Graduate Students

About

Our biology graduate students work closely with faculty members on research. For information about our graduate students’ research, see below.

For faculty research interests and contact information, see our faculty directory.

Contact Us

Photo of Jj Alvarez

Jj Alvarez

Graduate Student
Daberkow's Lab
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Photo of Seth Barr

Seth Barr

Graduate Student
Spruell's Lab
Photo of Seth Barr
SCI 190

Hello, I’m Seth Barr, I’m a grad student in Dr. Spruell’s fisheries lab. My graduate research is tentatively based on a diet analysis of walleye in Lake Roosevelt, WA. Determining the impact of predation on native and nonnative species as well as a potential abundance estimate based on species prevalence in found in stomach contents.

Photo of Eric Beaulaurier

Eric Beaulaurier

Graduate Student
Ashley's Lab
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Photo of Ian Broxson

Ian Broxson

Graduate Student
Case's Lab
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Photo of Kathryn Collins

Kathryn Collins

Graduate Student
L Matos' Lab
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Photo of Lilijanna Cummings

Lilijanna Cummings

Graduate Student
Ashley's Lab
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Photo of Sarah Deshazer

Sarah Deshazer

Graduate Student
Magori's Lab
Photo of Sarah Deshazer

I am interested in studying mammal ecology, with an emphasis on species conservation. My research will look at the diversity of mammal species found on native prairie, in comparison to the Prairie Restoration site here at Eastern. Prairies like the Palouse have been primarily converted to farmland, with few native segments remaining. I suspect that there is decreased biodiversity on these highly disturbed habitats.  I hope to use my research to show how important prairie restoration is for increasing and maintaining species diversity in this unique ecosystem.

Photo of Sarah Flores

Sarah Flores

Graduate Student
Magori/Spruell's Lab
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SCI 272/190

I am a current graduate student here at Eastern, co-advised by Dr. Spruell and Dr. Magori. My research is focused on the brook stickleback and nematode that has previously been recorded to be within their hearts here at Turnbull National Wildlife Refuge. I will be trying to determine if there are any genetic markers within the fish that indicate susceptibility to infection. 

Photo of Megan Garvey

Megan Garvey

Graduate Student
McNeely's Lab
Photo of Megan Garvey
My project focuses on fairy shrimp hatching and emergence in the vernal pools of eastern Washington. Vernal pools are temporary wetlands that fill annually from precipitation and snow melt. The fairy shrimp, or Anostraca, lay freeze- and desiccation-tolerant eggs in egg banks in the soils of these pools which emerge as adults with yearly rehydration. Specifically, I’m looking at how environmental and hydrologic factors impact species representation and distribution as well as any changes in pool condition change compared to 20 years ago. This is important because large branchiopods, like Anostraca, are used as water quality and ecosystem health indicators and represent a key link in the food chain as they represent a food source for migratory birds.
I am also a GAANN Fellow, so, in addition to my research, my graduate curriculum at Eastern focuses on outreach and education. I am interested in science accessibility and communication largely, and my ultimate goal is to work in science education in the form of museum work.
Photo of Collin Hendricks

Collin Hendricks

Graduate Student
Spruell's Lab
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Photo of Autumn Holley

Autumn Holley

Graduate Student
Walke's Lab
Photo of Autumn Holley
I am a new graduate student in Dr. Walke’s lab. I am interested in studying the interactions between amphibian skin microbiomes and Batrachyochytrium dendrobatidis, also known as Bd. Bd is a pathenogenic fungus that infects amphibians, leading to severe health effects and often death. This pathogen has led to the decline and extinction of many amphibian species. However, due to the presence of certain skin microbes, some amphibian species are more resistant to Bd. It is important to study the interactions between the microbes of resistant species and Bd. to further conservation efforts against the disease.
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Thurman Johnson

Graduate Student
Brown's Lab
Photo of Thurman Johnson

My research interests center around invasive plant species and advancing our abilities to control them. I want to better understand how native plants can be used to effectively displace invasive species complexes and subsequently restore native communities. To this end, I am investigating how seed density in plantings of native annual forbs affects species establishment and the abundance of competing invasives. I will also be analyzing the effects of diversity on native forb establishment in multiple revegetation blends being tested for EWU’s Prairie Restoration Project.

Photo of Talon Jost

Talon Jost

Graduate Student
Walke's Lab
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SCI 289
Photo of Kyle Keenan

Kyle Keenan

Graduate Student
Spruell's Lab
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Photo of Kiler Kenison

Kiler Kenison

Graduate Student
Black's Lab
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TLES/SCI 150
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Katelin Killoy

Graduate Student
Brown's Lab
Photo of Katelin Killoy
CHN 210

I am researching Beaver Dam Analogs (BDA) in the Methow and Okanogan watersheds. Stream incision can lower biodiversity and wildlife habitat. Beaver dams are known to help restore streams with channel incision. BDAs are man made structures that mimic beaver dams. It is unknown whether BDAs are as successful as beaver dams. I am using a Before-After-Control Impact design to compare sites with beaver activity and sites with BDAs over the course of the BDAs being built. I am using vegetation surveys, topography surveys, pebble counts, water time travel, and water quality measurements to determine the success of the BDAs.

Photo of Roxanne McPeck

Roxanne McPeck

Graduate Student
Castillo's Lab
Photo of Roxanne McPeck

I am interested in the regulatory role of small RNAs (sRNAs; short, noncoding RNAs that base pair to regulate other RNAs) in the human gastric bacterial pathogen, Helicobacter pylori. This bacterium infects approximately 50% of humankind and can cause gastritis, ulcers, and gastric cancer in symptomatic patients. My research focuses on characterizing sRNAs in an important region of virulence genes on the H. pylori chromosome. I plan to characterize these sRNAs, predict their targets, and investigate the transcriptomic effects of overexpression of the sRNAs in H. pylori. This will allow me to explicate which RNAs are being targeted by the sRNAs and the directionality of regulation. Work in this vein is useful for understanding the mechanisms that this abundant and potentially carcinogenic pathogen uses to regulate its genetics to persist in the inhospitable stomach.

Photo of Caleb Meyer

Caleb Meyer

Graduate Student
Herr's Lab
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Margo Murphy

Graduate Student
Case's Lab
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Sawyer Nagle

Graduate Student
Brown/McNeely Lab
Photo of Sawyer Nagle
CHN 210/SCI 275

I have recently joined a multi-year study looking at the before and after effects of Beaver Dam Analogs (BDA) on incised head water streams in the wildfire-prone Okanogan and Methow valleys of central Washington. Many of these streams are no longer connected to their flood plains, causing high flow events to wash sediment, nutrients, and water down stream. This disconnect results in increased stream incision, lowered water tables and down stream water quality problems. Research has shown that beaver dams, and their subsequent impoundments, slow the velocity of the water. Slower water then increases water residence time and storage while allowing nutrient-rich sediment to drop from the water column and settle on the stream bed. Our research compares the hydrological effects of beaver-built dams to human-built analogs. My focus within the study uses the Before-After-Control impact design to assess the success of the BDAs by measuring changes in total phosphorus, water storage, water travel time, water quality measurements, and the organic carbon sequestered in soils and stream bottoms.

Photo of Jennifer Perez

Jennifer Perez

Graduate Student
Walke's Lab
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Photo of Bubba Pfeffer

Bubba Pfeffer

Graduate Student
Allen's Lab
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“Lichens are complex, symbiotic life habits between fungi, algae, and bacteria. Their extremophile abilities have allowed them to colonize nearly every terrestrial ecosystem worldwide. I am researching the comparative genomics of lichen-forming fungi and their symbiotic associates. Using molecular and genetic technologies is essential to investigating questions about the processes and structures that support these symbiotic lifestyles.”

Photo of Gracie Rosenbaum

Gracie Rosenbaum

Graduate Student
Daberkow's Lab
Photo of Gracie Rosenbaum

I am looking at possible affects oxytocin might have on dopamine signaling in rat brains using voltammetry. I then later slice the rat brain tissue to see exactly where we placed microelectrodes during surgeries to better understand where we are working in the brain and where exactly we are finding dopamine.

Photo of Stephen Sharrett

Stephen Sharrett

Graduate Student
Allen's Lab
Photo of Stephen Sharrett

I am a graduate research assistant in the Allen Lichen Lab. My primary research interests are landscape ecology, population genetics, and biodiversity conservation with a focus on lichens and fungi. Operating in the contexts of the landscape and the holobiont, I plan to characterize the life history and population genetic structure of lichen species in the genus Stereocaulon known from the Appalachian Mountains. This research will concentrate on Stereocaulon tennesseense, a rare species known only to occur in the Appalachian Mountains, from Tennessee to Newfoundland, and in Japan. I will be relying heavily on comparative genomics and landscape genetic analyses to complete this research. The ultimate goals of this research are to deepen our understanding of lichen life histories and population genetics in the Appalachian Mountains and to inform regional biodiversity conservation efforts.

Photo of Heather Stewart

Heather Stewart

Graduate Student
Allen's Lab
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Photo of Bryn Tennyson

Bryn Tennyson

Graduate Student
Castillo's Lab
Photo of Bryn Tennyson

My research will focus on the exploration on whether manuka honey impacts antibiotic resistant persister and viable but non-culturable (VBNC) cell accumulation, in comparison to traditional antibiotics.

Photo of Michael Trier

Michael Trier

Graduate Student
Brown's Lab
Photo of Michael Trier
CHN 210

The response of riparian vegetation to the removal of Elwha and Glines Canyon dams in Olympic National Park.

Photo of Theodore Wheat

Theodore Wheat

Graduate Student
Case's Lab
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SCI 174
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Emerson Worrell

Graduate Student
McNeely's Lab
Photo of Emerson Worrell

Interests:

Ichthyology

Aquatic Plants and Animals

Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems

Currently working in Dr. Camille McNeely’s lab on pollution and water quality in Hangman Creek. During summer 2022 I worked with Dr. McNeely as well as the Methow Beaver Project looking at Beaver Dam Restoration and water quality. I do have a service dog named Barkley. His interests is treats and attention from Humans with the talent of escaping places and stop-drop-roll.