2020-21 Science Communication Training Program Cohort
The MSU Science Festival is pleased to announce the first cohort of its Student Science Communication Program encouraging undergraduate and graduate students at MSU to engage in science communication and outreach activities. This program provides training, mentorship, networking opportunities, as well as direct experience in science communication through Science Festival events and programs.
Aalayna is a self-proclaimed unapologetic scholar-activist and intersectional conservationist. She's a senior undergraduate pursuing a BS in Zoology at Michigan State University. She’s passionate about human-environment relationships, specifically within the wildlife crime sector. In her free time, you can find her outside, reading or snuggling with her cats.
Allie is a sophomore at MSU's Lyman Briggs College majoring in Biology with an additional major through the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources in Environmental Studies & Sustainability. She currently works as an undergraduate research assistant on resilience within urban systems and agriculture. She loves teaching and all things science, and in the future she hopes to become an environmental professor teaching and researching regenerative practices, sustainable policy, and scientific ethics.
Ashley is a junior at MSU studying genomics and molecular genetics alongside nutritional sciences. It's her dream to be a genetic counselor one day, advocating for and educating people under her care. Ashley currently works as a chemistry undergraduate learning assistant for the college of Lyman Briggs, and in her free time you can find her practicing trumpet, drawing, or playing Minecraft.
Ashley is a senior level undergraduate studying zoology and geographic information science. She is currently researching socioeconomic predictors of community cat welfare and is also a nature educator and high adventure program facilitator at the Howell Nature Center. She is passionate about animal welfare and conservation and enjoys the opportunity to teach about these topics in an informal yet impactful setting.
Binyah Howard grew up in Canton, Michigan and decided to continue his education at Michigan State University to complete a degree in Environmental Economics & Management, B.S. Binyah has an interest in sustainability, natural resources, and public health. He is graduating in December 2021 and is planning on applying to Graduate School for Public Service. The mismanagement of Covid-19 has shown Binyah that there is serious work to be done in the world.
Camilla Cai graduated from MSU with a major in Elementary Education and Child Development in 2020, and is currently teaching as a student intern in a first-grade classroom. She believes in teaching science in an engaging and meaningful way, and looks forward to presenting in the Science Festival this year.
Daniel is a Ph.D. Candidate in the Department of Physics and Astronomy, where he does research at the National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory. His research involves measuring the mass of stable and radioactive nuclei, and how it can tell us how protons and neutrons are arranged inside of a nucleus. This research also helps scientists understand how the elements were created in different stellar environments!
Elle Wernette is a fourth-year graduate student in the Cognition and Cognitive Neuroscience program in MSU’s Psychology Department and obtained her B.A. in Psychology with a minor in Cognitive Science from MSU. Elle currently works as a research assistant in Dr. Kimberly Fenn’s Sleep and Learning Lab, and her primary research interests involve the effects of sleep and sleep deprivation on memory and cognition and the prevalence and effectiveness of exogenous melatonin as a sleep aid. Elle has been involved with MSU’s Science Festival every year since beginning graduate school, and this will be her second year presenting.
Emily is a second year Master’s student in the Department of Fisheries and Wildlife, and part of the Applied Behavioral Ecology Lab under the direction of Dr. Michael Wagner. Her research involves studying behavioral ecology and chemical alarm signaling in the sea lamprey, aiming to inform new invasive species management techniques in the Great Lakes ecosystem. She is very passionate about conservation, fish behavior, and sharing my science with broad audiences, and is excited to be a part of the MSU student science communication program. She hopes one day her work can be used to inspire future generations of scientists to continue important research on the sustainability of our world’s precious natural resources.
Daniel is a graduate student at Michigan State University studying soil ecology, which means that he is always looking to go outside and get his hands dirty! He loves to connect with farmers, gardeners, landowners, and anyone interested in exploring the connections between below and above ground. As a graduate student, Daniel has collaborated with farmers in Michigan and Malawi to explore plant diversity and soil health. After graduation, Daniel hopes to continue community-driven soil ecology work.
Ginny is a senior undergrad studying Environmental Biology/Zoology with a minor in environmental public policy through STEPPS. Outside of classes, she is the communications intern with MSU GenCen, a student reproductive rights advocate with Planned Parenthood, and a dancer with Orchesis Dance Company on campus. After graduation, she hopes to work in environmental justice advocacy, bringing together her passions for conservation and reproductive justice to fight for just, livable futures for all people and our planet.
Keara Hayes is a sophomore astrophysics major at MSU and an undergraduate research assistant at FRIB working on the Single Atom Microscope Project. She loves to learn about all things space and stars, but when she’s not in class or reading about physics, she’s making YouTube videos, writing music, or enjoying some sci-fi TV. Her desire to teach and do outreach comes from her experience at PAN (a nuclear physics summer camp she attended in the summer of 2019) and from growing up watching shows like Bill Nye the Science Guy and NOVA. She hopes to add humor and fun to science communication.
Kelsey Merreck Wagner
Kelsey Merreck Wagner is a printmaker/painter/textile artist. She received her B.A. (Studio Arts; focus: printmaking) at Western Michigan University; her M.A. (Cultural Studies & Sustainability; focus: community-engaged arts) at Appalachian State University, and is currently a Ph.D. student at Michigan State University (Anthropology; focus: environmental art and advocacy). She has exhibited work internationally in Cambodia and Italy, as well as across the United States including Chicago, North Carolina, and Michigan. Wagner’s work is at the nexus of aesthetics, anthropological inquiry of environmental ruin at human hands, and hope for socio-environmental justice.
Krystal Davis-Dunn is a public health advocate, community activist, and graduate student at MSU School of Social Work. Her research interests center around system theories in social justice and health equity, service practices focused on systems of influence (i.e., board, commission, and committees) habits of (strategic planning structures) decision making and problem-solving methods. Krystal’s service practice goal is to reform systems of influence habits rooted in the patriarchal-supremacy hierarchy systems to an inclusive power diffused communal/collective model of decision-making and problem-solving. Aiming to explore scientific methodologies of the STEAM framework to create a transferable system model for engaged service practitioners embedded in systems of influence, with tools to shift the diffusion of power in hierarchy systems of oppression that perpetuate social injustice, health, and racial inequities.
Michaela Patrick is a second year student majoring in dietetics with a minor in health promotion. She plans to pursue a masters in nutrition or public health and become a registered dietitian. Her passion lies in community nutrition and she has a special interest in supporting those living with life-threatening food allergies.
Namratha Shah is a master's student at the Department of Computer Science. She loves running machine learning models and to scale them to give better results faster. She loves running as a sport as well!
Nidhi Dungrani is a senior in the Lyman Briggs College at MSU majoring in Human Biology with a minor in Entrepreneurship & Innovation. In the future, she will attend medical school and would like to eventually start her own medical practice. During her free time, she enjoys spending time with family & friends, cooking, watching Netflix, and yoga.
Quinn is currently a third year PhD student in the Animal Science Department at MSU researching the prevention and management of mastitis in dairy cows. Quinn developed a passion for mastitis research during her undergraduate studies at Cornell University. After graduation from Cornell, Quinn worked in the dairy industry in Scotland, and then pursued her masters at the University of Edinburgh's Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Medicine. In a society that is increasingly removed from production agriculture, Quinn is passionate about sharing her love of dairy cows, agriculture, and science with consumers to help them understand where their food comes from. When she is not busy conducting research, she enjoys hiking, traveling, and spending time at her family's cottage in Northern Michigan.
Racheal Nassimbwa is a senior in Honors College, majoring in Medical Laboratory Science with a double minor in Global Public Health & Epidemiology and Health Promotion. She is a Mastercard Scholar and a Dean’s Research Scholar in the College of Natural Science. Her research at MSU is focused on HIV, and she plans to go to Graduate School for further education in Infectious Diseases and Immunology, with an integration to Public Health.
Zoe Pozios is a freshman at MSU majoring in Genomics and Molecular Genetics through Lyman Briggs College, with an additional major in Psychology and a minor in Leadership in Integrated Learning. Her career goal is to become a physician and study the importance of genetics in detecting diseases. She is thrilled to be a part of this program and broaden my knowledge of science communication.