2017 BREE Summer Interns Bios


30 BREE summer interns work with faculty and graduate students working on the transdisciplinary BREE research program. Read more about this year's interns below!

My name is Thomas Adler and I am a rising senior at the University of Vermont. I am studying Environmental Engineering, and this summer I will be doing research with Vermont EPSCOR in regards to the influence of soil biogeochemical processes on stream water quality. I am excited for the opportunity to gain field experience installing sensors and lab experience analyzing data.

Hello everyone! My name is Carla N. Ayala Crespo and I’m from Canóvanas, Puerto Rico. I’m a junior pursuing a major in Environmental Sciences at the University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras Campus. I plan to start my graduate journey in a field related to aquatic ecosystem conservation and management. One of the main reasons why I chose this career path is for its interdisciplinary nature. I can work outside in the field collecting data, and in a lab analyzing it. Becoming an aquatic ecologist would give me the opportunity to experience these two work environments, which I enjoy. This summer I’ll be working at St. Michael’s in the Water Quality Lab with Declan McCabe and Janel Roberge.

Hello, my name is Bridger Banco, and I will be a sophomore in the fall of 2017 at the University of Vermont in the College of Engineering and Mathematical Sciences. I am currently majoring in Environmental Engineering with a minor in Environmental Studies. This summer I am working at UVM with Saul Blocher and Andrew Schroth on the Watershed and Lake Biogeochemistry team. I am eager to participate in the collection of water quality data on Lake Champlain, and hope the information we find will contribute to improving the health of the Lake Champlain watershed.

Jeralyn Carmichael is a rising senior majoring in Biology at Columbus State University. She will be working with Dr. Clare Ginger and Dr. Richard Kujawa on evaluating Vermont's Act 250 and the effects that the law has on Lake Champlain.

My name is Mikayla Castillo. I am an incoming freshman from Phoenix, Arizona. My majors are Mechanical Engineering, Environmental Engineering and Engineering Management. As a member of the Water Quality Lab with Declan McCabe and Janel Roberge, I will be evaluating the water quality in the Lake Champlain Basin during this summer's internship.

Hi my name is Maria Culotta. I am a rising Junior at Landmark College. I will graduate at the end of the Fall semester 2017 with my Associates Degree in Liberal Studies. I plan to transfer to another university to receive my Bachelor’s Degree in Biology and hopefully a minor in Television/Broadcasting. I am working for Vermont EPSCoR as a member of the Institutional Network Analysis Team which is mentored by Christopher Koliba. I am looking forward to assisting in the collection of institutional data which will be added to an analysis of the region’s governance of water quality and water quantity.

My name is Gemma Del Rossi and I am a rising senior at the University of Vermont, where I am double majoring in Environmental Studies and Community & International Development, with a concentration in Environmental Policy and Development (it’s a mouthful I know!). This summer I will be working with the Integrated Assessment Modelling Group at UVM under the direction of Dr. Asim Zia. I will be researching institutional programs of Best Management Practices (BMPs) aimed at reducing the phosphorus runoff from agricultural landscapes and how perceptions of these BMP’s fit into the fully integrated BREE model. I am looking forward to a fun summer of research!

My name is Alexis Doreste and I am an upcoming sophomore in Boston University. I plan to major in Computer Science in hopes of acquiring a technical background in programming before delving into the field of Media Studies—where my background will help me understand the critical implications of New & Interactive Media. I was born in Mayagüez, Puerto Rico, but I lived most of my life in the island’s northwestern municipality of Isabela. For the Vermont EPSCoR Basin Resilience to Extreme Events program I will be participating in the Policy and Land Administration project with Dr. Richard Kujawa and Dr. Richard Clark.

My name is Harris Eidelman. I am a rising junior at Clark University in Worcester, MA. I'm majoring in Environmental Science and minoring in Geography and Spanish. When I finish my undergraduate work, I plan on pursuing a master's degree in Geographic Information Science. This summer I will be analyzing winter storm data from two watershed stations to understand and evaluate the significance of extreme precipitation events. I'm excited to be working with Professor Tania Bacchus and other interns on this meaningful research!

My name is Ricardo Feliciano Rivera. I was born in Bayamon, Puerto Rico and am majoring in Chemistry at the University of Puerto Rico, Mayagüez Campus. Over the summer I'm going to be working on the project that focuses on Watershed and Soil Biogeochemistry and Linkages to Water Quality at The University of Vermont. Working on this internship will help me get more integrated to the BREE program and hopefully continue working with them through the years; the project itself will be a great experience and a factor that could help me decide in what area of study I want to specialize and base my graduate studies on.

My name is Celia Fisher, and I am a rising junior in the Atmospheric Sciences department at Lyndon State College and am also minoring in Mathematics and Physics. This summer I will be working at the University of Vermont under the mentorship of Jory Hecht and will be examining and modeling the frequency of extreme precipitation events in the Lake Champlain basin and contributing to the Integrated Assessment Model (IAM). This is my first experience in research and I am very excited to be a part of this amazing group of students and mentors.

Benjamin Frechette is a rising senior in the atmospheric sciences department at Lyndon State College. He will be working with Dr. Hanrahan at Lyndon State College to develop a foundation for a model that will be capable of forecasting the frequency of extreme precipitation events over the Lake Champlain basin. This work will allow the rest of the BREE team to simulate how various aspects of their research may be impacted by external meteorological factors (such as climate change) over a long period of time.

My name is Adrian Heath and I am from Gardiner, Maine. In the fall I will be a Junior at Colgate University where I am majoring in Geology and minoring in Geography. This summer I will be working under Dr. Arne Bomblies as the Stormwater Modeling GIS Support intern. This entails integrating drainage system information into a Stormwater Management Model and providing Geographic Information Systems support for model development in the Lake Champlain Basin. I am very excited to gain experience performing research and working with GIS.

Hi, my name is Amanda Jackson Mojica. I'm currently studying Chemical Engineering with a certification in Environmental Science at the University of Puerto Rico, Mayagüez campues. This summer I will be working as an intern at University of Vermont with Carol Adair. I'm part of the Mayagüez soccer team and enjoy going outside in my leisure time.

My name is Karla Larios and I am a rising sophomore at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, NJ, majoring in biochemistry. This summer, I will be working on the Integrated Assessment Model, studying how to best manage potential risks in the face of extreme weather conditions. This project will provide me with a more holistic view of climate change, risk management, and resilience to natural hazards.

My name is Sara Mecca. I will be transferring to UVM from CCV next year to study environmental science with an emphasis on natural resources and conservation. I am particularly interested in mycoremediation and my long term plan is to pursue a career in mycology. I look forward to doing research on soil biogeochemistry this summer and learning more about the movement of nutrients through our wetlands. I love music, cooking, tromping through the woods, and being with my family.

Sara Nethercutt is a junior attending Tulane University majoring in Environmental Science and Geology. This summer she will be working with Professors Tom and Pat Manley at Middlebury College on better understanding the sediment processes in St. Albans Bay in relation to recent eutrophication events.

My name Ilán J. Nieves Gómez and I am a physics student at the University of Puerto Rico Rio Piedras Campus. This summer, I am working with Tania Bacchus in the Microclimate Evaluation team in Johnson State College evaluating storm/exceptional events data compiled from the St. Johnsbury and Burlington stations since 1800's. I am grateful and excited for this experience.

Eli is part of the Middlebury College class of 2017.5, and will be working with Drs. Pat & Tom Manley on Lake Hydrodynamics and Bottom Bathymetric Analysis of Lake Champlain. He is interested in fluvial geomorphology and physical volcanology. Outside of school he is part of the Middlebury Cycling Team, and is often found riding his bike in the Green Mountains mumbling something about the size of the boulders in Middlebury Gorge.

Kunal Palawat is a rising Senior in the Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources at the University of Vermont with a major in Environmental Science with a concentration in Agriculture and minors in Soil Science and Plant Biology. He is interested in fields of biogeochemistry, soil science, food systems, and bioremediation. Kunal is working in the Soil Biogeochemistry and Water Quality lab this summer with Dr. Carol Adair and is looking forward to studying how extreme events affect nutrient cycling in various parts of the Lake Champlain Basin. He hopes to continue this work after this summer through graduate school, eventually going into teaching. Kunal spends his free time giving tours of campus, gardening, doing pottery, cooking, and eating potato chips. His personality vegetable is rhubarb, he bakes fantastic vegan cookies, enjoys long walks on the beach, and loves diamond rings.

My name is Emily Piersiak and I am a sophomore at the University of Vermont studying Environmental Science with a minor in German. This summer I will be researching Watershed and Soil Biogeochemistry with Linkages to Water Quality. I look forward to learning more about how agricultural land use affects the water quality, and how the river systems work to clean the water.

My name is Cameron Pratt. As a native Vermonter I am about as stereotypical as they come. I snowboard, hunt, played small town football (coached it too!), and I have family members who have been sugaring for as long as I can remember. My studies took me through Wells Elementary, Poultney High, and at present I will be a Senior at Castleton University where I am majoring in Political Science. I also recently returned from studying abroad in Edinburgh, Scotland during the Spring 2017 semester where I was able to experience much of what the world had to offer via travels to Italy, Spain, Netherlands, Denmark, Norway, and Northern Ireland. That being said I have and continue to care deeply about the health of my home and its environment. Being part of the BREE program at EPSCoR is a huge opportunity for me to do some work that will have a tangible effect on the water quality of my state. I look forward to working with Dr. Chris Koliba and the Institutional Network Analysis team at UVM.

My name is Matthew Reale-Hatem, and I study at Pomona College, which is located in Claremont, CA, to the east of LA near the San Gabriel Mountains. This summer, I am working with Professor Gibson of UVM to build a computable general equilibrium model for the BREE project. This economic model will use social accounting matrices from Vermont and New York to analyze the regional economic data for use in the Social Systems Group component of BREE. I am excited to gain economic research experience and learn more about how to best preserve Vermont's natural resources as part of an interdisciplinary team.

Hello everyone! My name is Yahaira Sánchez Viruet. I am a 4th year undergraduate student at University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras Campus majoring in Geography with a focus in Physical and Environmental Geography and Technological Applications. Over the summer, I will be working on a collaborative project with Dr. Tom Manley, analyzing the hydrodynamics and bottom bathymetry of Lake Champlain. Part of the scheduled activities include camping on Burton Island, a thrilling experience which I am enthusiastically looking forward to.

My name is Ashley Sanders; I am a sophomore at Castleton University majoring in Environmental Science. I am excited to work with Dr. Andrew Vermilyea this summer researching photochemistry of dissolved organic carbon and understanding the importance of sunlight transforming carbon nutrients from various watersheds. This internship will allow me to gain and strengthen skills in both lab and field environments.

Hello! I’m Toby Smith, a rising senior at the University of Vermont, majoring in environmental science with a focus on global climate change. I’m also minoring in geospatial technologies and music. I’m interested in understanding the processes that govern our world and strive to find ways to mitigate the effects of climate change. This summer I will be researching how extreme events affect water quality in the Lake Champlain basin. Alongside environmental sciences my hobbies and passions include playing guitar, hiking, and skiing. I and captivated by the outdoors and my goal is to preserve them so that future generations can have the ability to enjoy the outdoors as well.

My name is Ernesto J. Vázquez Nevárez, I’m a sophomore at University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras Campus. I am majoring in Chemistry to hopefully enter medical school in the future. This summer I’ll be working with Dr. Andy Vermilyea on the Photochemistry of Dissolved Organic Carbon. I can’t wait to begin this new experience and have a great time discovering the wonders of the world that surrounds us.

My name is Shareily M. Vázquez Lago, I’m going to be a senior this August. My major is Environmental Science at Universidad Metropolitana in Puerto Rico. This summer I’ll be working on the Water Quality Lab project with faculty advisor Declan McCabe and research technician Janel Roberge. I’m very excited for this opportunity and to have a great experience.

My name is Colleen Yancey and I am a rising senior studying biological science at the University of Vermont. This summer I will be working in the Watershed and Soil Biogeochemistry and Linkages to Water Quality Group under Carol Adair. I am specifically interested in how soil nutrients are effected by extreme events and how these events cause them to leach in water systems in the Lake Champlain Basin. An additional interest of mine is how soil microbiomes are disrupted by extreme events and how this phenomena can impact immediate ecosystem communities.

My name is Kevin Ziegler and I am a rising senior with a Double major in Computer Science and Biology at the University of Alabama; currently I plan to pursue a master’s degree in Computer Science. This summer I will be working as part of the Climate Modeling and Analysis team at Lyndon State College with Dr. Hanrahan. I hope this internship will clarify if going to graduate school is the correct choice for me and I hope my work will better inform policy makers about environmental decisions.