2014 RACC Undergraduate Intern Bios

Back to photos of the RACC Undergraduate Interns

44 RACC summer interns have been placed with a research team of faculty and graduate students working on the transdisciplinary RACC research program. Read more about this year's interns below!

My name is Nasser Abdel-Fatah and I am a senior at Johnson State College. My major is in Environmental Sciences. I am working on Microclimate Evaluation with Dr. Tania Bacchus to observe climate data from Saint Johnsbury to see if it correlates with data from weather stations in Morrisville and Burlington.


My name is Hanna Anderson and I am a rising senior at The University of Vermont studying Environmental Engineering. This is my second summer having the opportunity to do research, both times working in the Mad River Watershed. I am using terrestrial LiDAR to study the contribution of streambank erosion to sediment loading in streams prior to and after storms. Being able to work on a research project has been the best experience for me during my undergraduate studies, and I am looking forward to another great summer of research.

My name is Frances Arroyo Alvelo and I came from the University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras Campus. I expect to complete a master degree in Environmental Sciences area and continue my graduate studies in Public Health. During this summer I will be working with Dr. Chris Koliba in question 3 that relates the social aspects with the environment and management practices to mitigate and understand environmental issues. Also I will be working with Yu-shio Tsai in the analysis of information related with environmental conditions of the Lake Champlain.

My name is Justin Barton and I am a rising senior at the University of Vermont. I am a Community Entrepreneurship and Community and International Development double major with a minor in Economics. This summer I will be modeling the effect of policy changes related to water quality on the Vermont economy. This is my second summer working for the RACC program and I hope to learn as much this summer as I did the last.


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. I hope that my education and experiences will enable me to have fun, challenging, interactive and outdoorsy jobs in the future!

My name is Sean Brennan and I study environmental engineering in a program between Saint Michael's College and The University of Vermont. The project I am working on this summer is "The Field Validation of Watersheds", I am working closely with Professor Arne Bomblies and PhD student Jody Stryker.


Hi, my name is Katie Bryan, and I am a rising junior at the UVM College of Arts and Sciences. I am majoring in biochemistry, and am very interested in bettering my understanding of the natural world from both a chemical and biological standpoint. I am working with Trevor Gearhart on a hard science aspect of the project this summer, determining the fatty acid composition of phytoplankton and other small organisms and comparing them to other organisms in the vast food web of Lake Champlain.

My name is Nathan Callas, and I am a rising senior at the University of Vermont. I’m majoring in environmental engineering through the College of Engineering and Math Sciences and minoring in music. This summer, I’m working on stream bank stability with Dr. Mandar Dewoolkar and Dr. Donna Rizzo.


Chelsey Cole - Bio coming soon!


My name is Shad Emam. I am a VTC student, and my major is Computer Information Technology. I have a small family that consists of my wife and two wonderful children. I like all different kind of sports. I play racquetball at least once a week with a group of friends. I also like to learn and read about science. I feel that this RACC internship will add a lot to my academic and work experiences.

My name is Barbara E. Fraval and I am pursuing a degree in Biology. Next August I will be a senior in Universidad Metropolitana at Puerto Rico. This is my first time in Vermont EPSCoR RACC Project. During the summer, I will be studying the relationship between lake nutrients and the phytoplankton community. I enjoy everything related to nature.

My name is Aramis Garay Cruz I’m an Environmental Science undergraduate student major rising my junior year in the University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras campus. This summer as part of Q3 team I’ll be working in Agricultural and Act 250 Permit Processes Description and Assessment in how land use policies management and enforcement can affect the water quality in the Lake Champlain Basin with mentors Dr. Chris Koliba and Dr. Steve Scheinert.


My name is Dalton Gomez. I am a senior at Johnson State College studying Integrated Environmental Science and Secondary Education with a math minor. This summer I will be collecting and analyzing data on E. coli and nutrient concentrations in the Lamoille River watershed. In future years, I plan to educate youth in science and its applications to our great state.

My name is Marissa Goodwin; I’m a rising senior in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at the University of Vermont. I’m studying Environmental Science with a concentration in Conservation and Biodiversity and a minor in Animal Science. This summer I have the opportunity to work with graduate student Tyler Goeschel looking at greenhouse gas emissions in agricultural soils. When I’m not working or in school I enjoy hiking, a good book and adventures with friends.

My name is Titania Green and I am a student at Green Mountain College beginning my senior year in the Fall. I am an Environmental Studies and Philosophy major with a concentration in Environmental Law and Policy. This summer I am part of the Q3 research team with Asim Zia, and I will be trying to determine how much revenue is generated from tourism on Lake Champlain. I will also examine how revenue is changing over time in response to the fluctuating water quality of the Lake.

My name is Jackie Guz. I am an environmental studies major at Texas A&M. I will be working in the bioretention lab this summer focusing on rain gardens. I am excited to gain lab experience and learn from those around me.

My name is Daniel Huyer. I am a freshman Environmental Studies major at CCV. I have a Bachelor’s in Dietetics from James Madison University, and am considering completing another so I can on to a Master’s program studying sustainable food systems and environmental policy. I have the privilege of working with the Q3 team studying agricultural land-use decisions.

Hello, my name is Jaleeza Johnson. I am an incoming sophomore at Southern Vermont College. I'm from the capitol region of New York, but Vermont has definitely stolen a space in my heart.

My name is Jack Kilbride and I am a junior at the University of Vermont. I am majoring in Geography and have minors in Geospatial Technologies and Economics. Over the course of the summer, I will be working with Dr. Dupigny-Giroux to utilize historical, metrological, and hydrological data to address flooding in Burlington.


My name is Todd Lantery. I am looking forward to my senior year at Johnson State College (JSC) where I am studying Integrated Environmental Science. I am grateful to be working with Dr. Robert Genter and Saul Blocher at the JSC Streams and Environmental Toxicology Lab. Our team is undertaking research involving Escherichia coli and nutrient loading in the Lamoille River Basin. I plan to further research antibiotic resistant E. coli identified by Jessica Hokenberg, JSC RACC intern, 2013. I enjoy spending quality time with my three children in and around the great waterways of Vermont.

My name is Sarah Leidinger and I am a rising super-senior at the University of Vermont from midcoast Maine. My major is Environmental Science with a concentration in Conservation Biology and Biodiversity and my minors are Geospatial Technologies and Spanish. I am working with Arne Bomblies and Jody Stryker on Question 2 at UVM this summer. My internship will involve the integration of GIS technology and reach surveying techniques to devise a classification scheme for the rivers and streams in the Mad River Watershed based on their stream bank and geomorphological characteristics. Already, this is promising to be a very outdoorsy summer in one of the most beautiful areas of Vermont and I cannot wait to get started!

My name is Natalie Ledue and I am a rising junior at Saint Michael's College, studying Biology with minors in Chemistry and Psychology. I am working under Katie Chang this summer as an intern in the Water Quality Lab at Saint Michael's. Our research is based around collecting water samples tom the Missisquoi and Winooski watersheds and testing the samples for total suspended solids, which helps indicate the quality of the water draining into Lake Champlain. I am honored to be participating in the VT EPSCoR RACC Internship program this year; this internship will contribute to my long-term goal of working within the Public Health field. I am looking forward to spending my first summer in Vermont, as I enjoy exploring and being outside.

Annanelya Levine - Bio coming soon!


My name is Jack Loomis, and I am a rising junior and Environmental Studies major from Saint Michael's College. I am interning in the Water Quality Laboratory at Saint Michael's with Katie Chang as my mentor. We will be testing samples from the Missisquoi and Winooski watersheds for total suspended solids, to determine the quality of the water. Following my time at Saint Michael's, I plan to pursue graduate school, and continue studying the environment and how we interact with it. I enjoy all music, athletics, and most outdoor activities—and I also love writing.

My name is Miranda Madrid and I am a rising senior at the University of Notre Dame, studying Environmental Science with a minor in Peace Studies. I am originally from Fort Worth, Texas so am excited to spend the summer in Vermont. This summer I am working in the Rubenstein Research Laboratory on the chemistry of lake sediments in Missisquoi Bay where I’ll be able to perform field work for the first time. In the future, I am hoping to earn my PhD in Environmental Health and work for the EPA or CDC.

My name is Rachel Markey and I am a rising senior in the Rubenstein School of the Environment and Natural Resources. I am studying Environmental Science and Forestry with a minor in Geospatial Technologies. This summer I am working with Dr. Carol Adair and Ali Kosiba on the Northern Forest Mesocosm (NFoRM) Climate Change Experiment at the Forest Sciences laboratory in South Burlington. I am interested in understanding how warming, reduced snowpack, soil type, and other factors influence the phenology of four different tree species. In the future, I hope to study similar effects of global climate change on tree physiology.

My name is Baxter Miatke and I am a senior Environmental Engineering major at the University of Vermont. This is my second year with RACC studying nutrient loading in Missisquoi River. I am specifically focusing on the spring snow melt period as a critical data set that is currently missing in RACC studies. I am working with Andrew Schroth and the rest of the team at the Rubenstein Ecosystem Science Laboratory, while studying the environmental processes driving nutrient mobility and algal bloom dynamics. When I am not doing research, I enjoy hiking, sailing, skiing, and maple creemes.
(Actually anything maple!) I am also involved with Engineers Without Borders as a project lead for our grey water re-use project in Nicaragua that just returned from our assessment trip this past May. I hope to be a professional engineer in the future and work in water management/remediation practices.

My name is Madison Moran and I am a rising senior in the Rubenstein School of the Environment and Natural Resources at UVM. I am majoring in Natural Resource Planning and minoring in Political Science. I will be working on Q3 with Chris Koliba, Yu-Shio Tsai, and Steve Scheinert on creating a database of Vermont’s Department of Environmental Conservation enforcement actions relating to water quality.

My name is Alex Morton and I am a rising senior studying Environmental Engineering and minoring Community International Development at the University of Vermont. This summer, I am working alongside Dr. Beverley Wemple and Professor Don Ross within the Mountain Hydrology and Water Quality research topic. Specifically, we are looking at the effects of dirt roads in mountainous regions of rural Vermont (within the Mad River watershed) and how it impacts the transportation of sediment and nutrients as well as the overall quality of water. I am ecstatic to have been awarded this internship as it gives me the opportunity to further my interdisciplinary education with practice in field work, lab work, data analysis, and much more. I am very passionate about our environment, looking into improving our nature's resilience, and developing more sustainable, everyday practices. I hope that my summer research with EPSCoR RACC will have a positive impact on the overall efforts to assess the impacts of climate change and land use on hydrological processes and best management practices.


My name is Chelsey Oden and I will be a fourth year student at Texas A&M University this coming fall. My major is Environmental Geosciences with a concentration in coastal and marine environments. I am working with the Q3 research team under Sarah Coleman to analyze adaptive interventions for the Lake Champlain Basin derived from the crowdsourcing solutions to climate change website and scenario workshop.

Hi, I am Némesis Ortiz Declet, an Environmental Sciences Mayor undergraduate student from the University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras Campus. I will be working with Dr. Stockwell and Dr. Wemple on a project that comes from an initiative called Storm Blitz from the Theory Working Group (TTG) of GLEON, the Global Lakes Ecological Observatory Network, which asks questions about how storms impact phytoplankton community composition and succession. This project will become part of an Integrative Assessment Model that links data collection and scientific modeling processes to society through Research on Adaptation to Climate Change. Besides research and environmental community education outreach, I am interested in learning conservation, sustainability, and climate change adaptation strategies in different parts of the world to apply and improve resistance and resilience in Puerto Rico.

My name is Laura Orvis, and I am an Environmental Science - Natural Resources major at the Community College of Vermont. This summer I will be working on project Q1 with Dr. Bob Genter and Saul Blocher, at Johnson State College in the streams lab. Our group will be studying water samples from 19 different stream locations within the Lamoille River watershed. I look forward to learning how land use patterns in various urban, forested, and agricultural areas may have a direct correlation on the eutrophication of nearby water, and which warm-blooded animals are causing it. When I'm not studying our environment I love being a part of it; gardening, traveling, camping in the Adirondacks and spending time with family and friends.

My name is Zach Perzan. I am a rising senior at Middlebury College with a major in geology. This summer, I am working at as a member of the Q1 research team, studying circulation currents in Missisquoi Bay with Drs. Tom and Pat Manley. We will analyze more than a year's worth of circulation data collected from ten Acoustic Doppler Current Profilers (ADCPs) scattered throughout the bay.


Christine is a summer intern with the Research on Adaptation to Climate Change project. She is working with Dr. Jason Stockwell and graduate student Trevor Gearhart on a project testing the hypotheses that a positive linear correlation exists between phytoplankton biodiversity and zooplankton biodiversity, and that phyto- and zooplankton biodiversity are maximized at intermediate lake productivity. She is also assisting Trevor with his graduate project.

My name is Iliansherry Santiago and I am a junior student from the metropolitan University in Puerto Rico. My bachelor degree is in environmental science with a minor in general biology. My research in the University of Vermont is located in the Jeffords Hall building 251 laboratory. This laboratory focuses in Climate Change; plant and soil science. My mentor name is Dr. Stephanie Hurley and some areas of expertise are Watershed Management, Stormwater Hydrology and Landscape Restoration. Two Doctoral students will be guiding me in the course of the research: Paliza Shrestha and Amanda Cording. The research is about eight bioretention cells and how this can help us with the stormwater runoff in urban places. This is important for many reasons in terms of land activity and the impact that have in the water quality in Lake Champlain. The most important connection is that the stormwater runoff arrives to the water drains that finally reach to the Lake Champlain. This mechanism may transport an excess of big nutrient like phosphorous and nitrogen compounds; and heavy metals that are inorganic compound. This excess can create pollution that is showing in the eutrophication and sedimentation in water. For that, those bioretention cells are very important for study because the plants can absorb compound and prevent an excess of pollutant. The research project has three treatments: Precipitation, Soil Media and Vegetation. We will to monitoring the inflow and outflow water, the difference between high and low plants diversity. Measure the big nutrients, total suspended solids and heavy metals. Previously, I am going to focus on comparing heavy metals and other inorganic compounds with low and high plant diversity between some bioretention cells.

My name is Emma Shea, I am a rising senior at the University of Vermont. I am an Environmental Studies major with a concentration in Food, Land, and Community and a minor in Food Systems. This summer I have the opportunity to join the Question 3 team, working with Dr. Steve Scheinert on examining the Act 250 process, and other permitting processes in Vermont that are relevant to water quality management.


My name is Michael Storace and I am a senior at the Rubenstein School of the Environment and Natural Resource at the University of Vermont. I am studying Environmental Studies with a concentration in Law, Policy, Conservation, and Social Systems. Along with this, I am also pursuing a minor in English. This summer I am working with Chris Koliba, Richard Kujawa, Yu-shiou Tsai, Clare Ginger, and Steve Scheinert on Act 250 permitting and its effect on water quality in Lake Champlain.

Hi! My name is Ellen Taylor. I am a rising senior at Middlebury College. I am a Biology/Geology joint major and I am fascinated by the intersection of these two disciplines. This summer I am working with Pat and Tom Manley to study sediment circulation in Missisquoi Bay. I will also be working with Declan McCabe at St. Michael’s College to correlate sediment type to macroinvertebrate populations. In the future, I hope to pursue a PhD in a field involving both geology and biology. Beyond science, I spend most of my time singing and playing the violin.


My name is Jeremy Taylor and I am a senior in the Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources at the University of Vermont. Currently I am pursuing a degree in fisheries biology. This summer I will be working with Peter Isles and Dr. Andrew Schroth on the Q1 team investigating resource limitation and the effects of cyanobacteria blooms within Missisquoi Bay. More specifically, we will be looking at the major effects that high rates of discharge resulting from storm events are having on nutrients within this portion of Lake Champlain. I’m originally from Franklin County, Vermont and love spending my free time out on the water. I’m really excited about working with RACC this summer and being able to conduct research in my own backyard.


Hi, my name is Shirley Von Schmeling. I am originally from Paraguay, and I have been living in New York for 7 years. Currently, I am studying Mathematics Financial Science at the City University of New York - New York City College of Technology in Brooklyn. This summer I will be working at the University of Vermont with Dr. Yushiou Tsai on the project “Categorization of Vermont Large Farm Status”, focusing on statistical modeling and data mining. After I graduate, I plan to pursue a Master's degree in Applied Statistics. While working on my research I am planning to go hiking and biking.


My name is Emily Whalen and I am a senior at the University of Vermont majoring in Environmental Science, with a minor in Spanish. This summer I am working with Carol Adair of the Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources on the Northern Forest Mesocosm Project (NForM). NForM is a forest warming experiment that also looks at the effects of snow exclusion and soil freezing on forest ecosystem dynamics. I am interested in soil science and soil microbiology and hope to create an independent project studying the effects of these treatments on soil microbial activity by measuring carbon dioxide and nitrous oxide fluxes from the soil.