RECCS Student Researchers 2023

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Anthony Bugarin

Mentors: Matthew Burgess, Ashley Dancer, and Margaret Hegwood

Bio: Anthony received an associate's degree with a designation in geography from Front Range Community College and will be attending the University of Colorado Denver to complete a bachelor’s degree in urban planning. During his time in school, he’s spent a lot of time volunteering in his local town of Longmont and with the broader Denver regional governments on varying projects. With the experience he’s gaining both at school and volunteering, he hopes to be able to help local communities build the cities they want to live in.

View Anthony's elevator speech [YouTube]

View Anthony's RECCS 2023 presentation [Youtube]

View Anthony's poster [PDF]


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Salomé Carrasco

Mentors: Julian Resasco, Casey Carrol, and Monica Sheffer

Bio: Salomé Carrasco is a Colorado native, born and raised in The Springs. Since high school Salomé has been determined to enter the science field. She recently graduated with an Associate of Science from Pikes Peak State College and will continue to pursue a Bachelors of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at Colorado University of Boulder.

Since she was a child, Salomé engrossed herself with understanding the natural world around her. Growing up in a creative home that encouraged and fostered artistic endeavors, Salomé excelled in an artistic world. Yet her love of birds and summer gardening with her mother, furthered her desire to pursue a career in ecology. Senior year of high school, Salomé took an ecology class, which helped her understand where to focus her higher education.

Salomé Carrasco is dedicated to her passion for accruing knowledge, continually bettering herself as a person, learning through various experiences, expressing herself, and helping others.

View Salomé's elevator speech [YouTube]

View Salomé's RECCS 2023 presentation [Youtube]

View Salomé's poster [PDF]

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Michael Dominguez

Mentor: John Keller

Bio: My name is Michael Dominguez, I am 38 years old and currently reside in South Aurora. I am from Albuquerque, NM and have lived in Colorado going on 6 years now. I moved to this gorgeous state along with my beautiful husky Lexi, who is 6 years old. We love doing long distance hiking, and trail biking. Lexi loves to lead the way and I follow. We also enjoy thru-hiking. We have hiked the Colorado Trail up to Twin Lakes and plan to complete the rest hopefully next summer. Lexi loves to try new trails so she is all ears if anyone has some wonderful suggestions.

As for a little about my background, I am currently going through a total career change at the moment. I have been a paramedic for the past 10 years where I practiced emergency medicine in 911 for 5 years and was a flight paramedic for the 4 corners region for a year as well. I came to Colorado practicing emergency medicine but realized during COVID, though I loved what I did, it was not my passion. There was something else speaking to me, and it was the universe and the stars. I realized where my heart was and made the change to become an astrophysicist. I am currently a dual-enrolled student at ACC and CU Boulder where I am pursuing my degree in astrophysics with a minor in quantum engineering. I plan to pursue my doctorate at CU Boulder as well so I hope this is just the beginning with you all.


View Michael's elevator speech [YouTube]

View Michael's RECCS 2023 presentation [Youtube]

View Michael's poster [PDF]

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Ethan Glenn

Mentors: Jennifer Kay, Megan Thompson, and Ash Gilbert

Bio: Ethan Glenn just graduated with his associate of science from Northeastern Junior College. This fall he is transferring to CU Boulder to pursue a degree in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences in hopes of becoming a research meteorologist.

Ethan hopes to use what he learns from the RECCS program to help with his future employment. He also hopes to make friends along the way.

Outside of school, Ethan enjoys board games, video games, listening to 80’s music, long distance running and spending time with family.

View Ethan's elevator speech [YouTube]

View Ethan's RECCS 2023 presentation [Youtube]

View Ethan's poster [PDF]

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Jada Gray

Mentors: Keith Musselman and Nicolas Tarasewicz

Bio: Jada Gray just graduated with her associate of arts at Community College of Aurora. She is staying another year to finish her general associates of engineering and then will transfer to School of Mines to pursue her bachelors in civil and environmental engineering. Jada is a business owner and wants to become the best role model for her baby sister Hazel. Hazel is a huge part of her life and although they are a decade apart in age, they grow closer and closer together each day. While growing up Jada's role model was her mother, her mother was a single mom and worked jobs that separated them most days. Jada found at an early age that anything is possible with hard work and dedication. With all that Jada finds time to tend to her plants and hang out with her loved ones.

View Jada's elevator speech [YouTube]

View Jada's RECCS 2023 presentation [Youtube]

View Jada's poster [PDF]

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Wookie Komosa

Mentors: Paul Ziemann and Emmy Longnecker

Bio: Wookie Komosa is a 2023 Colorado All-Academic Team member that is seeking an
interdisciplinary, scientific community to work with. He was born in Missouri but has spent the majority of his life in Colorado. He plans to achieve a Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering (with a concentration in Aerospace Engineering) and Bio-Chemistry. He hopes to continue into post-graduate degrees via a Master’s in Engineering and an eventual Medical Doctorate. An at-work injury has motivated and necessitated his scholastic career; however, he hopes that his construction, manufacturing, and logistics background will pair well with his degrees.

Wookie’s academic exploration is focused on weaving the differing disciplines of science together, hoping that he can apply knowledge found in one discipline to another in presently unforeseen ways. He hopes to become “the living embodiment of the STEM field,” as he puts it. He is currently excited to work on a project related to current atmospheric conditions, and he hopes to work on the cutting edge of medical adaptation technology someday.

View Wookie's elevator speech [YouTube]

View Wookie's RECCS 2023 presentation [Youtube]

View Wookie's poster [PDF]

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Cristian Madrazo

Mentors: Ulla Heede and Kris Karnauskas

Bio: Cristian is a proud first-generation American. He was raised in Commerce City, CO, although he made many memories as a child living in the impoverished and rural areas of Zacatecas and the state of Mexico.

Cristian’s academic challenges in the US started with learning English in primary school. He has progressed far since then, and has earned an AAS in Business Logistics and is currently working towards a BS in Computer Science. As a 2nd year CS student, Cristian is currently evaluating transfer-admission packages from his top choice schools, CU Boulder and ColoradoSchool of Mines, hoping for a smooth transition from Front Range Community College where he has studied since the Summer of 2019.

Outside of school, you can find Cristian outdoors with his family enjoying the sun, or canoeing in their local lake hoping to catch a big fish. He also enjoys DIY woodworking and carpentry, and caring for houseplants.

In the future, Cristian is hoping to work in software, and specifically learn more about AI and machine learning, and eventually start a firm of his own. He is passionate about bringing positive change to the engineering landscape through the use of DEI concepts, and a focus on sustainability.

View Cristian's elevator speech [YouTube]

View Cristian's RECCS 2023 presentation [Youtube]

View Cristians's poster [PDF]

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David Mancia

Mentors: Marko J Spasojevic, AJ Krieger Lodge, and Jon Henn

Bio: David, from Los Angeles, California, brings experiences and a determined spirit. Having
dedicated six years of his life to the U.S Army as a skilled helicopter mechanic, he honed his technical and mechanical expertise while serving.

After his honorable service, David embarked on a new path, driven by his passion for mechanical engineering. Recognizing the potential and endless possibilities in this field, he decided to pursue a degree in Mechanical Engineering. With an insatiable thirst for knowledge and a drive to excel, David sees his educational journey as a means to unlock a multitude of opportunities.

In his quest for professional growth, David has set his sights on participating in the Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program. Fully aware of the program's potential, he believes it will provide invaluable exposure to cutting-edge research and industry insights. By immersing himself in this hands-on experience, David aims to broaden his horizons and gain practical skills that will open countless doors in his future career.

While not continuously honing his educational path, you may find David in few outdoor hobbies such as, golf, disc golf, hiking and travel with family.

View David's elevator speech [YouTube]

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Izze Marler

Mentors: Melisa Diaz and Briana Prado

Bio: Izze was born and raised in Colorado and will be transferring from Red Rocks Community College to Colorado Mesa University in Grand Junction, CO this fall to complete their baccalaureate in Chemistry with a minor in Forensic Anthropology. Afterward, they plan to attend medical school so they may work as a Forensic Pathologist, something Izze has wanted to do for many years. Izze had a career as a medical aesthetician before making the decision to change paths and attend college, learning how to be a student again has been a demanding and exciting experience for Izze. They balance the challenges of being a non-traditional student with an array of hobbies such as playing bass guitar, embroidery, tarantula husbandry, and dancing.

View Izze's elevator speech [YouTube]

View Izze's RECCS 2023 presentation [Youtube]

View Izze's poster [PDF]

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Madison Scarlotti

Mentors: Sebastian Kopf and Toby Halamka

Bio: Madison Scarlotti grew up in and around Boulder, Colorado. She is working on an associates of science degree from Front Range Community College, with plans to pursue a degree in biochemistry. She has a deep love for plants and animals, and a particular fascination with microorganisms and their mutualist relationships with larger organisms. Originally, she was interested in clinical herbalism, yet has found herself too interested in the chemistry behind herbal medicine to follow that path alone.

Madison took time between high school and college finding answers to medical difficulties, eventually being diagnosed with Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome. Since then, she has embraced a holistic medicine mindset and her love of learning. She hopes to combine these two interests in research that can aid people who struggle with complex health concerns.

View Madison's elevator speech [YouTube]

View Madison's RECCS 2023 presentation [Youtube]

View Madison's poster [PDF]

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Abby Schmidt

Mentors: Emily Beam and Regina Leuty

Bio: Abby grew up in Anchorage, Alaska, and after bouncing around the western US for several years, landed in Lakewood, CO in 2020. She is a non-traditional student and recently completed her A.A. at Red Rocks Community College in May 2023.

Abby spent a lot of her childhood outside, which sparked an early love for the outdoors, plants, and wild animals (and bugs!). After spending several years working with youth in the outdoor education industry, she decided to go back to school to earn a degree in biology, and plans on completing the Ecology and Evolutionary Biology program at CU Boulder.

In her free time, you can find her rock climbing, hiking outside, playing music, and collecting pine cones. 

View Abby's elevator speech [YouTube]

View Abby's RECCS 2023 presentation [Youtube]

View Abby's poster [PDF]

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Matthew Steele

Mentor: Sammy Yevak

Bio: Matthew Steele is a Colorado native who just graduated from Northeastern Junior College with an associate's degree. He loves learning in every field, especially tinkering, experiments, chemistry, mechanical and applied sciences. And mathematics! He would like to make fuel out of algae one day.

Matthew is the fourth of five children, and always had a sibling to bounce ideas off of. As a person living with autism, he wants to show that differences don’t mean “impossible,” but just different ways of thinking and processing the world around us.

View Matthew's elevator speech [YouTube]

View Matthew's RECCS 2023 presentation [Youtube]

View Matthew's poster [PDF]

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Subash Sunuwar

Mentor: Edward Hartnett

Bio: Subash Sunuwar is a programmer and Cybersecurity student at Metropolitan State University. Subash hopes to learn new technology from the RECCS program and help the team. I love to learn new technology as well as I have a deep passion for learning Biology, especially plants.

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Leah Terry

Mentor: Sam Ahler

Bio: Leah Terry is a Denver Metro Area resident, and outdoor enthusiast and is frequently found in the garden during her free time. She is also a recent Red Rocks Community College graduate and has been accepted into CU-Boulder’s Ecology and Evolutionary Biology program. Leah is passionate about using modern research to contribute to ecological restoration.

She has had the opportunity to volunteer with Wildland Restoration on projects including, forest fire restoration, wetland erosion mitigation and species habitat restoration, and the city of Longmont’s initiative to co-exist with wildlife in urban settings.

With her background as a special education and classroom assistant, Leah has developed an appreciation for the necessity of educating members of the community on the relationship between humans, and the natural world. Leah is committed to pursuing a career in ecological restoration, and conservation. She is excited to work on grassland restoration research with her RECCS mentor Sam Ahler this summer at the Denver Botanic Gardens at Chatfield.

View Leah's elevator speech [YouTube]

View Leah's RECCS 2023 presentation [Youtube]

View Leah's poster [PDF]

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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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