NC State
Graduate Student Association

Fall 2018 GSA Award for Conferences Winners


Sahand Saberi Bosari

Conference: 2018 AIChe Annual Meeting

My name is Sahand Saberi Bosari and I am a 4th year Ph.D. Candidate in the Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering Department here at NCSU. I have done my undergraduate studies in Chemical Engineering at University of Tehran, Iran. I am currently working on developing novel tools to study aging in C. elegans. I have developed a microfluidic platform to perform high-resolution high-throughput imaging of subtle phenotypes in C. elegans as they age. My new project is focused on using machine learning techniques such as Convolutional Neuronal Network for quantitative image analysis. Following graduation, I am planning to join an industrial company where I can continue working on developing novel automated tools for various applications.


J.L. Stewart

Conference: 2018 Society for Scientific Study of Sexuality Annual Meeting

L. Stewart is a third year Ph.D. student in the Applied Social and Community Psychology program working under the advisement of Dr. Laura Widman. Broadly, her research applies a rights-based perspective to understanding positive sexuality development. She presented two conference talks at the Society for the Scientific Study of Sexuality in November 2018 on her research on sexual rights among emerging adults and consensual non-monogamy among young gay and bisexual men. Following completion of her degree, she aims to work to apply psychological research to inform health policy and promotion efforts encompassing youth sexual health.





Arielle Parsons

Conference: The Wildlife Society Annual Meeting 2018

Arielle Parsons is a graduate student at North Carolina State University pursuing her PhD in Fisheries, Wildlife and Conservation Biology. She is also a researcher in the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences Biodiversity and Earth Observation Research Lab.  Arielle got her master’s degree in Zoology from North Carolina State University studying raccoon ecology on the Outer Banks.  She is interested in mammalian and avian ecology and human-wildlife interactions, in particular, the use of cutting-edge statistical techniques to characterize inter- and intra-population dynamics.  Her current research involves using citizen-science camera trapping to describe interactions between mammal species and how those interactions may be changed by factors such as urbanization.




Jennifer Moore

Conference: International Conference on Equine Exercise Physiology 2018

Jennifer Moore is a PhD candidate studying under Dr. Shannon Pratt-Phillips in the Department of Animal Science.  Her research focuses on using exercise as a treatment for obesity in horses, particularly as it relates to improving insulin dysregulation.  Upon completion of her degree, Jennifer hopes to continue her research and have a strong teaching role in both equine and animal science.







Marissa Kosnik

Conference: American Society of Human Genetics 2018

Marissa Kosnik is a PhD candidate in toxicology working with Dr. David Reif in the Bioinformatics Research Center. Marissa’s research focuses on database integration techniques to elucidate connections between environmental factors and human health outcomes. She works with a variety of datasets including high-throughput screening data, human epidemiological datasets, and gene-disease data. After completing her degree, Marissa hopes to build upon her varied skill set as a postdoc studying the role of chemicals and the environment in human disease development.






Fall 2018 GSA Travel Assistance Award Winners


Andrea Brandt

Conference: Neuroscience 2018

Andrea (Andy) Brandt is a Ph.D. Candidate in the Joint Department of Biomedical Engineering. She has a background in mathematics and a strong interest in rehabilitation engineering. She works in the Neuromuscular Rehabilitation Engineering Lab directed by Dr. He (Helen) Huang, and her research focuses on understanding the assistive capabilities of modern, powered prostheses for people with lower limb loss. As the prosthetics field advances, she hopes that people with limb loss are able to participate in the activities they love without developing secondary complications or pain.





Andrea Stewart Medenblik

Conference: 2018 American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting

Andrea Stewart Medenblik is an M.S. Natural Resources student and National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow in Dr. Ryan Emanuel’s Ecohydrology and Watershed Science lab. Her research aims to characterize soil water and plant-water dynamics in forest ecosystems by using the stable isotopes of water. Following graduation, she plans to continue working at the U.S. Geological Survey South Atlantic Water Science Center, where she contributes to water quality research projects.






Casey Bray

Conference: AGU 2018 Fall Meeting

Casey is a PhD Candidate studying atmospheric science with a focus on atmospheric chemistry and air quality in the Department of Marine, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences. Her research focuses on creating a global scale emissions inventory of reactive nitrogen emissions from biomass burning (i.e. wildfires, prescribed burns and agriculture burns) using a suite of satellite measurements and determining how climate change will impact these emissions. This work will not only help improve the accuracy of reactive nitrogen emissions inventory development and thus improve global scale modeling efforts, but it also will allow for a better understanding of how the changing climate will impact both human health and welfare.


Chandra Maldonaldo

Conference: National Communication Association 104th Annual Convention: Communication at Play

Chandra Maldonado is finishing her PhD in the Communication, Rhetoric, and Digital Media Program (January 2019). Her research focuses on presidential memory and commemoration practices in contemporary culture. Currently, her work explores the rhetoric of Theodore Roosevelt and American national identity in visual culture. Other projects include the rhetorical function of contemporary advocacy documentary films, as well as gender and the labor movement. She aims to continue her research in academia with a tenure-track research position.





Charmaine Pedrozo

Conference: 24th International Symposium on Society and Resource Management, Salt Lake City, Utah

Charmaine Pedrozo is a Master’s student in the Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management working under Dr. Lincoln Larson and Dr. Caren Cooper. She received her bachelor’s degree in Wildlife Ecology and Conservation, with a focus on human dimensions, from the University of Florida. Currently, she is exploring the broader impacts of citizen science participation through a wildlife camera trapping project called Candid Critters. Following completion of her degree, she hopes to work for a state or federal agency conducting research related to human-wildlife interactions




Dilara Sen

Conference: Neuroscience 2018

Dilara Sen is a 4th year PhD candidate in the Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering department here at NC State University. She graduated from Bogazici University in Istanbul with her BS in Chemical Engineering degree in May 2015. She is currently working under the advisement of Dr. Albert Keung studying human neurodevelopmental imprinting using cerebral organoids. Her research is specifically focusing on a neurally imprinted gene that is involved in several different neurodevelopmental diseases such as Autism Spectrum Disorders and Angelman Syndrome. Dilara hopes that her research will help developing therapeutic approaches for these disorders. Her future professional goal is to pursue a career in biotechnology industry.


Eric Randall

Conference: Joint Mathematics Meeting 2019

Ben Randall is a Ph.D. Candidate in Applied Mathematics under the supervision of Dr. Mette Olufsen. His research focuses on developing and analyzing mechanistic mathematical models to describe neurological control of systemic circulation throughout the body. Ben’s collaboration with clinical physiologists has led to the development of software for potential use in clinical settings as patients undergo various orthostatic challenges. He hopes this research can provide more insight into these control mechanisms and aid in more effective diagnoses for patients suffering from autonomic nervous system dysfunction.





Fallon Fowler

Conference: 2018 Joint Annual Meeting Entomological Society of America

Fallon Fowler is a Ph.D. student researching how dung beetles affect greenhouse gases produced from cattle dung. In particular, she researches how the methods scientists use may influence the quantity and quality of data and phenomena observed. A budding veterinary entomologist, her research also demonstrates her expertise in statistical and scientific theory, climatology, and microbiology. She plans to pursue professorship following her graduation from the Department of Entomology and Plant Pathology at NC State.



Hanna Lee

Conference: International Textile and Apparel Association Annual Conference 2018, Cleveland, OH

Hanna Lee is a PhD student in the Wilson College of Textiles at North Carolina State University since 2017. Her research interests lie in the area of consumer behavior in Omni-channel. She plans to apply for a researching position at a leading research university to share her research experience and to contribute to the development of the fashion studies about innovative retailing through taking an interdisciplinary perspective.






Heather Barton

Conference: MOF2018 – 6th International Conference on Metal-Organic Frameworks & Open Framework Compounds, Auckland, New Zealand

Heather Barton is a 4th year PhD student in the Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering Department. After completing her B.S. in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at Cornell University, she began studying metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) under Dr. Gregory Parsons at NCSU. Heather studies nucleation mechanisms on metal oxide films and resulting growth patterns. She has worked to develop MOF-functionalized fabrics capable of degrading chemical warfare agent simulants for use in lightweight, protective military uniforms. Following the completion of her PhD, Heather hopes to continue to work with highly porous materials in a research and development position in industry.




Mike Madden

Conference: 99th American Meteorological Society Annual Meeting

I’m Mike Madden and I am a Ph.D. candidate in the Marine, Earth, and Atmospheric Sciences Department. I received my bachelor’s and master’s degrees in the same field from the University of Missouri – Columbia and the University of Alaska – Fairbanks. I study numerical weather prediction and examine how global warming alters the climatology and morphology of extreme rain events. I have strong interests in research, education, and community work, and I plan to pursue a career at a liberal arts institution or a smaller state university. There, I’d continue my research and encourage undergraduate participation in my lab. I’d also love to instruct classes in Earth sciences, physics, and mathematics, and break students’ fears and inhibitions of those subjects. Lastly, I’d play a vital role in the community, whether it means serving on local boards or councils, volunteering for science fairs and Olympiads, or writing for the local newspaper.


Javier Huayta Ramirez

Conference: 2018 Biomedical Engineering Society Annual Meeting

I am a 3rd year PhD student in the Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering Department, working under Dr. Adriana San Miguel. My research focuses on using a systems biology approach to describe how various environmental factors affect both lifespan and health span of the nematode C. elegans. This will help understand the interplay between distinct genetic pathways to extend life expectancy. I am originally from Peru, where I received my BS in Chemical Engineering at UNMSM. After completing my doctorate degree, I plan to pursue a career in academia.



Jens Kosch

Conference: 78th Annual Meeting of the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology, Albuquerque, NM

Jens Kosch is a PhD candidate in Zoology working under Dr. Lindsay Zanno in the Biological Sciences program. Jens’ research is focused on ecological signals and lessons that can be taken from the study of the teeth of sauropod dinosaurs. He presented on important groundwork in tooth formation and sampling techniques in animals with constant tooth replacement. Jens hopes to find a place in academia where he can continue his research to understand past ecosystems and their changes to add a deep time perspective to our understanding of life’s development.





Jeremy Slone

Conference: 2018 Entomological Society of America Annual Meeting

Jeremy Slone is a PhD candidate in the department of Entomology and Plant Pathology, under the direction of Hannah Burrack. He has worked with North Carolina farmers over the past several years to quantify the value of integrated pest management and to develop recommendations to improve pollinator health on the farm. He will finish his degree in the coming year and plans to use this background to develop a career that blends his passions for sustainability and agricultural entomology.



Kathleen Smith

Conference: 2018 Association for the Study of Higher Education

Katie Smith is a fourth-year Ph.D. student in Higher Education in the Department of Educational Leadership, Policy, and Human Development. Katie currently serves as a graduate assistant in the NCSU Office of Institutional Research and Planning and an intern at RTI International. A former career advisor for college students, Katie’s research interests center around students’ career-related experiences, decisions, and post-graduate outcomes. Katie is originally from upstate New York and holds an M.S. in Higher Education from the University of Rochester and a B.A. from SUNY Geneseo. Upon graduation, Katie hopes to pursue a career in education research.




Kristi Backe

Conference: Joint annual meeting of the Entomological Societies of America, Canada, and British Columbia; Vancouver, BC, Canada

Kristi Backe is a PhD candidate in the Department of Entomology and Plant Pathology. She studies how the features of cities (increased temperatures, hard surfaces, etc.) affect the insects that live on trees. At the joint annual meeting of the Entomological Societies of America, Canada, and British Columbia in Vancouver, BC, Canada, Kristi presented the results of a project she conducted in Orléans, France, as part of a graduate research abroad trip about the effects of urbanization on an invasive caterpillar. After graduation, Kristi hopes to work as an urban ecologist at a museum or university.




Laura Kraft

Conference: Entomological Society of America 2018

Laura Kraft is a second year PhD student studying integrated pest management of spotted wing drosophila, an invasive vinegar fly infesting berry crops in the region. In addition to her research, she spends time considering better ways to communicate science to the public through writing and visual media. On top of this, she loves sharing the six-legged members of the insect zoo with youth in the Triangle through outreach



Mahmoud Ebrahim Mosa Shehata

Conference: 2018 American Geophysical Union (AGU) Fall meeting

Mahmoud Shehata is a Ph.D. student who works with Dr. Chadi Sayde in the Biological and Agricultural Engineering Department. Mahmoud’s research involves developing methods to monitor soil moisture content using the Fiber-optic Distributed Temperature Sensing (FO-DTS) technology and investigate the new methods in precision agriculture applications. Mahmoud received his B.Sc. from Mansoura University in Egypt in Civil engineering. Mahmoud then worked for five years in two consultation firms in the fields of highway and construction engineering. After that, Mahmoud received a joint M.Sc. degree from five European countries (France, UK, Germany, Spain, and Hungary) in the field of Hydro-informatics and water management. Later he received another M.Sc. degree in civil engineering from Washington State University before he joined the NCSU doctoral program. After graduation, Mahmoud would like to pursue a position on academia on a top research institute.



Makenzie Pryor

Conference: 2018 Human Factors and Ergonomics Society Annual Meeting

Mak Pryor is a 3rd year PhD student in the Human Factors and Applied Cognition area of Psychology. She obtained her BA in Psychology from New College of Florida, where she studied visual perception and aging. She is currently studying instructional design, and how to present instructions to users to support performance on a new task. She is interested in using human factors to promote healthy aging and provide support for older adults in their daily lives.



Mary Regan

Conference: Biomedical Engineering Society Conference 2018, Atlanta, Ga

Mary Regan Adams is a 2nd year Biomedical Engineering Ph.D. student specializing in drug delivery. Her research focuses on noninvasive refill-able drug depots for repeated localized chemotherapy presentation to tumors, while reducing off target toxicities. She hopes her research will eventually be translated to the clinic as a targeted and well tolerated treatment for cancer.







Maude Dinan

Conference: A Community of Ecosystem Services (ACES) 2018

Maude Dinan is a Master student in the Department of Parks, Recreation, and Tourism Management working with Dr. Bethany Cutts. She has a background in conservation biology where experience revealed how conservation and environmental protection are contingent on human behavior. To explore the human-nature relationship further, she currently studies how changing environments impact the delivery of cultural ecosystem services, or the nonmaterial benefits people receive from nature, such as recreation, spiritual enlightenment, and cultural heritage. She aims to pursue a career facilitating and fostering people’s relationship with nature through a position with the National Park Service or other public lands agency.


Megan Johnson

Conference: American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting 2018, Washington, D.C., Dec. 10-14, 2018

Megan Johnson is a second year PhD student in the Civil, Construction, and Environmental Engineering department. Her research is focused on air quality and public health impacts from wildfire-attributable air pollution. Prior to coming to NC State, Megan worked at the South Carolina Bureau of Air Quality and she has also previously worked for the Airborne Observation Platform of the National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON). She earned her MS in atmospheric science from the University of Nevada, Reno, and her BS in environmental engineering from the University of Colorado Boulder. She hopes to have a career at the intersection of science, communication, and education.




Robert Epps

Conference: Material Research Society 2018 Fall Meeting, Boston, MA

Robert is a third-year doctoral candidate in the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering working under Professor Milad Abolhasani. In his research Robert designs and builds microfluidic systems towards the development and study of advanced semiconductor materials. He has created an automated, high-throughput reaction sampling platform and applied it towards the study of colloidal semiconductor nanocrystals – i.e. quantum dots. These materials could help build the next generation of low-cost, high-efficiency photovoltaic devices and light emitting diodes.



Sabina Bastias

Conference: ASPRS Annual Conference and International Lidar Mapping Forum 2019

From time spent hiking in the woods to studying the impacts of a changing climate, most of my personal and professional life has been spent exploring serene natural landscapes, learning about technologies to preserve them, and educating the next generation of environmental stewards.  While originally from Nashville, TN, I have lived in and traveled to many other places across the U.S. and abroad. I love traveling and exploring the diversity of all cultures and landscapes. I received my undergraduate degree in Environmental Science and Geography from the University of Colorado in 2013. Upon graduation, I served two year-long terms with AmeriCorps, as a K-12 Agriculture & Culinary Arts educator in Wisconsin and North Carolina. After finishing my second service term, I decided to tap roots in NC and career pivot into the GIS field. I completed the NC State University GIS graduate certificate Spring of 2016 and then continued into the Masters of Geospatial Information Science and Technology program where I served as a teaching assistant for two courses: Fundamentals of Geospatial Information Science and Technology (GIS 510) & Spatial Problem Solving (GIS 520). Throughout my career, I hope to leverage GIS technologies to tackle social and environmental concerns. I have always been fascinated by agricultural systems – from food production and waste reduction, to land conservation and sustainability. Post-graduation, I will be continuing on as a Noise and GIS Analyst for Gannett Fleming, a civil engineering firm.


Sibei Xia

Conference: 2018 International Textile and Apparel Association Annual Conference.

Sibei Xia received her Ph.D. degree in Textile Technology Management in December 2018, Master of Computer Science degree in Data Science Track in May 2017, and M.S. degree in Textiles in 2013 from NC State University. Her passion lies in designing customized apparel products and increasing consumer’s satisfaction through product development and innovation, emerging textile and apparel techniques, and artificial intelligence. Her career goal is to become a university faculty.




Thomas Rudibaugh

Conference: Neuroscience 2018- Society for Neuroscience

I’m currently in my second year of graduate school working towards a Ph.D. in chemical engineering. My research in Dr. Albert Keung’s group is focusing on developing in vitro models for studying the brain. Currently our work is focused on developing neurons that mimic the mesolimbic pathway as it is linked with several neurological disorders including addiction and schizophrenia. After receiving my Ph.D., I plan to continue working in a lab setting in either a national lab or in an R&D department.


 Yiming Wang

Conference: American Institute of Chemical Engineers Annual Conference, Oct.28th – Nov.2nd 2018, Pittsburgh, PA, USA

Yiming Wang is a PhD graduand (awaiting the conferral of degree) in Chemical Engineering under the supervision of Dr. Carol K. Hall. His research involves using coarse-grained molecular dynamics simulation to investigate the thermodynamics and kinetics of protein misfolding and aggregation, which is hypothesized to be the direct cause of the Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and prion diseases. His research is in collaboration with a number of experimental expertise in US and UK to characterize and elucidate the phase behavior of amyloidogenic peptides, protein aggregation pathways and amyloid structures. He will stay in the Hall group as a short-term postdoc while actively looking for a new postdoctoral position in other research institutions.