NC State
Graduate Student Association

GSA Award for Conferences Awardees – Spring 2018Danielle LawsonConference:24th International Symposium on Society and Resource Management, Salt Lake City, Utah

Danielle Lawson is a 3rd year Ph.D. Student in the Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management working under Dr. Kathryn Stevenson. She studies how climate literacy can “trickle up” from middle-school aged children to the adults in their lives. She will be presenting the first two chapters of her dissertation research at the International Symposium of Society and Resource Management in Salt Lake City, Utah, this summer.






Jennifer Christina Mitchell

Conference: Entomology Society of America 2018: Crossing Borders: Entomology in a Changing World, Vancouver, BC, Canada
Christina Mitchell is a Master’s student in the Department of Entomology and Plant Pathology. She has a broad background in ecology, with an emphasis on native species in urban environments. Currently, she is researching urban forests and the effects of nonnative plant species on community compositions of ground beetles, which are used as indicator taxa to monitor forest health. She aims to become an ecologist working towards the conservation of native species affected by changing ecosystems and to share management tools with habitat managers, wildlife managers, and urban designers.




Joshua Beri

Conference: American Society for Mass Spectrometry Annual Conference 2018, San Diego, CA
Joshua Beri is a PhD candidate in Analytical chemistry under the direction of Dr. Michael Bereman in the Biological Sciences program. Josh’s training is focused on proteomics, which he uses to understand the protein-level effects of cellular exposure to toxins linked to ALS and develop new strategies for toxin detection and quantificaiton in the environment. Through his research, Josh hopes to provide meaningful insight into the development of sporadic ALS by combining the fields of toxicology and analytical chemistry.






Kendall Johnson

Conference: International Congress of Plant Pathology 2018: Plant Health in a Global Economy
Kendall Johnson is a second-year graduate student pursuing a master’s degree in Plant Pathology. Her research focuses on the species characterization and disease management of Glomerella leaf spot and fruit rot on apple in North Carolina by the fungal pathogens Colletotrichum spp. Currently, there is little to no research in the U.S. on this disease which makes this work imperative in the development of a sustainable fungicide program for Southeastern Apple Growers. Following completion of her degree, she hopes to work for an agrichemical company to continue research on optimizing fungicide delivery and resistance management.





Zhiyi Xu


Conference: Society of Labor Economists Conference, Toronto, Canada

Zhiyi Xu is PhD Graduand (i.e., awaiting the conferral of the degree) in Economics. Her research is about demand estimation of schools under manipulable school choice mechanisms and how the design of school choice mechanisms would influence the public-school assignments in practice. She hopes her research could help school districts better understand demand and improve the efficiency and fairness in the process of school assignment. Upon graduation, Zhiyi will work on antitrust practice using her expertise in demand estimation and devotes herself to ensuring the competitiveness of markets.




Travel Assistance Awards

Amie McElroy

Conference: 255th American Chemistry Society National Meeting & Exposition – Nexus of Food Energy & Water, New Orleans, LA

Amie McElroy is a PhD Student in the Department of Civil, Construction, and Environmental Engineering and a GAANN fellow in Molecular Biotechnology. Her research focuses on biological treatment of the emerging ether contaminant 1,4-dioxane. Her PhD research goal is the development of an engineered bio-filtration system capable of degrading 1,4-dioxane at drinking water-relevant concentrations.



Andrew Smolski

Conference: XXXVI International Congress of the Latin American Studies Association, Barcelona, Spain
Andrew R Smolski is a sociology doctoral candidate from Houston, Texas. His research on public markets for food distribution has appeared in Development in Practice and Agriculture. Currently, Andrew is working on integrating exile and social metabolism to study urban agriculture in Raleigh, North Carolina and Havana, Cuba. He is committed to research that aids in building a socially just and sustainable food system and looks forward to a career as a professor.






Catherine Wise

Conference: 49th Annual Meeting and Conference for the International Association for Aquatic Animal Medicine, Long Beach, California

Catherine is a doctoral student in the Toxicology Program under the direction of Dr. Matthew Breen. Her research focuses on the environmental and genomic characteristics of urogenital malignancies conserved across multiple species. Her presentation specifically focuses on identifying similarities between naturally occurring cancers of the urogenital tract in pet dogs, California sea lions, and humans. Catherine plans to pursue a career in research determining how environmental pollutants affect wildlife and human health.




Danielle Mzyk

Conference: 14th International Congress of the European Association for Veterinary Pharmacology and Toxicology, Wroclaw, Poland
Danielle Mzyk is dual DVM/PhD candidate in the Comparative Biomedical Sciences Program (Pharmacology) in the College of Veterinary Medicine. Her research focuses on the effect of age and disease on drug distribution in food producing species. A better understanding of drug disposition and efficacy in neonatal animals may allow for development and approval of new drugs that are specifically for use in pediatric patients. She is a responder for the Food Animal Residue Avoidance Databank (FARAD), where she answers calls and questions from veterinarians and producers regarding extra-label drug use and residue avoidance. She has clinical experience working with dairy practitioners and dairy farmers around the US. Additional interests include dairy calf health and welfare and residue avoidance in food producing species. Danielle plans to pursue a career in academia as a ruminant medicine clinician, where she hopes to continue her research as well as mentoring future large animal veterinarians.


Dishit P. Parekh

Conference: RAPID +TCT 2018 Conference, 23 – 26th April 2018, Fort Worth, Texas
Dishit P. Parekh is a 5th year PhD Candidate in the Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering department working under the supervision of Dr. Michael D. Dickey at NC State University. He graduated with a BS in Chemical Engineering back in April 2013 from Institute of Chemical Technology, Mumbai in India before joining NC State. His research focuses on 3D printing of gallium-based liquid metals at room temperature for the development of soft electronics and functional microfluidics. The future project goals involve rapid prototyping of such 3D printed electronic devices that can be used in low-cost, consumer-friendly wearable sensors and antennas to help the progress of Internet-of-Things (IoT) in healthcare and soft electronics. As I graduate in Summer 2018, I would like to work in a company focused on printed electronics R&D applying my hands-on experience and advanced analytical skills in additive manufacturing process design, technology and materials development.


Emilia Cordero Oceguero

Conference: LASA 2018, Latin American Studies in a Globalized World, Barcelona, Spain
Emilia is a second year PhD student in Sociology. She earned a BA in Latin American Studies from the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) and a MA in the same discipline from the University of California at Berkeley. Her research interests focus on transborder agroecological systems and the food sovereignty of immigrant Latinx communities in the United States. Through her academic work, she is committed to contribute to the struggle for food sovereignty of immigrant Latinx communities in the US and campesino communities in Latin America.




Emily Lichtenberger

Conference: American Academy of Forensic Sciences 70th Annual Meeting, Seattle, Washington
Emily Lichtenberger is a Ph.D. Candidate in the Fiber and Polymer Science program in the Department of Textile Engineering, Chemistry and Science. Emily began her graduate studies in 2014 under the guidance of Dr. Nelson R. Vinueza after completing her B.S. in Polymer and Color Chemistry in the same department. Her research is focused in forensic science and mass spectrometry, specifically in improving evidence analysis techniques for drugs of abuse. Currently, she is investigating how commercial swab materials affect collection and extraction of drugs at crime scenes. While pursuing her doctoral degree, she also assists in teaching multiple courses, including Textile Chemical Analysis and Technology of Textile Wet Processing. Besides her research and teaching, she works part-time in the Forensic and Analytical Laboratory in the College of Textiles. After graduation, Emily plans to pursue an industry-related career in analytical instrumentation.


Emily Reed

Conference: 2018 Population, Evolutionary, and Quantitative Genetics Conference, Madison, WI
Emily Reed is a PhD student in the Biology Program working with Dr. Martha Burford Reiskind on landscape genomics of invasive species. She is interested in using genetic methods to understand how invading populations disperse and respond to new areas, particularly cities and urbanizing landscapes. Emily comes to NC State from Asheville NC, where she received her BA in French from UNCA. After completing her doctorate, she will pursue a research career within government in conservation genetics.




Hannah Levenson

Conference: Ecological Society of America 2018 Annual Meeting, New Orleans, Louisiana
Hannah Levenson is a master’s student in Entomology with a co-major in Biology: Ecology and Evolution working under David Tarpy. She is currently conducting a state-wide survey on native bee populations across North Carolina, particularly looking at impacts of conservation efforts as well as various pollinator interactions. Hannah hopes her project will help to fill the large knowledge gap on native bee populations and aid in making future conservation decisions. After graduation she plans to continue a career in bee research, including becoming more involved in international work.


Jared Balik

Conference: Society for Freshwater Science Annual Meeting 2018, Detroit, MI
Jared Balik is a PhD candidate in the department of Applied Ecology at NCSU. His dissertation broadly explores how environmental change modifies ecosystem functions, particularly nutrient cycling, in aquatic ecosystems. His work links climate change to ecological stoichiometry, species interactions, ecosystem phenology, primary productivity, and biogeochemical cycling in ponds, wetlands, and streams. After completing his degree, Balik would like to remain in academia by pursuing postdoctoral research opportunities, and ultimately faculty positions at liberal arts schools.




Jessica Liu

Conference: 2018 Materials Research Society Spring Meeting & Exhibit, Phoenix, Arizona
Jessica received her BS in Chemistry at National Cheng Kung University in Taiwan in 2016. She has started her doctoral study in the group of Prof. Joseph Tracy in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at NCSU since 2016. Her research is focused on photothermal triggering of magnetic actuation of shape memory polymers using bifunctional magnetic particles for applications in soft robotics. She wants to continue designing the materials for soft robots with more complex functions and having a role in mentoring the next generation of scientists and engineers.





Jessica Haynie

Conference: International Society for Third Sector Research Conference, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Jessica is a second-year doctoral student in the School of Public and International Affairs and Department of Public Administration. Her research focuses on nonprofit management including financial management and nonprofit effectiveness. She is currently working on research related to overhead ratios, efficiency, and revenue divarication. Jessica is also an instructor for the Department of Political Science and is currently teaching Introduction to Nonprofits. She plans to pursue an academic career path.





James Withrow

Conference: 2018 International Union for the Study of Social Insects, Guaruj√°, Brazil
James is a PhD student in the Biology and Entomology graduate programs working with Dr. David Tarpy to study social behavior and queen quality in honey bees. His current research is focused on creating colonies with multiple reproductive queens at a time as means to both answer basic behavioral and evolutionary questions and to address queen loss, one of the major problems facing the beekeeping industry responsible for pollinating ~1/3 of the food we eat. James is also highly engaged in politics and, after completing his PhD, plans to pursue a career in either science advocacy or academia.



Jennifer Lutz

Conference: Sunbelt Conference of the International Network for Social Network Analysis, Utrecht, Netherlands
Jennifer Lutz is a doctoral student in the Department of Sociology. Her several lines of research focus on quantitative methodologies in the social sciences, the sentencing of corporate criminals, and the effects of social network characteristics on mental health outcomes. Jennifer holds an M.S. in Sociology from North Carolina State University and a B.A. in Criminology from the State University of New York at Cortland. After graduation, she hopes to pursue a career in academia.





Katie Conway

Conference: World Congress of Biomechanics 2018, Dublin, Ireland
Katie Conway is a second-year PhD student in the Joint Department of Biomedical Engineering at UNC and NC State. She is working with Dr. Jason Franz on research which focuses on the biomechanics of elderly gait and investigation of mobility impairment in our aging population. Currently, she is developing and using novel approaches for the functional assessment for the functional assessment of neuromuscular capacity in walking. Ultimately, these approaches can elucidate underlying mechanisms and inform the tailored prescription of interventions for individuals with propulsive deficits due to aging, injury, or disease. She plans to pursue careers in industry, specifically in movement biomechanics in the US and her home in the UK.


Kylie Rock

Conference: Society for Neuroscience Annual Meeting, Washington D.C.
Kylie Rock is a 4th year PhD candidate in the Toxicology program. After completing her B.S. at St. Lawrence University and working for two years as a research technician, she began her graduate studies at NCSU working with Dr. Heather Patisaul. Her doctoral research aims to understand how exposure to endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) can impact the developing brain and sexually dimorphic behaviors. She was recently awarded an F31 training fellowship from the National Institutes of Health to investigate the placenta as a novel target tissue and mechanism by which EDCs can impact brain and behavior. After graduation, she intends to pursue a tenure-track faculty position in the field of neurotoxicology.


Kate Albrecht

Conference: 2018 Annual Meeting of Academy of Management, Chicago, IL
I am currently a PhD Candidate in Public Administration. My primary focus is as a nonprofit scholar specializing in networks and collaborative community governance. Also, my interests in understanding organizations as actors within broader institutional and community environments has led to a secondary focus on research methods, particularly methodologies capable of handling longitudinal, multi-level, dynamic, and inter-dependent data structures. My research agenda focuses on aspects of nonprofit and public agencies engaging in boundary management. To advance this area of interest, I pursue research questions for understanding collaborative governance, while advancing methods to inform and expand organizational and network theories. Throughout my graduate studies, I have also served as a team member and team leader for multiple projects, including examining public health collaborations over time, evaluating systems-change initiatives, and understanding the nature of networks of agencies and actors engaged in crisis response.


Kayelyn Simmons

Conference: The World Conference on Marine Biodiversity, Montreal, Canada
Kayelyn Simmons is a doctoral candidate in Marine Science. She is a native of Atlanta, GA and completed her undergraduate studies at Hampton University, BS Marine & Environmental Science and her MS degree in Marine Biology at Nova Southeastern University. Kayelyn has acted as the Vice President of Communications for NC State’s Black Graduate Student Association, Secretary of NC State’s Student Fisheries Society, and has been a certified American Academy of Underwater Sciences (AAUS) Scientific Diver since 2012. Through her passion for conservation research, civic outreach, and science communication, Kayelyn actively shares ocean awareness initiatives with State’s higher education groups and the local Florida Keys community. Kayelyn is expected to complete her dissertation defenses in Spring 2019.


Madison Stahr

Conference: International Congress of Plant Pathology/ American Phytopathological Society annual meeting, Boston, Massachusetts
Originally from Pennsylvania, Madison came to NC state to study plant pathology as a PhD in Dr. Lina Quesada’s lab. Her background has always been in the biological sciences, with more recent focus on plants and the ailments that they accrue. Her future goals are to work towards an academic career, so she can continue to do research, instill a passion for science in the students she’ll mentor, and help the community through extension programs.



Olivia Caretti

Conference: World Conference on Marine Biodiversity, Montreal, Canada
Olivia is an NSF Graduate Research Fellow and third year PhD student in the Department of Marine, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences. She is interested in understanding how organisms interact with their habitats, especially when these interactions can be mediated by climate change and anthropogenic activity. Her dissertation research investigates the use of marine soundscapes, or the collection of sounds in an environment, as a tool to monitor fish responses to oyster reef restoration in North Carolina. The results from her research will hopefully inform management efforts regarding the conservation and restoration of ecologically and economically valuable habitats.





Paige Nemec

Conference: Immunology-2018, Austin, Texas
Paige is a 4th year PhD student in the Comparative Biomedical Sciences program with a concentration in Immunology. She works in Dr. Paul Hess’s lab and her main research area is the development of T-cell immunotherapies for canine round cell tumors, particularly histiocytic sarcoma and T-cell lymphoma. Her work focuses on the discovery of viral and cancer-testis antigens as targets of cytotoxic CD8+ T cells. The goal of her research is to identify potential targets for use in canine cancer vaccine development. Her professional goal is to work in the biomedical industry where she can bring bench work to the bedside.





Renae Mantooth

Conference: International Association of People-Environment Studies 2018, Rome, Italy
Renae Mantooth is a first-year doctoral student in the Ph.D. in Design program at NCSU’s College of Design. As an interdisciplinary scholar with a background in Interior Architecture and Educational Psychology, she is committed to expanding the field of design research to better serve students, educators, and designers. Renae’s passion for design research and scholarship is centered around people. She works to expand the breadth of knowledge that explores human behavior in educational settings. Specifically, her research is rooted in the influence the built environment has on human behavior and motivation, utilizing a multidisciplinary and mixed methods approach. Upon graduation, Renae intends to pursue a career in teaching and research in academia.




Stephanie Buhler (Enie Hensel)

Conference: Bahamas Natural History Conference, Nassau, New Providence
My name is Enie Hensel and I was born and raised in Florida. Currently, I am seeking a Ph. D. in the Department of Applied Ecology. My dissertation field work was conducted in The Bahamas investigating how human impacts affect the role of fishes as both predators and nutrient providers in nearshore ecosystems. Upon graduation, I will seek post-doctoral positions that allow me to apply novel ecological research to help mitigate human-driven disturbances, aiding in coastal and nearshore resiliency and conservation.





Stephanie Cone

Conference: Orthopaedic Research Society 201 Annual Meeting, New Orleans, LA
Stephanie Cone is a PhD Candidate in the Joint Department of Biomedical Engineering. Cone graduated with a B.S. in Biomedical Engineering from the University of Arkansas and began working with Dr. Matthew Fisher in the 2014. Her research focuses on studying the structural and biomechanical changes in orthopaedic soft tissues in the knee throughout childhood growth. Following graduation, Cone plans to continue working in the field of pediatric orthopaedic research in the academic field.






Samantha Zottola

Conference: International Association of Forensic Mental Health Services Conference, Antwerp, Belgium
Samantha Zottola is a first-year Ph.D. student in the Applied Social and Community Psychology Program. Before coming to NCSU she received a Master’s in Clinical Psychology and spent time working as a Psychometrist for a Juvenile Court. Her research focuses on the intersection of mental health and criminal justice. Specifically, she is exploring the impact of poor mental health on criminal justice outcomes and whether outcomes can be improved via mental health treatment. Through her research she hopes to inform policy regarding the services provided to individuals with mental health problems in jails and prisons.



Bob & Seuster Sowell Travel Fellowship Winners

Amber Hubbard

Conference: Materials Research Society Spring 2018 Conference, Phoenix, AZ
My name is Amber Hubbard and I am a fourth-year PhD Candidate in the Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering Department here at NC State University. I graduated from Auburn University in May 2014 with my Bachelor of Chemical Engineering before joining the department here at NC State. I am currently working under the advisement of Drs. Michael Dickey and Jan Genzer studying stimuli-responsive polymers and their applications in areas such as remote deployment, functional grippers, and triple-state actuators. Ideally, upon my graduation next year I would like to work for a company in the research and development sector with a focus on polymer mechanics for real-world applications.


Brock Kamrath

Conference: Society of Wetland Scientists 2018 Annual Meeting, Denver, Colorado
Brock Kamrath is a second-year Master’s student in the Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering. After earning a BSE in Civil Engineering from the University of Iowa, he worked as an engineer 1 for 14 months before beginning his graduate studies at NCSU under the direction of Dr. Michael Burchell. His research is focused on the creation and restoration of wetlands for current and future societal needs and in a changing climate. After defending his thesis in the summer of 2018, he will be continuing his graduate work under Dr. Burchell and begin his Ph.D. studies in the Fall of 2018.





Jack Kurki-Fox

Conference: 2018 Society of Wetland Scientists Annual Meeting, Denver, CO
Jack Kurki-Fox is a Ph.D. candidate in the Biological and Agricultural Engineering Department. His research involves assessing the condition and trends of natural wetlands in North Carolina and developing information to guide wetland management in the future. Jack received B.S. and M.E. degrees in Civil Engineering from the University of Florida. Prior to arriving at NC State, Jack worked for a water resources engineering consulting firm for two years. Upon graduation, Kurki-Fox hopes to eventually pursue a career in water resources research and management in the federal government.





Sarah Parsons

Conference: Ecological Society of America 2018, New Orleans, LA
Sarah Parsons is an entomologist and sustainable landscape consultant. Sarah is a PhD Candidate at NC State University, where she is evaluating the effects of landscape design principles on pest management of urban trees. Sarah has her Master of Environmental Management (MEM) from Duke University, and her B.A. in Environmental Studies from Emory University. Sarah has aspirations to teach ecology and continue her research on the effects of landscape design on urban ecosystems upon the completion of her PhD.