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Past EPPLA Recipients

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2014 EPPLA Recipients (download the press release)

    Andrew Adrian
    Amalia Aruda Almada
    Sonja Brooks (Honorable Mention)
    Keerthi Shetty (Honorable Mention)

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Andrew Adrian


Andrew Adrian
2014 EPPLA Recipient

Andrew Adrian is a founding member of a student outreach organization that holds public lectures on science. In his capacity as chair of that group's policy subcommittee, Adrian organized meetings with state and local officials about science policy. He also participated in the 2013 BESC Congressional Visits Day. Adrian is the trainee advisory representative to the board of directors for the Genetics Society of America, where he is helping to draft the society's position statements on legislation. He is an active member and secretary of the Iowa City Darwin Day organization. He has also served for four years on the University of Iowa's Graduate Student Steering Committee. Adrian's Ph.D. research focuses on how and why meiotic recombination happens. His B.S. in Biology is from University of Alabama in Huntsville.

Amalia Almada

Amalia Aruda Almada
2014 EPPLA Recipient

Amalia Almada is a former public affairs intern with the Ecological Society of America, where she helped alert scientists to policy issues. As an undergraduate, she co-founded a student group to lobby for the national recycling of electronics being disposed of from college campuses. That group weighed in on federal e-waste legislation. Almada co-organized a course for graduate students on "Elements of Environmental Policy," and has completed several science communication workshops. She also was elected to serve as the biology student representative and treasurer of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) student government. She expects to finish her Ph.D. on the association of bacteria with copepods--tiny shrimp like animals--at MIT-WHOI in 2014. Almada has a B.S. in Biology from Georgetown University.

Sonja Brooks
2014 EPPLA Honorable Mention

Sonja Brooks is a Ph.D. candidate in Chemical and Physical Biology at Vanderbilt University.

Keerthi Shetty
2014 EPPLA Honorable Mention

Keerthi Shetty is a Ph.D. candidate in Immunobiology at Yale University.

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2013 EPPLA Recipients (download the press release)

    Jennifer Rood
    Paul Tanger
    Julia Bradley-Cook (Honorable Mention)
    Stephanie DeLuca (Honorable Mention)
    Pacifica Sommers (Honorable Mention)

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Jennifer Rood


Jennifer Rood
2013 EPPLA Recipient

Jennifer Rood is pursuing a Ph.D. in biology at MIT, where she studies the functions of human enzymes. She previously interacted with congressional and federal agency policymakers in Washington, DC through her involvement with the MIT Science Policy Initiative. She has served as media director and treasurer for the program. In addition, she co-organized a workshop on communicating science and helped to organize a symposium on the intersection of science and public policy. As an undergraduate, she was an active participate in the Harvard Model Congress. Rood was awarded an International Parliament Scholarship, which allowed her to serve as a research fellow in the office of a member of the German parliament. She earned a bachelor's degree in biochemical sciences from Harvard University.

Paul Tanger

Paul Tanger
2013 EPPLA Recipient

Paul Tanger is a student in the National Science Foundation's Multidisciplinary Approaches to Sustainable Biofuels IGERT training program at Colorado State University. His doctoral thesis focuses on genetic control of plant composition to develop better bioenergy crops. He was selected as a 2012-2013 Global Sustainability Leadership Fellow, which provided Tanger with leadership and communications training. He has a strong interest in the transfer of promising research findings and technology from academia to private industry; he currently interns with Colorado State University Ventures - the university's technology transfer office. He also serves as a representative on two university advisory boards on technology fees. Tanger has a B.S. in Biology from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

Julia Bradley-Cook
2013 EPPLA Honorable Mention

Julia Bradley-Cook is a Ph.D. candidate in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at Dartmouth College.

Stephanie DeLuca
2013 EPPLA Honorable Mention

Stephanie DeLuca is pursuing a Ph.D. in structural biology at Vanderbilt University.

Pacifica Sommers
2013 EPPLA Honorable Mention

Pacifica Sommers is a Ph.D. student in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Arizona.

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2012 EPPLA Recipients (download the press release)

    Lida Beninson
    Andrew Reinmann
    Lindsay Chura (Honorable Mention)

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Lida Beninson

Lida Beninson
2012 EPPLA Recipient

Lida Beninson is pursuing a Ph.D. in integrative physiology at the University of Colorado Boulder. She is an editor of The Journal of Science Policy and Governance and a founding member of the Forum on Science Ethics and Policy, which seeks to facilitate communication between the scientific community and the public. Lida previously interned at the National Science Foundation's Division of Biological Infrastructure, where she evaluated the success of two programs designed to expand undergraduate participation in scientific research. Lida has also been active in science education; she developed and taught a curriculum for middle school students on human anatomy and physiology. She earned a bachelor's degree in neuropsychology and a certificate in elementary education from Princeton University.

Andrew Reinmann

Andrew Reinmann
2012 EPPLA Recipient

Andrew Reinmann is pursuing a Ph.D. in biology at Boston University. He has extensive experience communicating science to policymakers and the public. Reinmann developed a protocol for quantifying the carbon footprint of development and worked with local municipalities to mitigate climate change through land-use planning. He is currently organizing an interdisciplinary forum for graduate students in the Boston area to improve their communication skills. Reinmann is a member of AIBS and the recipient of a Science to Achieve Results Graduate Fellowship from the Environmental Protection Agency. He has a Master's degree in forestry from the University of Maine and a bachelor's degree in environmental studies from Binghamton University.

Lindsay Chura

Lindsay Chura
2012 EPPLA Honorable Mention

Lindsay Chura, a Ph.D. student in psychiatry at the University of Cambridge, received an honorable mention.

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2011 EPPLA Recipients (download the press release)

    Wesley Brooks
    Michael Jay Walsh (Honorable Mention)

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Wesley Brooks

Wesley Brooks
2011 EPPLA Recipient

Wesley Brooks is pursuing a Ph.D. in ecology and evolutionary biology at Rutgers University. His thesis research explores how fish and plant community properties affect the susceptibility of those communities to invasion by non-native species. He hopes that his research findings will identify lower cost alternatives for the control of invasive species. While in graduate school, Brooks interned with the National Center for Environmental Economics at the Environmental Protection Agency, where he contributed to the development of a computer model to more accurately project the costs of climate change. He was also a Governor's Executive Fellow through a program at Rutgers' Eagleton Institute of Politics. Prior to graduate school, Brooks worked as an ecological consultant at the Key West Tropical Forest and Botanical Garden in Key West, Florida, where he collaborated with government agencies and others to share plant population data across conservation areas. He earned a bachelor's degree in biology and political science from Duke University.

Michael Jay Walsh

Michael Jay Walsh
2011 EPPLA Honorable Mention

Michael Jay Walsh, a Ph.D. student in biological and environmental engineering at Cornell University, received an honorable mention.

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2010 EPPLA Recipients (download the press release)

    Meredith Niles
    Ryan Richards
    Leslie Smith

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Meredith Niles

Meredith Niles
2010 EPPLA Recipient

Meredith Niles is a former Fulbright Scholar who is pursuing a Ph.D. in ecology at the University of California, Davis. Her thesis research on sustainable agriculture practices has implications for climate change mitigation and adaptation. She is a trainee of the National Science Foundation's (NSF) Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship (IGERT) program. Her work has included directing a national campaign to increase public awareness of the effects of climate on food production. Niles is also a former employee of the U.S. Department of State, where she worked on policy and public affairs relating to the international fight against AIDS. She earned a bachelor's degree in politics from Catholic University of America.

Ryan Richards

Ryan Richards
2010 EPPLA Recipient

Ryan Richards is pursuing dual Master's degrees in conservation biology and environmental policy at the University of Maryland. His research has taken him to Namibia to study the impacts of bush encroachment on rangeland. As part of his graduate work, he is developing guidance for the Namibian government to address invasive species. Richards has worked on wildlife conservation policy at a number of scientific and conservation-focused organizations, including the Society for Conservation Biology and the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. Richards has a bachelor's degree in wildlife, fish and conservation biology from the University of California, Davis.

Leslie Smith

Leslie Smith
2010 EPPLA Recipient

Leslie Smith is a Ph.D. candidate in biological oceanography at the University of Rhode Island. While interning for Rhode Island Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, she wrote a report on the effects of climate change on coastal ecosystems in Rhode Island. She later presented this information to government agencies, non-profit organizations, and local schools. For her graduate research, Smith is studying the environmental impacts of pollution on coastal waters. Her work could be used by state managers to better anticipate and prevent episodic events of poor water quality. Smith has participated in the NSF IGERT program. Her undergraduate degree in biology is from Davidson College in North Carolina.

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2009 EPPLA Recipients (download the press release)

    Adam Roddy
    Anna Maria Stewart

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Adam Roddy

Adam Roddy
2009 EPPLA Recipient

Adam Roddy is a graduate student in Integrative Biology at the University of California at Berkeley. His Ph.D. research is focused on understanding how flower water requirements may relate to broader ecosystem dynamics, such as the water cycle. Roddy earned his bachelor's degree in biology from Swarthmore College in 2006, where he received the Leo M. Leva award for outstanding biology undergraduates. Throughout his academic career, Roddy has been active in outreach: he organized a public seminar series on teaching evolution, helped produce science materials for middle school students, and worked with educators to develop high quality community schools in Kenya.

"I am excited to participate in the Congressional Visits Day because...as a scientist, I want to emphasize the importance of funding basic research because of its application to environmental policy and its educational value," said Roddy. "A strong interface between scientists and politicians fosters the development of sound policies."

Anna Maria Stewart

Anna Maria Stewart
2009 EPPLA Recipient

Anna Maria Stewart is a graduate student at the State University of New York (SUNY) College of Environmental Science and Forestry. Stewart's research focuses on the effects of climate and socioeconomic factors on the distribution of dengue fever. She is developing a model to identify current and future human populations at risk of dengue fever in Ecuador. Stewart hopes her research may help public health policymakers to mitigate and anticipate future epidemics. In addition to working toward her doctorate, Stewart is pursuing a Master's in Public Administration at Syracuse. Stewart is former recipient of a National Science Foundation GK-12 teaching fellowship and Vice President of the SUNY-ESF Graduate Student Association.

"As a young scientist conducting research at the intersection of science and public health policy, participation in the Congressional Visits Day is an invaluable opportunity for me to observe and engage in the public policy process," said Stewart. "The EPPLA is a critical step towards achieving my ultimate goal of becoming a scientist who advises intergovernmental agencies."

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2008 EPPLA Recipients (download the press release)

    Cheryl Logan
    Caroline Ridley

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Cheryl Logan

Cheryl Logan
2008 EPPLA Recipient

Cheryl Logan is a doctoral candidate in biological sciences at Stanford University's Hopkins Marine Station in California. Before her doctoral studies at Stanford, Logan earned undergraduate degrees in molecular and cell biology and integrative biology from the University of California at Berkeley in 2002. She was awarded a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship in 2005 to study the effects of environmental change on marine fishes. Logan's dissertation research examines how long-jawed mudsuckers, a common estuarine fish, are able to adapt to changes in water temperature that might occur with climate change or heat effluent from power plants.

"Participation in the Congressional Visits Day will allow me to utilize and build my communication skills, interact with members of Congress, and convince them of the value of federal funding for basic and applied biological research. This opportunity will provide me with preparation for my desired role as a well-rounded professor in educating communities and students as well as influencing critical environmental management decisions," said Logan.

Logan is active in the Partnership for Interdisciplinary Studies of Coastal Oceans (PISCO), a research consortium involving marine scientists from four universities along the western coast of the United States who are working collaboratively to develop a comprehensive understanding of how coastal marine ecosystems function. As part of her involvement with PISCO, Logan has engaged in public outreach at Hopkins Marine Station and has participated in workshops on science communication and public policy.

Caroline Ridley

Caroline Ridley
2008 EPPLA Recipient

Caroline Ridley is a doctoral candidate in plant biology at the University of California at Riverside. Before graduate school, Ridley earned an undergraduate degree in biology from Grinnell College in 2001. She was awarded a US Environmental Protection Agency Science to Achieve Results Fellowship in 2005 to support her doctoral research investigating how hybrids formed between the cultivated radish species and a wild cousin have developed into a weed that has successfully invaded areas prone to human and natural disturbance throughout California. By understanding the genetic and evolutionary factors that have led to this new invasive radish hybrid, Ridley hopes her research will inform invasive plant management throughout the state. Ridley is a member of AIBS, the Society for the Study of Evolution, and the California Invasive Plant Council.

"Science policy is a long-standing interest of mine," Ridley said. "My central concern is the disconnect that exists between scientists who practice their discipline and lawmakers who allocate funding for it. I look forward to speaking with my congressional delegation and persuading them that a strong financial commitment to scientific research is deeply important to the health and welfare of people and the environment." In addition to her research, Ridley has served her university community. Most recently, she chaired the Registration Fee Advisory Committee, a group composed of undergraduate and graduate students, faculty, and staff that determines what and how student services on campus will be supported by the mandatory registration fees.

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2007 EPPLA Recipients (download the press release)

    Amber Szoboszlai
    Sarah Wright
    Kyle Brown (Honorable Mention)
    Jenna Jadin (Honorable Mention)

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Amber Szoboszlai

Amber Szoboszlai
2007 EPPLA Recipient

Amber Szoboszlai is a graduate student in marine science at the California State University's Moss Landing Marine Labs at Monterey Bay, California. In research for her master's degree, which she expects to complete in May 2007, Szoboszlai is examining how some species of algae growing in the intertidal zone may modify environmental conditions to promote the settlement and growth of the juvenile stages of another coexisting algal species. Szoboszlai was awarded a 2007 California Sea Grant State Fellowship with the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary (MBNMS) to synthesize biological research projects conducted at MBNMS with management needs and goals. Following her fellowship in September 2007, she will begin her Ph.D. research in marine ecology at the University of California, Davis.

Sarah Wright

Sarah Wright
2007 EPPLA Recipient

Sarah Wright is a doctoral candidate in Botany at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. She was awarded a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship in 2006 for her dissertation research examining the effects of climate change on the range limits and timing of the life cycle of wild lupine, the only host plant of the endangered Karner blue butterfly. Wright is engaged in a number of science education and outreach activities including the University of Wisconsin's Center for Biology Education Adult Role Models in Science Program and the National Phenology Network Implementation Team's Citizen Science and Outreach working group. She intends to pursue a career in science education following the completion of her Ph.D.

Kyle Brown

Kyle Brown and Jenna Jadin
2007 EPPLA Honorable Mentions

Kyle Brown, a doctoral candidate in Organismic and Evolutionary Biology at Harvard University, and Jenna Jadin, a doctoral candidate in Behavior, Ecology, Evolution and Systematics at the University of Maryland, received honorable mentions.

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2006 EPPLA Recipients

    Madhura Kulkarni
    Christopher Hofmann
    Holly Menninger (Honorable Mention)
    Mindy Richlen (Honorable Mention)

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Madhura Kulkarni

Madhura Kulkarni
2006 EPPLA Recipient

Madhura Kulkarni is a doctoral candidate in biogeochemistry and environmental biocomplexity at Cornell University. She earned an undergraduate biology degree from Duke University in 1999 and a master of science in marine, estuarine and environmental sciences from the University of Maryland in 2003. She has received a variety of awards and grants, including a NASA Earth Systems Science Fellowship and a National Science Foundation Integrated Graduate Education and Research Training Fellowship. Kulkarni's doctoral research is a study on nitrogen pollution management.

Christopher Hofmann

Christopher Hofmann
2006 EPPLA Recipient

Christopher Hofmann is a doctoral candidate in biology at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. He earned an undergraduate biology degree in 2000 from Towson University, where he graduated summa cum laude. He has received a variety of awards and grants, including two National Science Foundation Fellowships. His doctoral research involves the use of color to define species limits in birds.

Holly Menninger and Mindy Richlen

Holly Menninger and Mindy Richlen
2006 EPPLA Honorable Mentions

Holly Menninger, a PhD candidate in behavior, ecology, evolution and systematics at the University of Maryland, and Mindy Richlen, a PhD candidate in marine science at Boston University, received honorable mentions.

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2005 EPPLA Recipients

    Karen Deen Laughlin

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Madhura Kulkarni

Karen Deen Laughlin
2005 EPPLA Recipient

Ms. Laughlin is a doctoral candidate in ecology and evolutionary biology at Cornell University. Her research involves the ecological risks of gene flow from genetically engineered virus-resistant crops to wild crops. She is the recipient of numerous grants and awards, including an NSF Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Grant. Laughlin earned her bachelor's degree in environmental science and policy from Duke University.

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2004 EPPLA Recipients

    Allison Vogt
    Heidi Weiskel

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Allison Vogt

Allison Vogt
2004 EPPLA Recipient

A master's student in ecology at the University of Georgia, Ms. Vogt is researching the effects of habitat degradation caused by increasing urban development on the biotic responses of fishes. She hopes to apply her findings to show whether regional planning regulations and federal environmental laws are adequate for the region. After finishing her master's degree, Ms. Vogt plans to pursue a law degree, with an emphasis on environmental law and public policy.

Heidi Weiskel

Heidi Weiskel
2004 EPPLA Recipient

Ms. Weiskel is a doctoral student in marine ecology and policy at the University of California at Davis. As part of the UC Davis multidisciplinary National Science Foundation funded Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship (IGERT) program on invasive species, Ms. Weiskel's research focuses on the impacts of hatchery-raised salmon on native salmon.

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2003 EPPLA Recipients

    Esther Ellsworth
    Lisa Wall

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Esther Ellsworth

Esther Ellsworth
2003 EPPLA Recipient

Ms. Ellsworth is a master's student in the Human Dimensions of Biology program within the Department of Biology at Arizona State University. Ms. Ellsworth's research centers on areas where biology and society interact, such as developmental and evolutionary biology. After completing her degree, Ms. Ellsworth plans to pursue a policy position in the federal government.

Lisa Wall

Lisa Wall
2003 EPPLA Recipient

With a bachelor's degree in biology and a certificate of teaching excellence, Ms. Wall was a high school biology teacher in Florida prior to returning to the University of Central Florida to pursue a master's degree in biology and a doctorate in education with an emphasis on curriculum and instruction. Her graduate studies focus on ways to improve student science education through linking high school students with real world environmental and field-based biology research.

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