2015 RACC Undergraduate Intern Bios


Back to photos of the RACC Undergraduate Interns


45 RACC summer interns and 4 NEWRnet summer interns have been placed with research teams of faculty, postdocs, and graduate students working on the transdisciplinary research program in Vermont. Read more about this year's interns below!


Danya AbdelHameid
Danya AbdelHameid is a sophomore at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia, majoring in Geology. She is interested in the broad field of hydrology, and more specifically flooding and water resource management. This summer she will be working in the Bioretention Lab studying the impact of a Bioretention cell or rain garden, a form of Green Stormwater Infastructure (GSI), on water quality.


Alex Adamski
Bio coming soon….


Laura Bashor
My name is Laura Bashor, and I’m a rising junior at Middlebury College majoring in biology. This summer I am working with Dr. Sallie Sheldon at Middlebury College studying sediment deposition and the presence of aquatic macrophytes at stream deltas along Lake Champlain. A better understanding of the movement of sediments into Lake Champlain and how native aquatic plants may contribute to slowing this movement is extremely relevant in light of the lake’s rapid phosphorus enrichment due to agricultural runoff.


Emily Berry
My name is Emily Berry and I am a rising senior at Colby College in Waterville, Maine. I am majoring in Environmental Science with a minor in Education. This summer I am working with Trevor Gearhart at the Rubenstein Lab at UVM studying the dynamics of phytoplankton communities in different sites around Lake Champlain and Shelburne Bay.


Kateri Bisceglio
My name is Kateri Bisceglio and I am a senior in the Environmental Science Program at Johnson State College. I am a part of Bob Genter's Microbial Source Water Tracking team assessing nitrogen, phosphorous and E. coli levels in nineteen stream sites located in the Lamoille River Basin.



Hannah Boudreau
My name is Hannah Boudreau and I’m a senior at the University of Vermont. I’m finishing up a major in Environmental Science and three minors, Biology, Chemistry, and Geospatial Technologies. This summer I will be working with Don Ross and my mentor Vanesa Perillo on phosphorus in soil in different land usages in the Missisquoi watershed. I’m very excited to gain more experience in sampling and lab procedures.


Sean Brennan
My name is Sean Brennan, I am a rising senior studying Environmental Engineering at the University of Vermont. This is my second summer conducting research with Vermont EPSCoR as well as my second summer performing field work and collecting data in the Mad River Valley. My main goals are to quantify soil strength along stream banks with varying vegetation types and correlate stream bank failure to stream and ground water levels. Thus far my research experience has been a highlight of my undergrad career.


Erin Buckley
My name is Erin Buckley, and I am a rising junior at Saint Michael’s College. I am majoring in environmental science and minoring in biology and peace and justice. This summer I am lucky enough to work in the Plant and Soil Sciences Lab at University of Vermont under the direction of Don Ross and Vanesa Perillo, studying the way in which different land uses effect the transformation of organic phosphorus through the Missisquoi watershed. In conjunction with the data analyzed on site and in the lab, I will be working with Farrah Fatemi at Saint Michael’s College to measure microbial phosphorus using soil samples collected throughout the summer.


Brynn Cairns
I am a sophomore Biology major at Johnson State College. This summer I am working at JSC with Dr. Genter analyzing the water quality of rivers in the Lamoille River Valley. Our team is studying Nitrogen and Phosphorous levels in the rivers, as well as E. coli growth from water samples. This work will help us to understand how land use around rivers affects water quality and bacterial growth.


Jake Carrasquillo Rodriguez
My name is Jake W. Carrasquillo Rodriguez, I’m going to be a sophomore this August. My major is Cell Molecular Biology at the Metropolitan University in Puerto Rico. This summer I’ll be working on Harmful Algal Bloom and Biogeochemistry in Lake Champlain with Dr. Yaoyang Xu and Peter Isles. I’m excited about this opportunity and ready to have a great experience.


Elijah Clark
My name Elijah, I am a Sustainable Studies major from Lyndon State college; I am interested in Bio remediation, ecological engineering, along with alternative forms of energy production. I will be assisting with a Micro-climate Evaluation of the state of Vermont during my internship this year.


Chelsea Cole
My name is Chelsea Cole. I am a fifth year student at Johnson State College majoring in Biology with a secondary licensure. This is my second summer with the EPSCoR program and I am so glad to be back! I am continuing my research in Robert Genter's Stream Lab at Johnson State College looking at stream pollution through a variety of factors. We measure phosphorus and nitrogen levels within the tributaries of the Lamoille River. We also grow cultures of E. coli from samples taken in the stream bank soil to determine the various species and potential sources of E. coli present in our rivers.


Lindsay Cotnoir
My name is Lindsay Cotnoir, and I am a rising senior at the University of Vermont, where I am majoring in Environmental Science and minoring in Wildlife Biology. I am working with Dr. Stephanie Hurley and Paliza Shrestha on the water quality analysis project for the bioretention stormwater treatment lab this summer. I am excited about getting my hands dirty and being a part of this applicable research, especially in the face of current management efforts for improving the health of Lake Champlain.


Jordan Davis
My name is Jordan Davis and I am a rising senior at the University of Vermont in the College of Arts and Sciences. I have a major in Environmental Studies with a minor in Forestry. This summer I am working with Dr. Carol Adair of the Rubinstein School of Environment and Natural Resources on the Northern Forest Mesocosm Climate Change Experiment at the Forest Sciences laboratory in South Burlington.


Monica Dorsey
My name is Monica Dorsey; I’m a rising senior studying Environmental Studies and French at the University of Connecticut. This summer I have the opportunity to work with Dr. Clare Ginger and Dr. Richard Kujawa on examining Act 250, Vermont’s land use and permitting law, and its effect on water quality in Lake Champlain.


Noah El-Naboulsi
Bio coming soon….


Mohamed Fofana
I am a senior Biochemistry major at Saint Michael’s College, originally from New Jersey. I plan on going to medical school after I graduate. Some of my favorite activities include traveling, exercising, and playing basketball and soccer.


Nicolas Gomez Andujar
My name is Nicolás Gómez Andújar and I am a senior undergraduate student majoring in Environmental Science at the University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras Campus. This summer I will be working with mentor Dr. Yu-shiou Tsai on evaluating an Interactive Land Use Transition Agent-based Model on the Missisquoi River watershed, in order to better comprehend how land cover trajectories over time are impacted by the relationships between biophysical and socioeconomic variables. I enjoy reading, hiking and especially water activities. Therefore, Lake Champlain's stunning scenery couldn't develop a more wonderful experience!


Alayna Hauke
My name is Alayna Hauke. I am a senior at the University of Rochester majoring in biochemistry and math with a minor in chemistry. I am working with Peter Isles and Dr. Yaoyang Xu on phytoplankton data in order to look at the effects of algal blooms in Missisquoi Bay.


Brendan Hennessey
My name is Brendan Hennessey and I am a rising senior at the University of Vermont. My major is Geography with a minor in Geospatial Technology. I will be working with Dr. Beverly Wemple to examine nutrient and sediment loading in the Missisquoi watershed. I am excited to be able to use GIS to address issues of water quality, as it closely relates to my planned thesis topic for the upcoming academic year.


Erin Irons
My name is Erin Irons, and I am a rising senior at Saint Michael's College with a double major in History and Political Science. This summer I am working with the Q3 Team on governance and policy. I will be working with Dr. Hamed on our project "Twitter Networks for Climate Change," and we will be using data mining techniques to gain a sense of public sentiment towards climate change on Twitter. I am really excited for this summer because my research with RACC is outside of my fields of study but allows me to study one of my greatest interests! I am incredibly interested in environmental policy, and I hope to go onto graduate school to earn a degree in public policy to continue doing work similar to my research this summer.


Kaylee Jackson
My name is Kaylee Jackson, and I am a rising junior at Saint Michael’s College studying Biology. I am working at Saint Michael’s in the Water Quality Lab under Janel Roberge, looking at the total suspended solids (TSS) in both the Missisquoi and Winooski watersheds. I am very excited to have the opportunity to look at water quality and develop both lab and field skills with EPSCoR. In the future I am hoping to move to North Carolina and continue working with water quality.


Alia Johnson
My name is Alia Johnson and I'm a rising senior majoring in biology and geography at Middlebury College. I am excited to be working with Dr. Ibrahim Mohammed using GIS and R to analyze data on algae blooms in Lake Champlain. I am looking forward to learning more about hydrological modeling and how to analyze hydrological data. When I’m not working on research this summer, I’m hoping to be exploring the greater Lake Champlain watershed from the Adirondacks, to the Greens, to the lake itself!


Erica Kamerzel
My name is Erica Kamerzel, and I am a rising senior at Saint Michael’s College studying Economics, with minors in Philosophy and French. This summer, I will be looking at Vermont’s Act 250 with Profs. Clare Ginger and Richard Kujawa at the University of Vermont. I am excited to have the opportunity to work under EPSCoR’s RACC program and hope to gain valuable research experience in environmental policy before graduating this spring.


Roy Karros
Hi, my name is Roy Karros. I’m currently between schools, having graduated from Landmark College early with an Associates of Science, and hope to attend Johnson State College in the fall. This summer I have the opportunity to work with Professor Declan McCabe examine macroinvertebrate populations in the surrounding Lake Champlain watershed. This internship is allowing me to gain both lab and field experience that I hope to apply later on in life.


Amanda Keilty
I am a sophomore at Johnson State College and have a passion for protecting organisms that live on this planet. I am enthusiastic to expand my knowledge in the sciences and gain field research experience. My goal is to keep our environment healthy, while being the best person I can be. This summer I am working in Dr. Robert Genter's lab. We will be conducting water quality research of 19 streams within the Lamoille River Basin. We will collect both stream and interstitial water samples and look at how much Escherichia coli is in the water as well as, levels of nitrogen and phosphorus.


Joshua Klavens
I am Joshua Klavens and I am definitely going to save the world. I hail from Green Mountain College, home to a bunch of other people who are also going to save the world, where I study world-saving. (Environmental studies in my case, but there are many ways). At EPSCoR I'm working with my coworker Jacob Page and my mentor Gabriela Bucini. Gabriela is the best mentor and could defeat the other mentors in single combat unquestioningly. Our job is to compile data on temperature and precipitation in to climate change models that will be used to build action strategies in response to climate change and better tend to our ailing natural world. Evil doesn't stand a chance.


Hannah Klein
My name is Hannah Klein. I am a senior at UVM in the College of Arts and Science. I major in Environmental Science with a concentration in Ecological design and Film with a minor in English. I am working in the Bioretention Lab.


Meagan Leduc
My name is Meagan Leduc, I’ll be senior this coming year at Lyndon State College with a major in Environmental Science and minors in Biology, Chemistry, and Geology. This summer I’ll be working with the Question 1 research team under Dr. DongJoo Joung at the University of Vermont. We will be looking at the biogeochemistry cycles of nutrient and trace metals in the Missisquoi Bay and Shelburne Pond. I am excited to be a part of EPSCoR’s RACC program and further my knowledge of nutrient cycles, field research, and technical lab skills.


Solomon Raskin
My name is Solomon Raskin and I grew up in Hardwick, Vermont. I have always been interested in the outdoors, which is why this program was appealing to me. In my free time I try to stay outside. I bike, boat and snowboard when I can. I am currently in pursuit of an associates' degree in Environmental Science at the CCV in Winooski, which I will use to try for a bachelors' in Resource Ecology at UVM.



Kristen McCarthy
My name is Kristen McCarthy and I am going to be a senior at Saint Michael's College. I am from Wrentham, Massachusetts and have a double major in Mathematics and Environmental Studies with a minor in Chemistry. I will be working on Continuous Water Quality Monitoring in the Lake Champlain Basin at the University of Vermont under the direction of Matt Vaughan, Ryan Sleeper, Dr. Andrew Schroth, and Dr. Andy Vermilyea. I am excited to be working in the Rubenstein Lab and with water resources in general and am ready for an interesting, informative, and fun summer here in Vermont.


Lorraine McChesney
My name is Lorraine McChesney and I am a rising senior at Texas A&M University majoring in Environmental Geoscience and minoring in GIS. I am very excited to spend the summer in Vermont and be working with Dr. Ibrahim Mohammed and working with GIS and R with the hopes to find relationships between blue green algal bloom data and meteorological conditions. When I am not working on the project I enjoy live music and exploring the outdoors.


Harrison Miller
My name is Harrison Miller and I am a rising senior at St. Michael’s College studying biology with a minor in chemistry. This summer I will be working with Professor Andrew Schroth and PhD student Matt Vaughan on analyzing dissolved organic carbon, dissolved oxygen and monitoring other compounds in various streams around Vermont using sensors.


Alexander Morton
Hi, my name is Alex Morton. I am studying Environmental Engineering and Community International Development at the University of Vermont. I am lucky enough to have been awarded this opportunity for the second year in a row. This year, I will be working with Dr. Beverley Wemple, Dr. Don Ross, and a team of interns within the Missisquoi Watershed. We will work on various projects surrounding water quality, soil testing, and hydrological modeling. I am excited to be a part of this program again and am looking forward to gaining new experiences in the field and in the lab!


Marissa Ng
My name is Marissa Ng, and I am a senior at the University of Vermont. I study biology and have a minor in history. This summer I am working with Dr. Carol Adair on the Northern Forest Mesocosm Project (NForM). NForM is a forest warming experiment incorporating both soil and plant dynamics in a changing climate.


Jakob O’Neal
Hello, my name is Jakob O'Neal, and I am a rising sophomore at Landmark College. My hope is to graduate from Landmark in the spring of 2016 with an associate's degree in Liberal Arts. After that, I want to transfer to another institution to pursue a bachelor's degree in both music and another major (I am still unsure about what that second major will specifically be). This summer, I am interning at St. Michael's College with Professor Declan McCabe and a team of five other undergraduate interns. What we already know is that the nutrient content of a macroinvertebrate's habitat affects them in some manner. Therefore, we are attempting to see if the water quality of the watershed from storms and sedimentation will have a connection to the population counts of the macroinvertebrates we identify. From this data, we may be able to theorize how the nutrient content of watershed is altering and how that is subsequently affecting macroinvertebrate populations. Environmental science is a broad topic, and one that is ripe for exploration. I feel that this opportunity will be a great way for me to get my feet wet in the subject, and in addition, it may aid me in honing in on what I may want to pursue as I continue my education.


Jacob Page
Hi, my name is Jacob Page. I am currently studying Environmental Science at the Community College of Vermont in Winooski. I am excited to be working with Dr. Gabriela Bucini and other team members on Evaluation of Downscaling Methods for Climate Data. Our goal is to generate fine-scale climate projections starting from coarse-scale climate data from general circulation models. The downscaled projections will be used by other RACC research teams to gain a better understanding of climate change and modeling within the context of impacts and adaptation in the Lake Champlain Basin.


Sephorah Pierre
Hello! My name is Sephorah Pierre and I am a rising senior at Saint Michael’s College where I am currently a Biology and Philosophy double major. This summer I will be working with Declan McCabe, studying the effects of sedimentation and storm events on macroinvertebrate communities in the Lake Champlain watershed. I am honored to be presented with this opportunity to participate in the VT EPSCoR RACC internship program at Saint Michael's College. In the near future, I plan to pursue a career in Environmental Law.


Jelissa Reynoso Garcia
My name is Jelissa Reynoso García and I am a student from the University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras Campus. My bachelor degree is in Interdisciplinary Science. My research project in the University of Vermont is "Water Quality Analysis for Bioretention Stormwater Treatment Lab" and I will be working with Dr. Stephanie Hurley and Paliza Shrestha, a PhD Student. The research is about eight bioretention cells, a nature-based technology, and how this can be effective in mitigating detrimental runoff characteristics. This is very important because runoff cause problems within our watersheds, including flooding, erosion, lack of ground water and aquatic habitat destruction. The stormwater quality is compromised in several ways during impervious overland flow. Deposited soils and wear particles from buildings, vehicles, and pavements are mobilized and transport excess of big nutrient like phosphorous and nitrogen compounds and heavy metals that can create pollution in water, for example eutrophication. At the lab we are studying the internal pollutant removal mechanisms of the bioretention systems before they travel downstream to Lake Champlain and how different experimental treatment and design variables affect pollutant removal. Water and soil samples are collected and analyzed for nutrients, total suspended solids, heavy metals and greenhouse gases.


Wimara Rubia Sa Gomes
My name is Wimara Rubia Sa Gomes and I am an exchange student at University of Vermont. I am from Brazil and my major is Civil Engineering. I am in Vermont since last August. This summer I will be working with Dr. Rizzo and her PhD students Scott Hamshaw and Kristen Underwood in the Mad River Watershed studying sediment transportation and its relation with phosphorus. It is an amazing opportunity to get to know other landscapes in Vermont and to aggregate knowledge from another area of study.


Molly Sargent
Bio coming soon….


Melissa Segall
My name is Melissa Segall, I am a senior in Lyndon State College’s Atmospheric Science department. This summer I will be working with Dr. Bacchus on Microclimate Evaluation in Vermont. In my spare time I take part in a group recently created at LSC called Climate Change Assemblies, where we give presentations to the public and younger students educating them on climate change.


Nathalie Simoes
Hi! I’m Nathalie Simoes, a junior Environmental Geoscience major at Texas A&M. Here at UVM I am working Dr. Donna Rizzo and graduate student Kristen Underwood on a tracer study to quantify sources of sediment in the Mad River, and also on learning different modeling techniques. I am excited to go work in the field and experience Vermont!


Ethan Strayer
Bio coming soon….


Grant Taylor
I am a 34 year old Vermont native living in Burlington. I love to play soccer, snowboard, listen to live music, and volunteer in the community.

I volunteer some of my time with the South Burlington Energy Committee as they are competing in the Georgetown University Energy Prize. The competition is between 50 finalist cities in the USA; the challenge is to reduce municipal and residential electric and natural gas use in a replicable and scalable way. The winning city gets $5,000,000!

I am currently a student at the Community College of Vermont working on my Associate's Degree in Environmental Science with a focus in Sustainable Building Technology. During the last few years my interest in environmental policy, sustainable community development, and integrated design has developed and grown substantially. This interest coupled with my volunteer work with the energy committee spurred my further interest in the EPSCoR and RACC programs.

I am very happy to have been selected to participate in the 2015 EPSCoR program as an intern. I see very clear connections between the work that Vermont EPSCoR is doing and developing environmental policy in my home state of Vermont. The training, education, and experience I am getting through this internship will be immensely helpful in my future occupations."


Zachary Walker
My name is Zachary Walker and I am a senior at the University of Vermont. I am studying Environmental Science with a concentration in conservation biology. This summer I am working with Dr. Carol Adair and Lindsay Barbieri to investigate subsurface flow of nitrogen, phosphorus and other chemicals on two agricultural sites in North Williston and Shelburne to determine the ecologically-best farming strategy for the environment, with both sites containing two fields managed in ways that impact the environment differently. I have a great amount of interest in conservation and I believe that this project will help me learn how to approach objectives of this nature.


Mariah Witas
My name is Mariah Witas and I am a rising sophomore at Saint Michael’s College, where I am studying Biology. I am originally from western Maine and I am looking forward to my very first summer in Vermont. This summer, I am working as an intern in the EPSCoR Water Quality Lab under Janel Roberge, where my fellow interns and I will be testing water samples for total suspended solids. I am looking forward to gaining experience in the lab that I will be able to use in my future endeavors.


Arkia Wynn
Hi, my name is Arkia Wynn; I am a junior at University of Rhode Island majoring in Environmental Natural Resource Economics with a Minor in Marine Biology. At UVM I will be working with Dr. Scott Merrill to simulate a game that models farmer’s decision making in fertilizer run-off based off various uncertainties or policies. I am very excited to being able to participate in the VT EPSCoR NEWrnet internship program this year!


Hope Zabronsky
My name is Hope Zabronsky and I am a rising senior at the University of Vermont studying environmental studies with a self-designed concentration in policy, law, and conservation studies. This summer I am working with Dr. Yushiou as part of the Q3 project team using an Interactive Land Use Transition Agent-Based Model to study the effects of management policies and land use changes on the Lake Champlain Basin’s human and natural systems. My independent research project will involve evaluating the effectiveness of three agricultural Best Management Practices (BMPs) in reducing phosphorus concentrations into the Missisquoi Watershed.