2018-2019 BLaST Scholars

Angie Bagoyo

Major: Biological Sciences

Research interests: Exercise and physiology

I am very interested in human health and how to make the strongest and healthiest human being. Exercise and nutrition has played a very large role in my life, and has motivated me to become a person who encourages healthy lifestyles in others. 

I love testing my strength and endurance, and seeing where my limit is for my body in terms of exercise. I enjoy snowboarding, arts and crafts, camping, cooking and baking, and planning events. 

Ana Fiorella Carrasco

Major: Biological Sciences

Research interests: Virology research- HIV and HCV

I was born in Bolivia but have lived in Alaska most of my life. I’m interested in doing virology research! Currently, I’m working on HIV and seeing the effects of the BioPlex 2200 HIV antibody-antigen assay incidence of false positivity in a low prevalence population and its effects on the current HIV testing algorithms. I have previously done research on genotyping HCV throughout Alaska. After undergrad I plan on pursing an MD/MPH or MD degree. In my free time I love traveling, volunteering, spending time with family, cooking, and doing workout classes such as kickboxing, cycling and zumba.

Melissa Clark

Major: Biological Sciences

Research interests: Veterinary medicine

Hello, my name is Melissa Clark and I am from Ninilchik, Alaska. I am interested in conducting research in veterinary medicine, particularly topics such as stress response. I am motivated to be involved with research because I love the idea of contributing knowledge towards a common goal.

I plan on applying for Veterinary School this upcoming fall, with the hopes of starting in the fall of 2019. As a veterinarian, I am interested in livestock public health. I want to contribute towards One Health and medicine as a future veterinarian. 

Thank you BLaST for your support towards my goals!

Anastacia Dorvall

Major: Biological Sciences

Research interests: Large animal medicine, large animal research

I am from Nikolaevsk, Alaska. I am interested in large animal medicine and large animals in general. When I was younger I always admired animals and they are the driving passion I have to get up every day. I plan on going to Vet school and then opening my own practice.

In my free time, I enjoy reading, listening to music, and cooking.

Daniel Dykes

Major: Biological Sciences

Research interests: Neurobiology, neuroscience

I’m from North Pole Alaska. My research interests are both biological and pathological neurological problems. Since I want to become a neurosurgeon I thought it’d also be beneficial if I was able to do my own research while working. My plan is to graduate from medical school and train to become a neurosurgeon. In my free time I like to pet animals, play ping pong with my friends, and binge watch Netflix shows.

Gladys Erhart

Major: Biological Sciences

Research interests: Sled dogs and factors in performance, climate change, anything health related

My name is Gladys Erhart. I am 19 years old. I am from the small rural village of Tanana, Alaska. I lived there my whole life. My family owns the Erhart Kennels sprint racing dog kennel. I love animals, reading, food, running, and spending time with family. I have a dog named Bonnie who is four years old. I have two older sisters and a younger brother. I am happy and grateful to be a part of the BLaST community.

Mollie Fisher

Major: Wildlife Biology

Research interests: Environmental change effects on animals

I am from Kaktovik, Alaska. I am interested in doing research that involves animals. As of right now my goal is to graduate from college.

Kendrick Hautala

Major: Natural Resources Management

Research interests: Management of wildlife and fisheries

Kendrick is from Kwethluk, Alaska and is interested in long term management of natural resources, game species,  and fish within Alaska. He is motivated by his lifestyle while growing up, a subsistence lifestyle, and believes that natural resources need to be managed to the best ability. He is planning to work in rural Alaskan areas aiding in management of game and fish. He loves being surrounded by natural environment and hunting.

Jennie Humphrey

Major: Wildlife Biology & Conservation; minor in Sustainable Agriculture

Research interests: Microbial communities and how they affect plant health, forest ecology, plant biology, permaculture, human-wildlife interactions, the list goes on.

I was raised in a secluded cabin in Haines, AK where my family owned and operated a birch and berry syrup company. This upbringing has taught me the importance of interacting with the land respectfully and sustainably. 

I have plans to co-create sustainable communities centered around humans creating beneficial relationships between themselves and their local ecosystems. I would like to integrate field/greenhouse experiments and wildlife surveying so that we can directly learn from our environment and promptly act on our findings. When I'm not gardening, I would like to work as a wildlife and land consultant.

Noah Khalsa

Major: Fisheries

Research interests: Marine fisheries ecology in a changing world

I am currently a junior in the B.S. Fisheries program here at UAF. My research interests revolve around how the physiology, behavior, and ecology of marine species will be affected by a changing environment. Currently my research focuses on the effects of ocean acidification on calcifying organisms. In the future I would like to complete graduate studies in a field related to marine ecology or fisheries oceanography and eventually become a career researcher. I would also like to work on and or pilot a research vessel. In my free time I enjoy fishing and being outdoors.

Jimin Kim

Major: Biological Sciences

Research interests: Human health

I was born in Seoul but moved to Fairbanks when I was really young. I consider myself from here. 

I'm set to graduate spring of 2019 and plan on applying to med school later that year. I'm mostly interested in human health research because I'm pre-medicine but I'm open to anything. 

In my free time, I'm mostly at the SRC. I plan on working out but usually end up playing basketball with friends instead. I also play the saxophone, read (currently on the Return of the King), and volunteer at the animal shelter.

Laura Kromrey

Major: Biological Sciences

Research interests: Human physiology/health, therapy methods

I grew up in Moose Pass, Alaska and this is my senior year at UAF. My research interests are in human health, specifically exercise physiology. After I graduate in the spring, I am planning to go into physical therapy. 
I enjoy the outdoors, whether it's hiking, running, or exploring new parts of Alaska.

Hayley Lekanof

Major: Biological Sciences

Research interests: Health and relationship between the environment and its people

I am from Yakutat, Alaska. My research interests include the health of people, animals, and the environment. I grew up in a rural community and as a result, I am very passionate about the environment and how to keep it safe. My goals are to earn my bachelor's degree. In my free time, I enjoy hiking, watching movies, and fishing.

Shayle Lliaban

Major: Biological Sciences

Research interests: Wildlife biology

Shayle is Yup’ik and Iñupiaq and has lived in Alaska since birth. Her knowledge of research is small at the moment, but she is determined to participate and learn because research will offer skillsets and knowledge for future jobs and projects. Currently, Shayle’s research interests involve children’s Environmental Identity Development, but in the future, she plans to switch research goals into lab-based projects within the realm of biology. A future job that Shayle is focusing on is to be a doctor. In her free time, Shayle likes to socialize with friends in cafes around Fairbanks.

Brianna Lu

Major: Biological Sciences, concentration in Biomedical Science

Research interests: Effects of Alaskan botanicals on Parkinson's Disease

Born and raised here in Fairbanks, I joined the Murie Neuroscience lab as a high school senior before becoming a summer URE, then finally a scholar the following fall. I'm interested in all things neurology and I hope to some day become a neurosurgeon here in Alaska. In my free time I enjoy trail running and hiking with my dog, painting, working out, and relaxing with family.

Tandi Marth

Major: Psychology; minor in Biological Sciences

Research interests: Behavioral neuroscience

My name is Tandi and I am from Fairbanks. I've studied Psychology and Biological Sciences here at UAF and I intend to graduate in Dec '18. I have performed behavioral neuroscience research with an OCD mouse model from May 2015 to Fall 2018 in the Bult-Ito mouse lab because of BLaST; helped peer-mentees with the navigation, operation and knowledge of the lab, have conducted two projects as the lead researcher, and have written the first of two manuscripts necessary for scientific publication. I intend to begin grad school in the Spring of '19. I have two kids & two Aussies :)


Shelby McCahon

Major: Biological Sciences

Research interests: Wildlife biology

Hello! My name is Shelby and I'm interested in researching wildlife diseases, conservation genetics, human-wildlife interactions and environmental physiology. Applying the knowledge I have gained to scientific questions is what motivates me to be involved in research. I am originally from North Dakota, but I have lived in Fairbanks for the past 6 years. In my free time I enjoy hiking, reading and doing aerial silks. After I graduate, I plan to go to graduate school, and pursue a career in wildlife or fisheries.

Casey McMillan

Major: Psychology; Paralegal Studies

Research interests: Mental health and music

Casey was born and raised in Fairbanks. She is interested in finding diverse ways to improve the mental health of Alaskans as she's witnessed firsthand how the harsh Alaskan climate can negatively impact their lives. Casey plans on earning her Ph.D. in psychology after she graduates with her B.S. at UAF. In her free time, Casey likes watching Netflix and making playlists on Spotify.

Monica Mikes

Major: Biological Sciences

Research interests: Fatty acid profiles, diet and health in AGS

Hello. My hometown is the beautiful and wild Anchorage, Alaska. I'm in the fourth and final year of my research studying fatty acid profiles in relationship to Arctic Ground Squirrels fed various diets. I love research because it gives me an opportunity to help animals in the laboratory settings. Helping animals in any form is always a goal of mine. I will attend veterinary school to become a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine. After I will maximize my contributions to animals. My free time is best spent with Hercules or family.

Harrison Moore

Major: Computer Engineering

Research interests: Wildlife, effects of climate change on subsistence foods

I am from Nome, Alaska, but my parents grew up in the village of Elim. I love running, hiking and getting outdoors. Video games, singing, making my own projects and playing basketball are some other things that I like to do in my free time. I am interested in engineering, medical, and wildlife. My goal is to become a biomedical engineer and help build/maintain biomedical equipment.

Daphne Mueller

Major: Biological Sciences

Research interests: Health disparities in Alaska, effects of climate change on human and animal health

My name is Daphne and I am from Barrow, Alaska. In the past year, I've become interested in research and have worked at a microbiology internship at Ilisagvik College where I extracted DNA from soil samples and grew bacteria colonies. I plan to do more research related to climate change in the future, but also explore other labs to gain more experience. I love research because I continue learning and uncover important data.

Janessa Newman

Major: Biological Sciences

Research interests: My research interests lie primarily in the betterment of Alaska Native lives and communities. Specifically, looking into how incorporating traditional and subsistence practices can affect adapting to a colonized world.

My family comes from Rampart and Tanana, Alaska on the Yukon River. In my free time I enjoy subsistence salmon fishing with my family, beading, sewing, and eating. My cultural upbringing has inspired me to search for potential solutions to social ills. I aspire to become a Physician Assistant, as well as teach subsistence salmon fishing and the values gained through the process.

Ava Parrish

Major: Elementary Education

Research interests: Child development

I was born and raised in Sitka, Alaska. This is my third year as a BLaST Scholar. I am currently pursuing my undergraduate degree in Elementary Education and my master's degree in Special Education. I plan to work in an intensive resource classroom for children who experience autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and someday earn board certification in behavior analysis. My research is also focused on ASD. I am working under Dr. Joanne Healy in a clinic for individuals who experience ASD. We are using robot therapy to help build social and pragmatic language skills of the individuals who experience ASD. 

Jonilee Polanco

Majors: Biological Sciences & Chemistry

Research interests: Genetics, molecular biology, microbiology, and biochemistry

I'm 20 years old, hispanic, and queer and glad to be here!! I've lived in several different states in the United States, but I've been here in Alaska longer than I've lived anywhere else! I have a deep passion for the pursuit of knowledge and truly believe knowledge is power. As such, I am a devout life-long learner. It's my current endeavor to receive my PhD in Genetics; however, gaining my PhD is far from the end of my educational career--I plan on receiving degrees in many disciplines including music, statistics, mathematics, and communications to name a few.

Gwendolyn Quigley

Major: Natural Resources Management

Research interests: Arctic sustainability, Arctic vegetation, Arctic ecosystem dynamics, human dimensions of wildlife biology, traditional ecological knowledge

I was born & raised in Girdwood, Alaska. Girdwood is an active, tight-knit community that encourages their youth to explore the extensive wilderness that surrounds our valley. I am incredibly lucky to have grown up skiing, hiking, and camping in the Chugach National Forest. 

My research interests align closely with the One Health paradigm. I am passionate about learning how the Arctic, as an ecological and social system, is adapting in response to climate change. Although my interests are broad, I am planning to pursue a graduate degree and hope to find my specified research passion along the way.

Michelle Quillin

Major: Wildlife Biology & Conservation

Research interests: Wildlife biology

I am from Hughes Alaska. My research interests are protecting Alaska's wildlife and subsistence food security, mitigating human-wildlife conflict, and advancing knowledge across scales (local communities and global). Being Koyukon Athabascan, I grew up with a unique perspective and valuable understanding of how the land and food we gathered are all connected. I have always known that I would become a wildlife biologist, it’s something I am incredibly passionate about. The things I focus on every day are things that will get me closer to being a successful biologist. I love being in the field doing research and learning science.

Savanna Ratky

Major: Biological Sciences

Research interests: Virology

I am from Soldotna, Alaska. My plan for after I complete my undergraduate degree is to attend either medical school for a MD/PhD program or to go to graduate school. My career goal is to be a virologist and to do research for a place like the CDC. This goal motivates me to participate in research. In my free time I like to hang out with my family and friends, read, pet dogs, and to swim.

Kristian Rivera

Major: Biological Sciences

Research interests: DNA repair and immune protein dynamics

I am from Wasilla, AK, and I started doing research because it was a good way to apply information from classes. My end goal is medical school, after which I'd like to come back to Alaska and practice rural medicine. 
In my free time I like to read, hike, bike or fish with my dad and sisters. I also like to hang out with my dog, who enjoys serenading passing emergency vehicles with howls.

Samantha Wade

Major: Biological Sciences

Research interests: Health disparities in Alaska, medicine, and permafrost affecting the North Slope

My research interests I wish to study are medicine, health disparities in Alaska, and permafrost affecting the North Slope. I have a passion to learn and think creatively. I have always been interested in science. Some research I have performed is DNA extraction of soil and working with a MinION. What motivates me to be involved with research is to find new and improved methods of helping others. 

My goals are to graduate with a Bachelors of Science in biological science, and later attend medical school.

I love ceramics, hiking, being active, and photography.

Hannah Wing

Major: Biological Sciences

Past BLaST Scholars