undergraduate degree in 4 years. He completed a Master’s Degree in the Entomology and Nematology Department at the University of Florida in 2016.
currently: in the PhD program at the University of Florida
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Randle McCain is an African American male born in Silver City, NM. He joined the UnO program in Fall 2007. Randle's current focus was in mammalogy, and his UnO project was “Building an archival observatory for a federally endangered species, the Mexican Grey Wolf,” described as: The Mexican grey wolf (Canis lupus baileyi) has suffered marked declines over the last century largely due to human persecution and eradication efforts. Few representatives of these organisms were historically archived in museums. Consequently, much of the critical information regarding natural history, taxonomic affinities, and fundamental biology were poorly recorded and preserved. He worked with the US Fish and Wildlife Service to process all materials associated with wolf reintroduction efforts, curate available archival materials, and summarize the research involving these specimens over the past century. He was mentored by Jon Dunnum and Jason Malaney. He expects to graduate Fall 2012 with a BS in Biology, completing an undergraduate degree in 7 years. He presented at 1 conference.
currently: a chemist in the private sector
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Steven (Kevin) McCormick is from Hobbs, NM. He joined the UnO program in Summer 2011. His UnO project is “Investigating the temporal survival strategy of Cynomys gunnisoni,” described as: The Gunnison’s prairie dogs used to be a keystone species that originally had a wide spread distribution in the southwestern United States. However, as cattle ranching moved west this species was removed from the majority of its natural range, as it was believed to be a pest that completed with livestock for grazing. Recently, populations have been reintroduced back to its natural arid habitat on the Sevilleta National Wildlife refuge in central New Mexico, and in a more mesic zone on Vermejo Ranch in northern New Mexico. The Sevilleta population has required considerable maintenance and additional reintroductions in order to maintain stability, while the Vermejo population is thriving and growing with very little human involvement. He was mentored by Ana Davidson and Chuck Hayes. His previous project was “Visual, Olfactory and Auditory Cues of Female Mate Choice in the Pupfish Cyprinodon veriegatus” and was mentored by Astrid Kodric-Brown and Angela Hung. He expects to graduate Summer 2012 with a BS in Biology with a minor in Psychology completing an undergraduate degree in 3.5 years. While in the UnO program, he has achieved entrance into the MSU Behavior Ecology of African Mammals in Kenya, Summer 2011. Other experiences and noteworthy accomplishments include Biology Undergraduate Society Community Service Chair (2011-2012) and New Mexico Wilderness Alliance Student Chapter President (2011-2012). Additionally, he has earned J. A. Gaudin Jr Scholarship (2011), Lottery Scholarship, Transfer Scholarship, and UNM Dean's list 2011 to present. He presented at 1 conference.
currently: finishing a PhD in Zoology at Michigan State University
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Donavan J. Jackson is a Native American male born in Gallup, NM. He joined the UnO program in Spring 2012. Studying biology and enjoying it as much as Donavan does today is a passion he acquired relatively recently. In college he truly began to enjoy and love learning about why and how organisms function as they do taking a particular interest in the ecology aspect of science. Looking at nature at having and having sense of why organisms in a given area interact and cooperate as they do has certainly helped to deepen his appreciation of life. His specific project is in development under the mentorship of Joe Cook and Kayce Bell. He expects to graduate Spring 2013 with a BS in Biology, completing an undergraduate degree in 4 years. Additionally, he has earned the GATES Millennium, Chief Manuelito, and the New Mexico Lottery Scholarships. He received his Master’s in Biology in 2017.
currently: entering the PhD program in biology at the University of Washington
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Abigail Ramirez-Ortiz is a Hispanic female born in El Paso, Texas. She joined the UnO program in Spring 2011. Her UnO project was “Environmental impacts on endoparasites in the South American Andes”, described as: Endoparasites are affected by the environment within their host, since a change in their surroundings can create an unfavorable situation where their survival is trivialized. But does the host’s environment affect the parasite? This is the main question of her project on the parasites of Thylamys venustus, a South American marsupial that inhabits lowlands and highlands of the Andes Mountains. She was mentored by Joe Cook and Chris Himes. While in the UnO program, she has achieved McNair Scholar. She attended 1 conference and presented at 1 conference. She graduated Summer 2011 with a BS In Biology completing an undergraduate degree in 5.5 years.
currently: a middle school teacher
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April J. Tafoya is a Hispanic female born in Honolulu, Hawaii. She joined the UnO program in Fall 2008. April is interested in sustainable freshwater resources and clean-up and plans to attend graduate school to conduct research in the field of water chemistry. She envisions herself as part of a professional team that implements innovative new ideas to address the issues of water clean-up and conservation. As part of April's senior thesis, she conducted a survey of the Bitter Lakes (New Mexico) ecosystem and comparing the aquifer water chemistry and arthropods faunas between this water source and the Edwards Aquifer (Texas). Part of this project involves the description of a new species of Hydroporini (Coleoptera: Dytiscidae). Her UnO project was “Phylogenetic analysis of the genus Hygrotus (Coleoptera: Dytiscidae)”. She was mentored by Kelly Miller and Gino Nearns. She received a Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation Grant and worked with Dr. Laura Crossey. While in the UnO program, she has achieved Summa Cum Laude and Biology Honors. April did arthropod field collections in Cuatrocienegas Mexico in 2010, as well as multiple trips across New Mexico. Additionally, she earned 1st place oral presentations at the New Mexico Alliance for Minority Participation Conference (2009), Harry & Mabel Leonard Research Fellowship, Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, UNM (2010), James Drew Pfeiffer Memorial Scholarship, Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, University of New Mexico, MP Undergraduate Research Scholarship, International Conference of Subterranean Biology (ICSB) Student Travel Grant (2010), and 2010 NSF LSAMP Fellowship (Dr. Laura Crossey), University of New Mexico. She presented at 7 conferences, and has 1 publication in review. She graduated in 2010 (BS) and received her Master’s degree in 2012 in Geosciences.
currently: a geologist in Santa Fe, New Mexico
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Ashley Pacheco is a Hispanic female born in Santa Fe, NM. She joined the UnO program in Fall 2007. Ashley’s primary career interest includes fields that use genetic counseling as part of their research activities. Her UnO project was “Evolutionary diversification of southern jumping mice,” mentored by Joe Cook and Jason Malaney. Her other project was “Testing biogeographic hypotheses in a Puerto Rican frog, Eleutherodactylus antillensis: Integrating distribution models and Phylogeography” and was mentored by Joseph Cook and Brittany Barker. She graduated Fall 2008 with a BS in Biology completing an undergraduate degree in 4.5 years. While in the UnO program, she has achieved Magna Cum Laude. Ashley is from Denver, CO and completed PhD in the Human Medical Genetics and Genomics Program at the University of Colorado. ashleypacheco.jpg
Ashley Reid is a Hispanic female. She joined the UnO program in Fall 2008. Ashley really loves bacteria, especially ones that can be found in extreme environments like the thermal vents in Yellowstone National Park. Her UnO project was “Examining the Relative Abundance of Thermal Spring Community Members Using Quantitative Polymerase Chain Reaction.” She was mentored by Christina Vesbach-Takacs and Stacy O'Neil. She graduated Fall 2009 with a BS in Biology.
currently: employed in the private sector
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Carmela Carrasco is a Hispanic female born in Las Cruces, NM. She joined the UnO program in Fall 2007. Carmela enjoys almost all facets of biology, but is especially interested in paleoenvironmental effects on evolution and their anthropological connections. Her UnO project was “Diversity of Potential Nitrogen-fixing Microbes Associated with Three Marine Reef Invertebrates (Lizard Island, Great Barrier Reef).” She was mentored by Ursula Shepherd. While in the UnO program, she has achieved Summa Cum Laude, Biology Honors, and University Honors. Carmela had the opportunity to do field work at the Australia Lizard Island research station in 2008. Additionally, she earned Outstanding Science and Engineering Student award (2010). She presented at 5 conferences. She graduated Spring 2010 with a BS in Biology completing an undergraduate degree in 5 years. Carmela graduated from medical school at the University of New Mexico School of Medicine in 2014.
currently: a pediatric doctor at Seattle’s Children’s Hospital
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Dan Colman is a Hispanic male born in Carlsbad, NM. He joined the UnO program in Fall 2008. While Dan's scientific interests are far-reaching, He is particularly interested in studying microbial ecology. He is interested in the fundamental dynamics of evolution and ecology that can be answered by studying the most phylogenetically basal life forms: bacteria & archaea. Some of the specific issues in the study of bacteria and archaea that are of great interest to me are their role in animal evolution, their contribution to ecosystems (and metabolic diversity) and the insights into early life forms that they allow us to study. His UnO project was “Investigating host feeding strategy as a determinant of gut microbial community profile in insects.” He was mentored by Christina Vesbach-Takacs. He graduated Spring 2009 with a BS in Biology completing an undergraduate degree in 5 years. Dan received a PhD at UNM in 2014 and is now working through Montana State University on a project studying the distribution of Archaea in hot springs in Yellowstone National Park, with particular emphasis on the influence of the geochemistry of the springs on their distribution. dancolman.jpg
David Banks-Richardson is an African American Male born in Bellflower, CA. He joined the UnO program in Fall 2008. David’s UnO project was “Historical Changes in Diatom and Ostracod Community Composition in Bitter Lake, New Mexico Related to Changes in Hydrological Management.” He was mentored by Becky Bixby. His other project was “An Introduced Exotic to Shemya Island of the Far Western Aleutian Islands of Alaska” and was mentored by Yadeeh Sawyer and Joe Cook. Upon graduating, David lived in Denver working with AmeriCorps. David participated in outreach activities through the UnO Roadshow to Albuquerque High (2009), Sandia Prep (2010) and Rio Grande High (2010). He graduated Summer 2010 with a BS in Biology completing an undergraduate degree in 3 ½ years. He presented at 2 conferences and has 1 published manuscript. David received a Master’s Degree in Integrative Biology from University of Colorado Denver. davidbanksrichardson.jpg
David Garcia is a Hispanic male. He joined the UnO program in Fall 2007. David began studying Biology with the intention of getting into medical school and working in the health fields, with a main focus on ophthalmology. However, he's been more interested in animal research - primarily behavioral studies dealing with consciousness in corvids. He would like to work his way into further research of that field. His UnO project was “Determining reproductive allocation of Scleoperous ungulatus.” He was mentored by Blair Wolf and Robin Warne. He graduated Spring 2009 with a BS in Biology.
currently: has plans to return to graduate school
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Elisha Song is a Hispanic female. She joined the UnO program in Fall 2007. Elisha was part of the Local Organizing Committee for the 87th Annual Meeting of the American Society of Mammalogists. Her UnO project was “Phylogeography of the nematode, Soboliphym batrini, across the Alexander Archipelago.” She was mentored by Joe Cook, Sara Brant and Jason Malaney. She graduated Spring 2009 with a BS in Biology. Elisha works fulltime and is applying to graduate schools. She presented at 2 conferences.
currently: works in the private sector in Albuquerque, New Mexico
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Geneva Williams is a Native American female born in Gallup, NM. She joined the UnO program in Fall 2008. Geneva is interested in biochemistry. Her UnO project was “Avian Adaptations to Altitudinal Gradients using Histology.” She was mentored by Chris Witt and Mike Lelevier. She graduated Spring 2009 with a BS in Biology completing an undergraduate degree in 7 years. While in the UnO program, she has achieved McNair Scholar. Geneva is currently unemployed, but upon graduating she completed a post-baccalaureate internship in Bethesda, MD for the NIH/National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research working with Dr. Yoshi Yamada studying ectodermal tissue development. She since has interned at the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, MD working for Drs. Gordon Hager and Diana Staureva. genevawilliams.jpg
Hallie Rane joined the UnO program in Fall 2009 and was most interested in evolution and ecology. Specifically, she is interested in the evolution of novel function, the nearly-neutral theory of molecular evolution, and the role of evolutionary constraints and historical contingency in adaptive evolution. Her UnO project was “Gene Conversion and DNA Sequence Polymorphism in the Sex-determination Gene fog-2 and its Paralog ftr-1 in Caenorhabditis elegans.” She was mentored by Vaishali Katju. She graduated Fall 2010 with a BS in Biology completing an undergraduate degree in 4.5 years. While in the UnO program, she has achieved Biology Honors, and University Honors.
currently: an investigator in the Division of Infectious Diseases, UNM School of Medicine
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Hiyatsi Bassett is a Native American female born in Albuquerque, NM. She joined the UnO program in Fall 2009. Hiyatsi is interested in studying mammals and she would like to study this aspect of Biology further with the goal of conducting research within this field. She knows any project where she is allowed to work with mammals will be rewarding and exciting. Her UnO project was “Phylogeography of North Pacific Coastal Ermine (Mustela erminea)” described as: Mustela erminea (ermine) is a key mammalian predator of the North Pacific Coastal Biome that includes the largest remaining temperate rainforest worldwide. Fossils and preliminary DNA studies indicate that refugial populations of ermine existed north and south of Cordilleran and Laurentide ice sheets in North America during the Wisconsin glaciation, but ermine also apparently persisted and diverged in a hypothesized unglaciated refuge along the North Pacific Coast. She was mentored by Joe Cook, Brad Truett and Chris Himes. She graduated Fall 2011 with a BA in Biology completing an undergraduate degree in 5.5 years. At some point she would like to conduct her own research, do community outreach & become a leader in her community. Hiyatsi participated in outreach activities through the UnO Roadshow to Rio Grande High (2010). She presented at 3 conferences.
currently: employed in the private sector in Albuquerque, New Mexico
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Jessica Martin is a Hispanic female born in Tucson, AZ. She joined the UnO program in Fall 2008. Jessica's research includes an interesting project in Death Valley, California. Her research, titled “You are what you eat: the key role of mesquite in promoting survival in extreme environment,” examined the relationship between desert woodrats, Neotoma lepida, living in the valley floor and their absolute dependence on one resource, mesquite, for survival. Jessica has been teasing this plant-animal interaction apart over the past few years to see how the mesquite affords not only food resources, but also the physical protection it provides through spinescence to the woodrats, and she is interested in expanding her research to examine plant toxins present in the mesquite and how the rats might be combating their effects. She was mentored by Felisa Smith and Larisa Harding. While in the UnO program, she has achieved Biology Honors, Summa Cum Laude and University Honors Summa Cum Laude. Jessica participated in outreach activities through the UnO Roadshow to Albuquerque High (2009) and Sandia Prep (2010). Additionally, she earned Barry Goldwater Scholarship, Superior Undergraduate, Biology Department (2010) , Outstanding Senior, University Honors Program (2010), Student Travel Grant to attend International Biogeography Society conference in Merida, Mexico (2009), Jenny Marie Ames Memorial Scholarship (2009), Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship (2009), Outstanding Sophomore, University Honors Program (2008), Who's Who in American Colleges and Universities (2008), Regent's Travel Grant (2006, 2008, 2009), University of New Mexico Scholar's Scholarship (January 2005-May 2009), and Dean's List. She presented at 7 conferences. She graduated Spring 2010 with a BS in Biology completing an undergraduate degree in 5.5 years.
currently: completing a PhD in biology in the Dirzo Lab at Stanford University in California
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Justin Pichardo is a Hispanic male born in Albuquerque, NM. He joined the UnO program in Fall 2008. Justin tested the hypothesis, first considered by Brown (1987), that core populations should have reduced genetic variation compared to peripheral populations because they are larger and more contiguous, which encourages gene flow and genetic homogeneity. His UnO project was “Emergence and Activity Patterns of Desert Box Turtles, Terrapene ornata luteola.” He was mentored by Blair Wolf and Ian Murray. His other project was “Life On the Outside; elucidating the genetic signatures of core and peripheral populations of the montane vole, Microtus montanus” and was mentored by Dolly Crawford. He graduated Spring 2010 with a BS in Biology. He presented at 2 conferences and has 1 publication in review.
currently: the tasting room manager for Gruet Winery in Santa Fe, New Mexico
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Katherine (Kate) Cauthen was born in Kansas City, Missouri. She joined the UnO program in Fall 2009. Her UnO project was “In-group versus out-group directed altruism as a function of Perceived Vulnerability to Disease”, conducting a study to investigate the potential relationship between Perceived Vulnerability to Disease and the allocation of altruism. Previous research has shown that true parasite load and perceived parasite load predict attitudes about and behaviors involving in group and out group members. Individuals under increased, perceived or real, parasite stress tend to avoid out group members who potentially carry pathogens to which they are not immune, and they tend to associate with in group members who are more likely to carry similar pathogens. She was mentored by Randy Thornhill and Corey Fincher. While in the UnO program, she has achieved Biology Honors, University Honors, and Summa Cum Laude. Kate participated in a post-baccalaureate summer program in biostatistics at Harvard and she learned a lot about the field of biostatistics, how to get into grad school for biostats, and she made some great connections. From 2011-2013, she worked full-time as a research assistant in the Social, Health, and Evolutionary Research Program of Albuquerque (SHERPA) lab run by Dr. Angela Bryan at UNM, conducting studies on risky behavior in adolescents and its relationship to substance use. Additionally, she earned Regent's Scholar, Rachael Dowler Award for best undergraduate honors thesis in psychology, Outstanding Senior, University Honors Program (2010), and Barry Goldwater Scholarship Honorable Mention (2010). She presented at 3 conferences as an undergraduate. She graduated Spring 2011 with a BS in Biology and Psychology completing an undergraduate degree in 5 years. While in the MS program in Statistics from 2013-2015, I interned at Sandia National Laboratories and earned the Susan Deese Roberts Outstanding TA of the Year award in 2015.
currently: a senior data scientist at Sandia National Laboratorie in Albuquerque, New Mexico
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Matthew Peralta is a Hispanic male born in Belen, NM. He joined the UnO program in Summer 2010. Matt is interested in aquatic ecosystems, natural history, geology, and the conservation of native fishes. His UnO project was “The biological control of mosquito larvae populations using larvivorous fish; An eco-friendly approach” using stable isotope analysis, gut content, and overall abundance of mosquito larvae to determine if the fish are actually consuming mosquito larvae preferentially over other invertebrates. Results suggest that fish do indeed consume mosquito larvae in proportion to their abundance thus providing an indirect control of mosquito borne illnesses. He was mentored by Tom Turner and Ayesha Burdett. He graduated Spring 2011 with a BS in Biology completing an undergraduate degree in 5 years. Additionally, he earned runner up award for best student presentation at the Southwest Fisheries conference (2010). He presented at 3 conferences.
currently: a fisheries biologist with the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish
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Monica (Lucero) Kimbrough is a Hispanic female born in Las Vegas, NM. She joined the UnO program in Fall 2008. Her UnO project was “Diversity and Prevalence of Avian Malaria in Peru.” She was mentored by Chris Witt and Mike Lelevier. She graduated Spring 2009 with a BS in Biology completing an undergraduate degree in 6 years.
currently: Branch Chief of Planning and Deputy Refuge Supervisor for the US Fish and Wildlife Service, National Wildlife Refuge System
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Monica Tellez is a Hispanic female born in Albuquerque, NM. She joined the UnO program in Fall 2007. Her UnO project was “Length-mass relationships for freshwater macroinvertebrates in the Rio Grande River”. She was mentored by Tom Turner and Ayesha Burdett. She presented at 3 conferences. Monica also attended/participated in the Tipulid (Crane Fly) Taxonomy Workshop given by Jon K. Gelhaus Ph.D. Monica is now a Nurse II at Lovelace Hospital in Albuquerque. She graduated Spring 2009 with a BS in Biology.
currently: a nurse at Lovelace Women’s Hospital in Albuquerque, New Mexico
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Natalie Blea is a Hispanic female born in Albuquerque, NM. She joined the UnO program in Summer 2009. Natalie is interested in herpetology and the ecology and evolution of species. The well-studied group Anolis has proven to be very important in studies of sexual selection, ecomorphology, niche partitioning and adaptive radiation all of which are areas which interest me. She envisions herself continuing my research and using her knowledge of such aspects of biology to aid in conservation of species diversity. Her UnO project was “A new species of Anolis similar to Anolis polylepis from a region of the Pacific Coast of Costa Rica.” She was mentored by Steven Poe and Mason Ryan. She graduated Spring 2010 with a BS in Biology completing an undergraduate degree in 6 years. Natalie did leaf litter surveys in Costa Rica in 2010 and 2009, and herpetology surveys in Panama and Ecuador in 2009. Additionally, she earned NSF-Stem Scholar, Atrisco Heritage Land Grand Foundation Scholar, Deans List, and Regents International OIPS Grant. She presented at 2 conferences, has 1 publication in review, and 1 publication. Natalie received a Master’s Degree from the Scripps Institute in 2015.
currently: employed in the private sector
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Nicole Caimi is a Hispanic Female born in Alexandria, Virginia. She joined the UnO program in Summer 2010. Her UnO project was “Looking in Cold Dark Places for Geomyces destructans: The Fungus Associated with White Nose Syndrome in Bats”, described as looking at caves in New Mexico for the fungus destructans. White Nose Syndrome has been the culprit for over a million bat deaths in the eastern part of the United States. She was mentored by Diana Northup. She graduated Fall 2011 with a BS in Biology and completed a MS in Dr. Northup's lab in fungal microbiology in 2018. nicolecaimi.jpg
Raphaelita Bishara is a Native American female born in Albuquerque, NM. She joined the UnO program in Summer 2009. Raphaelita is interested in all aspects of biology, but she has become very interested in aquatic ecology and the effects of drying periods on freshwater species that live in rivers and streams such as the Rio Grande. She hopes to research this further and to later go to grad school. Her UnO project was “Comparison of community structure in a controlled mesocosm experiment and natural freshwater systems in the middle Rio Grande, New Mexico.” She was mentored by Tom Turner and Ayesha Burdett. She graduated Spring 2010 with a BS in Biology completing an undergraduate degree in 5 years. Rapaelita did field work with the Turner lab on the Rio Grande River. She presented at 2 conferences.
currently: a health administrator at Cuba Unified Schools in New Mexico
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Sophia Thompson joined the UnO program in Summer 2010. Sophia has several interests in biology, but would like to work with mammals. She would like to study the effects of cities on mammals living at the edges of cities, as well as how cities might be designed in a way that would minimize negative impacts on surrounding wildlife. She would also like to research large predators and their roles in maintaining ecosystem health and diversity. Her UnO project was “Microtus longicaudus and the theory of island biogeography”, described as: My project focuses on populations of the long tailed vole, Microtus longicaudus across several islands located in the Alexander Archipelago. Specifically I looked at how genetic diversity might be affected as the distance to mainland Alaska is increased as well as how changes in island size might affect the genetic diversity of these populations. She was mentored by Joe Cook and Yadeeh Sawyer. She graduated Spring 2011 with a BS in Biology. Sophia graduated with a MS program in Community and Regional Planning at UNM in 2013. sophiathompson.jpg
Ali Ghadimi is a Persian male born in Albuquerque, NM. He joined the UnO program in Summer 2010. Ali's interested mainly in microbiology. His UnO project was “Investigation of the presence of the Geomyces destructans fungus in bat habitats in El Malpais National Monument,” described as: We have completed our field work and are in the intermediate stages of lab work. We are in the process of extracting all of our soil samples and cultures and have successfully replicated the destructans positive control. He was mentored Diana Northup and Mike Spilde. He plans to graduate Spring 2013. While in the UnO program, he studied abroad (Sweden) Fall 2011. Ali Ghadimi was also featured on the front page of the Albuquerque journal for his research on White Nose syndrome. He presented at 2 conferences. alighadimi.jpg
Eudora Claw is a Native American female. She joined the UnO program in Fall 2008. Her UnO project was “Genetic Structure of avian schistosomes in New Mexico.” She was mentored by Sara Brant. She earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Evolutionary Biology from the University of New Mexico in 2012, and her Master’s in Public Health from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) in 2014.
currently: working towards a PhD in Public Health with a concentration in Social and Behavioral Health within the School of Community Health Sciences, UNLV
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Joanna Johnson is a Hispanic female born in Dallas, TX. She joined the UnO program in Summer 2010. Upon entering the program, Joanna was interested in evolution in mammals in and mathematical biology. Her UnO project was “Intergradation and skull morphology of Martes americana and caurina,” described as: “The first part of my project is measuring skulls from different areas and seeing if they intergraded at all where their areas meet. The second part of my project deals with figuring out what happened to the pure Martes caurina. She was mentored by Joe Cook. She graduated in July 2014 with a Bachelor of Science in Statistics and a minor in Psychology at The University of New Mexico.
currently: completing a Master’s degree at the University of Texas at Dallas
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Jobette "Joey" Chour is a Hispanic female born in Redwood City, CA. She joined the UnO program in Fall 2009. Joey's career choice has been in herpetology with hopes of making a difference in the conservation of vanishing species. Her UnO project was “Ectoparasitic arthropods on NM lizards with a concentration on Sceloporous ” She was mentored by Howard Snell and Tom Giermakowski and graduated in Fall 2012. Joey had the opportunity to do field work, sampling lizards, in various parts of New Mexico. She presented in the UnO Road Show to Walatowa High (2010) and participated in the Junior Science Outreach Camp (2011). She presented at 2 conferences.
currently: employed in the private sector
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Matthew Garcia is a Hispanic male born in Albuquerque, NM. He joined the UnO program in Fall 2007. Although born in Albuquerque, Matt spent his early years in a small (600 people) NM town, Cebollita, before moving to Grants, NM. His high school biology teacher, Mr. Alexander, and his participation in a Science Fair project shaped his interest in science, and biology in particular. He’s particularly interested in discovering new information about living things. In the lab, Matt mentored a high school student from Sandia Preparatory School. His UnO project was “Discovering New Diversity and Species Diversity Controls in Lava Tube Microbial Mats in New Mexico, Hawaii, and the Azores,” described as: My study includes work completed here in New Mexico and on the Big Island of Hawai’i. The focus of this project is to look at what constraints controls the diversity of the colorful microbial mats that resided within lava tubes at my two locations. He was mentored by Diana Northup and did field work on the Big Island of Hawaii, El Malpais National Monument, and Carlsbad Caverns collecting bacterial samples. He did outreach through the UnO Road Show to Rio Grande High (2010) Additionally, he earned Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (LS AMP) Undergraduate Research Award. He presented at 8 conferences, has 1 publication in prep, 1 publication in press, and 1 published manuscript. Matt graduated in Summer 2012. mattgarcia.jpg
Victoria Corvino is a Hispanic female who joined the UnO program in Summer 2009. She was mentored by Joe Cook, Jon Dunnum and Jason Malaney. Victoria participated in UnO as a high school student and has since left the UnO program due to a change in interest and has chosen the biomedical route.
currently: a Family Nurse Practitioner, DNP in Phoenix, Arizona
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Andrea Chavez, BS 2011, MS 2016 in Biology andreachavez.jpg
William Kanagy joined the UnO program in Fall 2009 as a high school student. He was mentored by Joe Cook and Yadeeh Sawyer. He was undergraduate at Goshen College, IN.
currently: in doctoral program at UNM School of Medicine.

 

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