RECCS Student Researchers 2021

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Mai Abdelrahman

Project Title: Emission of Aerosol During Covid-19 and Global Impact

Mentor: Erik Larson, CIRES/NOAA Chemical Sciences Laboratory

Bio: My name is Mai Abdelrahman; I was born in Sudan and came to the US five years ago. When I moved to the US, I had to learn English very quickly, but I devoted my time and began to improve with time. I am married now and have two boys. I graduated with an associate of science from the community college of Denver. Now, I am attending the University of Colorado Denver.I started working as a pharmacy technician at a local Walgreens pharmacy; I chose this job because I have admired the way medicine can heal and ease people’s physical pains since I was a child. I want to further my studies in Biology and become a knowledgeable pharmaceutical professional who will be capable of providing people with the right medicine. This is my second year in the RECCS program. I hope to gain valuable scientific knowledge and an understanding of the research process. Our project this summer will help To detect and quantify changes in anthropogenic aerosol emission associated with the pandemic lockdown. I am very excited to see how our project will be developed in the next five weeks and look forward to the results at the end.

View Mai's elevator speech, poster, and oral presentation. 

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Aislynn Connell

Project Title: Accumulation of Sediment in Paonia Reservoir and its Effect on Storage Capacity

Mentors: Kristy Tiampo, Toby Minear and Michael John Willis, CIRES Earth Science & Observation Center

Bio: I am from Falcon, Colorado and just completed my associates degree in general studies at Pikes Peak Community College as a first generation student. I will be attending the University of Colorado Boulder this upcoming fall to pursue my bachelors degree in astrophysics. Other than RECCS both last year and this year, I have attended the NASA Community College Aerospace Scholars program in Cleveland, Ohio as well as volunteered my time at the Space Foundation in Colorado Springs. I love to learn new things and help others when I have the chance; I hope to one day be able to teach community college students like myself about the universe and the science that surrounds us every day.

View Aislynn's elevator speech, poster, and oral presentation. 

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Danny De Souza

Project Title: The Effect of Past and Present Land Cover on Soil pH and Moisture

Mentors: Noah Fierer and Claire Winfrey, CU Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

Bio: I obtained an Associates of Biology at Northeastern Junior College. Now I plan to transfer to Colorado State University in the fall of 2021 to earn a degree in Biochemistry. Once I get my bachelors, I will continue to graduate school to find a career in scientific research to add to my scientific knowledge. I would love to work in a lab setting, and I hope my RECCS experience will teach me more about the lab experience and provide me with the skills I need to excel in my research.

View Danny's elevator speech, poster, and oral presentation

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Lucas Dimoveo

Project Title: Spectral Analysis of Outgoing Longwave Radiation of East-Central Pacific Ocean

Mentor: Stefan Tulich, CIRES/NOAA Physical Sciences Laboratory

Bio: Lucas Dimoveo is a student at the Community College of Denver’s pre-engineering program. He is an athlete, lover of well composed visual media, and a math nerd. His passion for mathematics began in an unlikely field – the materials science of brain computer interfaces. When he is not consuming papers about fracture mechanics or corrosion, you can find him at the gym working on his weightlifting technique. Lucas plans to continue his education at CU Boulder in Applied Mathematics.

View Lucas' elevator speech, poster, and oral presentation

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Meliah Dubus

Project Title: Florrisant Formicids: Eocene to Modern Comparison

Mentor: Sarah Leventhal, CU Geological Sciences 

Bio: Meliah was born and raised in Colorado and is currently completing her prerequisites at Front Range Community College with plans to continue her studies in Biology. 

A growing interest in bugs and insects was developed early on for Meliah and from the time she learned the word entomologist at a very young age she knew studying insects was something that interested her. Meliah’s passion for entomology continues to this day and she enjoys spending time at the Butterfly Pavilion, home to over 5000 invertebrates from all over the world, located in Westminster. 

Meliah is excited to begin the RECCS program to connect and learn from scientists further along their path and explore her interest in entomology in a more professional environment. 

View Meliah's elevator speech, poster, and oral presentation. 

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Magdalena Franchois

Project Title: Exploring the Use of Silver Film to Detect the Presence of Sulfide in Wetland Soils: Adding a Silver Lining to Working with Challenging Terrain

Mentor: Eve-Lyn Hinckley, CU Environmental Studies, INSTAAR

Bio: Magdalena is from Denver, Colorado and has just concluded the first phase of her education at Community College of Denver. Before she attended CCD, she was a student at Red Rocks Community College and Arapahoe Community College. Through participation in Colorado Space Grant projects, she has discovered an exciting path in the engineering field. She has worked on several Demosat projects and was a member of the Colorado Community College RocksatX team which is where her love of STEM, particularly math and the research process, developed. From here, Magdalena developed a more specific interest in environmental and civil engineering as a way to keep her work terrestrial, timely and closer to home. She hopes to explore the way our infrastructure can adapt to the changing climate and work on projects that are more proactive in their approach to these changes rather than reactive. Magdalena hopes to attend University of Colorado at Denver to study Civil Engineering in the Fall of 2021. 

View Magdalena's elevator speech, poster, and oral presentation.

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Grant Gonzalez

Project Title: Through the Eyes of a Swallow: A Holistic Analysis of Humans' Connection to the Natural World

Mentors: Rebecca Safran, Heather Kenny and Zach Laubach, CU Ecology & Evolutionary Biology

Bio: Grant Gonzalez currently attends Red Rocks Community College pursuing an Associates Degree in Chemistry while training in the Pre-Professional Division at the Colorado Ballet Academy. After he completes his degree in the spring of 2022, he plans on transferring to a four-year university to dual major in Choreographic Composition and Biochemistry.

Grant’s professional goals include pursuing a performance career in dance, while also working with arts integration programs that inspire younger students to find connections between the arts and STEM. After he retires from performing, Grant would like to focus on conducting research that will lead to eventually creating different forms of artwork that will highlight the connection between the human race and the natural world.

Outside of school and dance, Grant likes to spend time with his two cats, reading, exploring the world around himself, and immersing himself in any and all kinds of art forms that he has the opportunity to.

View Grant's elevator speech, poster, and oral presentation. 

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Crystal Gonzalez

Project Title: Are 'Downscaled' Climate Models Good Enough for Pikas? A Test with Data from American Pika Habitats on Niwot Ridge

Mentors: Chris Ray and Airy Peralta, CU Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

Bio: Crystal moved to Colorado after living in Mexico for most of her life. First-generation and first female to attend university in her family. Currently, Crystal is studying her bachelor’s in architectural engineering with a minor in Management and Construction at the University of Colorado at Boulder. Where she is also is part of the AEI (Architectural Engineering Institute) club as a treasure. She is part of the Ball Sisters, The Access and inclusion peer mentor & mentee, and TRIO programs in CU at Boulder. 

During last year before transferring to Boulder, Crystal completes her Associate in science in Community College of Aurora.  Crystal worked to compete in the Wearable Quest Challenge where she researched building a glove suitable for use in space that will also communicate the biological statistics of the wearer back to Earth. Crystal has also worked with the Colorado Space Grant Consortium to build robotics and participated in NASA’s annual Robotics Challenge in her first year of college. Additionally, Crystal has experience as a student engagement ambassador in a student life office and a teaching assistant in the robotics lab.

Crystal is the former President of the LatinX Student Alliance, former Student Government Association, and member of the State Student Advisory Council. Upon degree completion, her main goal and dream are to focus on creating sustainable systems for new and old structures that will benefit the environment and sustain a better quality of life to help combat our global warming issues.

View Crystal's elevator speech, poster, and oral presentation. 

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Kyle Greaves

Project Title: Mega-cosms: A Climate Manipulation Experiment in Green Lakes Valley, CO

Mentor: Samuel Yevak, Niwot Ridge LTER Limnology

Bio: Kyle has always had a passion for nature, which he aims to spend as much time as possible enjoying. He is an avid hiker and backpacker who enjoys nothing more than walking for miles surrounded by beautiful landscapes, spectacular views and inspiring wildlife. He has directed his career goals towards becoming a part of a new generation of scientists and leaders that work to preserve the natural world and find solutions for environmentally and socially sustainable urban development.

He is currently a student at Front Range Community College with plans to transfer to the Colorado School of Mines in the fall of 2021 to study civil and environmental engineering. 

It is his dream to use his education and collective experiences to travel the world and create new standards and building practices that coincide with a global vision for a more sustainable future.

View Kyle's elevator speech, poster, and oral presentation. 

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Mark Irby-Gill

Project Title: Rolling, Rolling, Rolling Down the River: Will Harder Rocks Cause Your Waterfront Property to Roll into the River Faster?

Mentors: Vanessa Gabel and Greg Tucker, CU Geological Sciences

Bio: Mark uses whatever excuse he can to enjoy the outdoors. When it came to choosing a  career path, Geology provided as many excuses to get outdoors as he could think of.  Born in Brooklyn, New York, the options for natural outdoor experiences were limited, so he moved out to Colorado. As a student at Red Rocks Community College, he ventures outdoors and studies geology almost daily. He even found a way to incorporate geology into his creative outlets as an avid ceramic artist.  

Mark plans to transfer to the Colorado School of Mines to study Geological Engineering  with a concentration in Exploration Geology. The dream job for Mark incorporates travel and working with minerals. As an amateur mineral collector, a career in Exploration Geology would provide the perfect work environment for Mark.  

Mark appreciates the opportunity to conduct research in the RECCS program this summer. The potential to build on the knowledge he gains this summer and in school pushes him to strive for more. 

View Mark's elevator speech, poster, and oral presentation. 

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Aubrey Jackson

Project Title: Assessing Biogeochemical Heterogeneity in Subalpine Wetlands: Niwot Ridge, CO

Mentor: Eve-Lyn Hinckley, CU Environmental Studies, INSTAAR

Bio: Aubrey Jackson is a first-generation student currently attending Red Rocks Community College. Her academic and research interests are in environmental engineering and ecology and she identifies as an artist in academia. Aubrey is a hairstylist who operates her own small business, and she is also a proud bird mom!

View Aubrey's elevator speech, poster, and oral presentation. 

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Nicholas Leftridge

Project Title: Planetary K-index Forecast Verification

Mentor: Robert Steenburgh, NOAA Space Weather Prediction Center

Watch Nick's elevator speech, poster, and oral presentation. 

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Marie Lim

Project Title: Examining Low Flow and High Flow Discharge on a Reach of the Colorado River and the Impact on Native Trout Species

Mentors: Toby Minear and Michael John Willis, CIRES Earth Science & Observation Center

Bio: Marie came to Colorado as a child from Hong Kong. She is currently working on an associates of science degree at Red Rocks Community College. She intends to pursue a bachelors degree in civil engineering and a masters degree in hydrology. Besides being in the RECCS program, Marie is also a LSAMP Scholar. She also works for the Inclusion and Diversity department at Red Rocks. When she’s not busy chasing around her son Lawrence or her dog Gronk, she’s spending time with her husband Matt. Marie is inspired by her son to pursue knowledge in waterway restoration and water resources management, so that Lawrence can enjoy Bear Creek for years to come.

Marie is excited to be a part of the RECCS program to get her first field experience and to learn new technologies as well as building new friendships with her fellow interns.

View Marie's elevator speech, poster, and oral presentation. 

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Matthew Martinez

Project Title: Drought Stressors and Cattle Grazing Effects on Prairie Grasses and Forbs Reproduction and Growth

Mentor: Thomas Merchant, CU Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, INSTAAR

Bio: Matthew was born in and raised in Englewood, Colorado. He Became the first in his family of five to attend college and receive an associates degree from Arapahoe Community College in Computer Science. 

During his time at ACC Matthew worked on two space grants from 2019 to 2020 for Colorado Space Grant Consortium on the Wearable Quest Challenge prototyping and designing wearable micro controllers such as a hand gesture communication glove. He also attended an Engineering and Science Delegation to China in the spring of 2019, visiting various sites in china related to STEM such as the Three Gorges Dam, Colleges, and manufacturing plants. From these experiences at ACC, Matthew has become more interested in Aerospace, Engineering, and Geosciences. Matthew is planing to attend CU Boulder this fall to pursue a Bachelors degree in Mechanical Engineering to continue his love of computers and sciences and work in various fields of research and engineering. 

View Matthew's elevator speech, poster, and final presentation. 

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Elizabeth Mathews

Project Title: A Study of Barn Swallow Movement and Geomagnetic Fields in Colorado

Mentors: Rebecca Safran, Heather Kenny and Zach Laubach, CU Ecology & Evolutionary Biology

Bio: Liz is an Environmental Science and Geographic Information Systems student at Metropolitan State University of Denver and thrilled to be participating in the RECCS program for a second season. As a nontraditional student hailing from San Antonio, TX, Liz’s unique journey has included traveling the U.S. cross-country; working for over a decade as a veterinary assistant, dog trainer, and doggy daycare manager; and living in small, rural communities, developing ecological restoration and permaculture projects. 

Liz loves to explore the natural world and feels most at home when surrounded by animals or mountain forests. She collects rocks and minerals, succulents, and enjoys gardening, foraging, and studying the medicinal properties of North American plants. She is a published poet and science fiction author. Her love for science and community knows no bounds, and her hope for the future is simply to be of service to her planet and its spectrum of amazing inhabitants. 

View Liz's elevator speech, poster, and oral presentation. 

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Jae Robinson

Project Title: Can a Smartphone Magnetometer Capture Space Weather?

Mentors: Rick Saltus and Anna Liao, CIRES/NOAA 

Bio: Jae is currently attending Red Rocks Community College majoring in general biology. She will complete her Associate's degree this fall and transfer to a four-year college to continue her studies in Environmental Science with an interest in sustainable living. Jae is in the Louis Stokes Alliances for Minority Participation (LSAMP) program and empowers individuals from underrepresented communities to access STEM fields. 

View Jae's elevator speech, poster, and oral presentation. 

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Adjoa Sakwa

Project Title: Indoor Air Quality- Characterizing Emissions of Particulate Matter from Cooking Oils       

Mentor: Nina Vance, CU Mechanical Engineering 

Bio: Adjoa is a first generation college student and an immigrant to the U.S. She recently completed her associates degree and is looking to transfer to finish her bachelors in chemical engineering. She’s always had an affinity for plants, the environment, and math. She hopes to learn more about the environment, and the world around her to help contribute to society. She is very grateful to be a part of RECCS, and can’t wait to work on her project and meet fellow scientists on the way. 

View Adjoa's elevator speech, poster, and oral presentation. 

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Khokolah Sherzad

Project Title: Detection of Methane Emissions from Natural Gas Power Plants in the United States

Mentor: Joost de Gouw, CIRES, CU Chemistry 

Bio: Khokolah is a first-generation student and a curious biological being looking forward to devoting her career to science studies. She immigrated to the United States in 2015, and is now working towards her Bachelor's degree from the University of Colorado Denver. 

Khokolah came to the United States with vast goals and ambitions that are not attainable for women to achieve in Afghanistan, that started with learning English and include becoming a doctor as well as explorations into getting to know the world, its inhabitants, and herself!

After the completion of her Bachelor's in biology, she plans on using that to attend medical school. She hopes the RECCS research experience will help her gain valuable scientific knowledge and an understanding of the research process, which she will apply towards medical school and a future career in medicine. Khokolah is very excited to start the RECCS Program, not only to collect valuable experiences, but to make friends along the way!

View Khokolah's elevator speech, poster, and oral presentation. 

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CEEE Contact
Phone: 303-492-5670
Fax: 303-735-3644


CIRES Center for Education, Engagement and Evaluation
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