People

Graduate Students

The graduate students of the department are listed alphabetically below, along with the degree program they are in and their major advisor. For some, the graduate student name is also a link to a detailed description of the research in which that individual is engaged.

Aoki, Lillian  · Ph.D. (McGlathery) · Ecology

Lillian Aoki has a BA in Chemistry and History from Cornell University. She has studied carbon cycling in tidal marshes and boreal peatlands, and has spent time working in Washington, D.C., on science policy and science education. She will be studying seagrass ecology and biogeochemistry at the VCR-LTER on the Eastern shore.

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Babic, Nevio  · Ph.D. (DeWekker) · Atmospheric Sciences

Nevio earned a BS in Physics-Geophysics from the University of Zagreb, Croatia, as well as an MS in Meteorology and Physical Oceanography. He studied microscale properties of the bora downslope windstorm at the eastern Adriatic coast, by investigating vertical momentum and heat flux divergences. For his PhD, Nevio will look at the characteristics of the […]

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Barry, Laura  · Ph.D. (Pusede) · Atmospheric Sciences
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Berger, Amelie Cecile  · Ph.D. (Berg) · Ecology

Amelie earned a BS degree in environmental geoscience from Texas A&M University. Her dissertation research now focuses on the ecology of seagrass meadows in the shallow coastal bays of the VCR-LTER. She is using the eddy covariance technique to quantify whole-system metabolism in a seagrass meadow during its recovery from a die-off event that occurred […]

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Besterman, Alice  · Ph.D. (Pace) · Ecology

Alice completed her B.S. in Environmental Studies at Virginia Commonwealth University. She is broadly interested in community and ecosystem ecology, particularly in coastal habitats. Alice works out of the VCR LTER studying various impacts of the non-native macroalgae, Gracilaria vermiculophylla. She is interested in how non-trophic interactions between Gracilaria and other organisms on intertidal mudflats lead to ecosystem level […]

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Buelo, Cal  · Ph.D. (Pace)

Early warning indicators of regime shifts

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Cai, Junyi  · M.A. (Macko) · Ecology
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Cook, Brynn  · Ph.D. (Roulston) · Ecology

Brynn Cook earned a BS degree in environmental sciences at the University of California Berkeley, before continuing her education as a PhD student at the University of Virginia in 2013.  Brynn’s research  focuses on native bee populations’ nesting and foraging dynamics in agricultural settings. Brynn conducts her fieldwork at Blandy Experimental Farm, Boyce VA.

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Coughlin, Katherine  · M.S. (Scanlon) · Hydrology

Originally from Syracuse, N.Y., Katherine graduated from Hobart and William Smith Colleges with a B.S. in Geoscience and minor in Environmental Studies. As an undergraduate she conducted research on field-forest microclimates in addition to research on water quality problems in the seven easternmost Finger Lakes. In 2016 she joined the University of Virginia’s Shenandoah Watershed […]

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Dhungel, Shradda  · Ph.D. (Moody) · Atmospheric Sciences

Shradda received her B.S. in Environmental Sciences from Southwest Minnesota State University. She worked as a research assistant helping set-up an atmospheric laboratory in the Himalayas with Dr. Arnico Panday’s group before pursuing her PhD degree at UVA. She looks at the efficiency of mountain valleys as pollutant transport pathways and patterns of pollutant transport […]

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Digiantonio, Gina  · M.S. (Blum & McGlathery) · Ecology

Originally from Iowa, Gina received a BS in biology from Drake University. She is currently pursuing her MS degree in Environmental Sciences at the University of Virginia. As a member of the Blum and McGlathery labs, she is studying coastal ecosystems.

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Fantasia, Christina  · Ph.D. (Macko) · Ecology

Christina Fantasia earned a BS in Biology at Liberty University in Lynchburg, VA, where she concentrated in Environmental Science. She is now working toward obtaining her PhD in Environmental Sciences (Ecology) with Dr. Steve Macko, studying ocean acidification and its effects on bivalves and crustaceans.

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Ferguson,Amy Elaine  · M.S. (Wiberg)

Amy Ferguson earned a BS in Geology from the College of William and Mary, VA in 2010. Her undergraduate research focused on quantifying biofouling community structure on the surface of oyster shells. Amy served in the U.S. Army for several years as an Intelligence Officer; her most recent assignment was with the geospatial-intelligence community. She worked for […]

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Firebaugh, Ariel  · Ph.D. (Haynes) · Ecology

Ariel earned a B.S. in Biology from Roanoke College, a small liberal arts institution outside Roanoke, VA, in 2012. Her undergraduate research described cabbage white butterfly development on garlic mustard, and invasive forest understory plant. After graduation, Ariel evaluated insect biological control agents at the Center for Agricultural Bioscience International in Switzerland and built seed […]

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Fitzsimmons, Ian  · Ph.D. (Macko) · Geosciences
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Frantz, Silas  · M.A. (Macko)
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Grady, Amy  · Ph.D. (Reidenbach/Moore) · Geosciences

Research Project: Predicting long-term impacts of climate change on coral reef degradation and coastal erosion

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Haber, Ariela  · PhD (Carr) · Ecology

Ariela received a B.A. in mathematics from Kenyon College in 2009 and joined the environmental sciences department at UVA in 2011. Her dissertation research examines effects of inbreeding on floral and foliar volatile production in the yellow monkeyflower, Mimulus guttatus, and the consequences of these effects for interactions between M. guttatus and its mutualists (pollinators) […]

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Herrera, Solianna  · M.S. (Pusede) · Atmospheric Sciences
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Hey, Melissa  · Ph.D. (Haynes) · Ecology

Melissa received her B.S. from the College of William & Mary in Virginia in 2015. As an undergraduate, her thesis focused on how intraspecific competition and herbivory affected growth and secondary chemical defenses in common milkweed. Common milkweed serves as a significant food source for the monarch butterfly, and her research sought to delve into […]

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Hogan, Sara  · M.S. (Reidenbach) · Ecology
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Huelsman, Kelsey  · M.S. (Epstein) · Ecology

Kelsey earned a BS in Environmental Science at the University of Virginia, where she also minored in sociology. She then earned a Virginia teaching license in secondary education in Mathematics as well as Earth and Space Science through Shenandoah University. She taught high school mathematics in Loudoun County for two years. Kelsey is excited to […]

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Johnson, Rowan  · Ph.D. (Herman and Mills)
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Kelleher, Mitchell  · M.S. (Grise) · Atmospheric Sciences
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Kent, Kelcy  · M.S. (Epstein) · Ecology

Kelcy received a double B.A. degree in Environmental Sciences and Biology with a concentration in conservation from the University of Virginia. She is passionate about marine zoology and ecology and is currently working with Professor Epstein, pursuing her M.S. in coastal ecology.

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LeCroy, Kathryn  · Ph.D. (Roulston) · Ecology

Kate LeCroy received her B.S. in Biology from Birmingham-Southern College (Birmingham, AL) in 2012. While at Birmingham-Southern, she studied nocturnal moth pollination networks in the ketona dolomite glades of Bibb County, Alabama under the mentorship of Dr. Pete Van Zandt. She also participated in a National Science Foundation Research Experience for Undergraduates program at the […]

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Long, Emily Victoria Scott  · M.S. (Blum)

Victoria received a BS in Environmental Sciences from the University of Virginia in 2015. A native of the Eastern Shore of Virginia, Victoria’s research focuses on the impacts of sea level rise, the salinization of farmland and the potential solutions that may be found in coastal wetlands.

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Long, Sonja  · Ph.D. (Macko/Swap) · Geosciences

Research project: Hyperspectral Remote Sensing Techniques for Stable Isotope Analysis in Plant Matter

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Morgan, Alexander Michael  · Ph.D. (Howard) · geoscience

Planetary geology and desert geomorphology.

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Munyan, Jessica  · M.S. (Scanlon, Pusede) · Atmospheric Sciences

I’m originally from southern New Jersey and earned my BS in Environmental Science from Rider University in 2016. At Rider my research focus was mainly on dendrochronology and using tree ring data from Thomas Jefferson’s Poplar Forest in Virginia to observe past climate patterns and compare them to Jefferson’s weather observations from his own recordings. […]

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Murphy, Elizabeth  · Ph.D. (Reidenbach) · Hydrology

Burrowing marine organisms irrigate their burrows by drawing in oxygenated overlying water. This process alters the chemistry of the surrounding sediment. I study patterns of irrigation in these burrows.           Recent Publications:

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Oreska, Matthew  · Ph.D. (McGlathery) · Ecology

Matthew received undergraduate degrees in geology and economics from the College of William and Mary and a master’s in biology from Cambridge University.  As an ecology PhD student, Matthew studies biogeochemical cycles in coastal ecosystems and their associated ecosystem services.  The “blue carbon” that accumulates in coastal habitats, including the restored seagrass meadows in the […]

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Palomaki, Ross  · M.S. (De Wekker) · Atmospheric Science

Ross is a Utah native with a BS in Mathematics from the University of North Texas. Now at the University of Virginia, he is pursuing an MS in the De Wekker lab group. His research focuses on boundary layer meteorology over complex terrain, including using small multi-rotor copters for atmospheric profiling.

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Parisien, Alexandra  · M.S. (Epstein) · Ecology

Allie, a Blandy Research Fellow, graduated in 2016 from Duke University with a B.S. in Environmental Sciences and a minor in Biology. Her past university lab research has explored positive marine species interactions, fish behavior in the changing habitats of Queensland, Australia, and the interplay between carbon sequestration and land use. Allie also served as […]

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Purdy, Sharon Atirah Wilson  · Ph.D. (Howard)

Sharon investigates the geology and geomorphology of landforms on Mars that were formed and (or) modified by surface water to understand the climate history and habitability of the planet.

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Roe, Stephanie Anna  · Ph.D. (Lawrence) · Ecology

Stephanie is a land use scientist with a BA from San Diego State University and a MEM from Duke University. She has over seven years of experience working for governments, NGOs, the private sector and academia on research, policy design and field implementation of interventions that address climate change, ecosystem conservation, development and food security. […]

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Rose, Nathan Tyler  · M.S. (Herman and Mills)

Nathan Rose earned a BS in Environmental Science from the University of Virginia. For his undergraduate research, he worked with a team of engineering students to developing a multi-rotor UAV outfitted with research grade meteorological and air quality sensors. Additionally, he helped to develop low-cost methane sensors for use around hydraulic fracturing sites. Nathan worked […]

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Saha, Michael  · Ph.D. (D'Odorico and Scanlon) · Hydrology

Land-atmosphere interactions in southern Africa

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Schmidt, Daniel Flint  · M.S. (Grise) · Atmospheric Science

I earned my undergraduate degree in mathematics at Liberty University, and later completed a graduate program in mathematics at Virginia Tech.  This will be my second iteration through graduate school, and I am planning to specialize in climate modeling.

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Slatosky, Amber  · Ph.D. (Roulston) · Ecology

Amber earned her BS in Biology at Idaho State University in 2014. She has joined the Environmental Sciences department at UVA, pursuing her interests in insect ecology.  More information may be found at her website amber.slatosky.com .

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Smith, Jodi Jones  · Ph.D. (Wiberg) · Geosciences
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Stovall, Atticus  · M.S. (Shugart) · Ecology

Atticus graduated from the University of Virginia with a B.A in Environmental Science. His time as an undergraduate was spent researching soil restoration of agricultural land outside of Charlottesville, VA with Dr. Aaron Mills. Soon after graduation, Atticus began work as an intern for the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation where he helped develop a […]

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Sullivan, Heather  · Ph.D. (Macko) · Geosciences

Dissertation title: Tossed at Sea: Plastic Degradation in Aquatic Environments

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Swails, Erin  · Ph.D. (Lawrence) · Ecology

Erin earned a BS in Biology from Duke University and an MSc in Forestry from the University of Wales.  She is investigating how anthropogenic and climate driven changes in water, vegetation, and soil impact carbon emissions from tropical peatlands.  Her work is based in Indonesia with the Center for International Forestry Research.

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Vincent, Catherine  · Ph.D. (Lerdau) · Ecology

Allisa received her B.S. and M.S. in Biology from the University of Alabama.  She is now seeking a PhD in Environmental Sciences (Ecology) in Dr. Manuel Lerdau’s lab studying coastal wetland plant ecology.

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Volaric, Martin  · Ph.D. (Berg & Reidenbach) · Ecology

Martin earned his BS in Environmental Sciences and Economics from the University of Virginia. He is currently studying oyster metabolism using the eddy correlation technique at the VCR-LTER on the Eastern shore.

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Wang, Bin  · Ph.D. (Lerdau and Shugart) · Ecology

Bin, from China, got his Bachelor of Science in Agronomy from Shandong Agricultural University in 2010 and Master of Science in Ecology from Institute of Botany, the Chinese Academy of Sciences in 2013. During the master, he worked on questions concerning the methane (CH4) cycling in terrestrial ecosystems and soil organic matter. Now, he focuses […]

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Woodworth, Gerald  · Ph.D. (Carr) · Ecology

Gerald is a Tennessee native with a B.S. in Biology from Bryan College (2006) and an M.S. in Environmental Science from the University of Tennessee Chattanooga (2010).  He is currently pursuing a Ph.D., with a focus on the direct and indirect effects of White-tailed Deer and their interactions with invasive plants in forest communities.  His […]

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