NC State
Graduate Student Association

Kristen Hopperstad

Conference: 6th International Forum for Sustainable Vector Management, Chongqing, P.R. China

Kristen Hopperstad is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Entomology and Plant Pathology. After completing her B.Sc. at the University of Texas-Pan American, she began her doctoral studies at NCSU under the supervision of Dr. Michael Reiskind. Her doctoral research investigates a possible recrudescence of the yellow fever mosquito, Aedes aegypti, in the United States. Kristen uses an integrative landscape ecology and population genetic approach to investigate the ongoing interplay between the two species. Upon graduation, she plans to work at the federal or state level in arthropod disease vector research and control.


Lisa Johnson

Conference: American Society for Horticultural Science 2017 Annual Conference, Waikoloa, Hawaii

Lisa is pursuing a Ph.D. in Horticultural Science at NC State, working towards understanding why edible fruit and vegetable crops are left behind on farms, never reaching our nation’s food supply. She is also developing protocols for measuring the volume of crops that are underutilized, producing videos to train growers in measurement, and designing a harvest aid intended to improve gleaning efficiency. Lisa holds a B.S. and M.S. in Horticulture from the University of Georgia, and is looking forward to an academic career path focusing on applied research with fruit and vegetable growers.


Nathan Kotecki

Conference: Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, Ripton, Vermont

Nathan Kotecki is a Master of Fine Arts candidate in the Creative Writing Program of the English Department, with a concentration on Fiction. As a novelist, he is interested in the romantic potential of nineteenth century authors like Nathaniel Hawthorne, Herman Melville, and Thomas Hardy to inform modern conventions of fiction writing. He is the author of two young adult novels and regularly works with middle and high school students on their creative and compositional writing skills.


James Withrow

Conference: Animal Behavior Society

James will graduate in May 2017 with his MS in Entomology, after which he will be continuing in the Department of Entomology and Plant Pathology as a PhD student in the Tarpy lab. He is broadly interested in the evolution of reproductive castes in social animals with research focused on the behavior and reproductive quality of honey bee queens, including how workers select larvae from particular “royal” patrilines to rear as new queens, queen-queen interactions, and queen mating behavior.


Kalysha Clark

Conference: International Symposium on Society and Resource Management, Umeå, Sweden

Kalysha Clark is a second year graduate student pursuing a master’s degree in Fisheries, Wildlife and Conservation Biology. Her research includes varying aspects of the field, including studying family dynamics of wildlife value orientations, identifying the use of climate change to inform longleaf pine management planning, and evaluating environmental education programs. Following completion of her degree, she hopes to work at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences so that she may combine her love of conservation research with her passion for educating the public.


Laura Belica

Conference: American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting, San Francisco, California

Laura Belica is a Doctoral Candidate in Fish, Wildlife, and Conservation Biology in the Center for Geospatial Analytics and Department of Forestry and Environmental Resources.  Her transdisciplinary research integrates her interests and experience in ecology, hydrology, and geospatial modeling and is focused on developing and validating a high resolution, spatially explicit, process-based model of stream temperature to better understand stream temperature responses to landcover and climate changes at the spatial scales and timeframes of concern to natural resource managers.  With support from Coweeta Hydrologic Laboratory and LTER, she is collecting data to validate her stream temperature model in the Southern Appalachians where the impacts of changing climatic patterns and landuse have the potential to impact stream thermal regimes and the diverse aquatic fauna the region is known for.  Using the most accurate, highest resolution, spatially continuous data available to estimate stream heat fluxes is a major component of her work which she actively pursues by developing and testing methods that employ new and emerging environmental sensing technologies (such as UAVs, LiDAR, and TIR) as well as using established techniques.  Laura’s career experience as an agency Biologist drives her interest in ensuring the stream temperature model will be useful for natural resource managers and landowners and she is collaborating with colleagues in the College of Natural Resources to integrate resource manager information needs into the model design and visualization of results so that it will facilitate “real-world” alternate scenario comparisons for specific places and situations in decision making discussions.