RECCS Student Researchers 2020

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Mai Abdelrahman

Project Title: Emission of reactive nitrogen (Nr) from wildfires, and relationship to burning temperature

Mentor: Ilann Bourgeois, CIRES/NOAA Chemical Science Division

Bio: Mai was born in Sudan and came to the US four years ago where she needed to learn English rather quickly, but she devoted time to learning and over time was able to acquire confidence in her new skill. She is now currently studying at the Community College of Denver where she lives with her spouse and two boys and plans to transfer to the University of Colorado Denver this fall semester.

Mai’s interest in the field was developed through working as a pharmacy technician where she admired the way in which medicine was able to heal and ease people’s pains, building on compassionate instincts held since she was a child. It is Mai’s goal to further her studies in biology and become a knowledgeable pharmaceutical professional capable of providing people with the right medicine to best help them.

Mai is looking forward to meeting all of the RECCS team members and getting started!

View Mai's poster and poster presentation.

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Riley Breshears

Project Title: Urban and Fire Emissions Effects on Ozone in the Troposphere 

Mentor: Ilann Bourgeois, CIRES/NOAA Chemical Science Division

Bio: Riley recently received his Associate of Science from Front Range Community College and plans to continue his studies at Colorado State University in the fall. Riley will pursue a degree in fish, wildlife, and conservation biology with a concentration in fisheries and aquatic sciences.

Riley’s educational aspirations align with his hobbies, as he enjoys fishing, hunting and golfing. Riley hopes that the RECCS program will assist him in developing valuable research skills he can utilize in his future career.

View Riley's poster and poster presentation.

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Aislynn Connell

Project Title: Analysis of Modeled Wildfire Smoke Forecasts Using Ground Observed Aerosols 

Mentor: Amanda Back, CIRES/NOAA Earth System Research Lab

Bio: Aislynn is currently studying at Pikes Peak Community College in Colorado Springs and plans to transfer to Colorado Boulder University in the fall of 2021, where she will pursue a degree in astrophysics.

Aislynn loves to learn new things, and enjoys getting involved in the community to help others. She enjoys traveling, hiking and playing both the trombone and baritone. Her passion for music prompted her to participate in the Blue Knights DCI training camp and hopes to become a member of the band in the summer of 2022.

View Aislynn's poster and poster presentation.

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Sydney Crites

Project Title: Investigating the correlation between air temperature and meltwater runoff through the Pitugfiup Kugssua river, northwest Greenland 

Mentor: Lincoln Pitcher, CIRES Earth Science and Observation Center at CU

Bio: Sydney is a first generation college student currently attending Northeastern Junior College in Sterling Colorado with plans to continue her education at the Colorado School of Mines studying chemical engineering next fall.

Sydney started playing the piano from an early age and grew up with two older brothers. She is also a volleyball player on Northeastern’s team and is looking forward to being student Vice President for Northeastern next year. When she is not playing volleyball or studying Sydney works at Starbucks where she has been employed since the age of 16.

This will be Sydney’s first year participating in the RECCS program and is excited to meet everyone and get started!

View Sydney's poster and poster presentation.

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Daniel De Souza

Project Title: The Effect of Ambient Temperatures on Pika Activity

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

Bio: Daniel is currently attending Northeastern Junior College in Sterling Colorado with plans to transfer to Western Colorado University (WCU) in Gunnison this year.

Daniel is currently studying wildlife biology, but plans to change his major to environmental biology after transferring to WCU. Although Daniel’s future educational and professional goals are not yet solidly defined, he is looking forward to learning more about the field and exploring his areas of interest through participation in the RECCS program.

View Daniel's poster and poster presentation.

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Meliah Dubus

Project Title: Carbon Fluxes within the Boreal Forest

Mentor: Jilmarie Stephens, University of British Columbia

Bio: Meliah was born and raised in Colorado and is currently completing her associate’s degree at Front Range Community College with plans to continue her studies in Fort Collins at Colorado State University.

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 in her future. 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 further develop and build her research skills, as well as become more familiar with a professional laboratory environment.

View Meliah's poster and poster presentation.

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Magdalena Franchois

Project Title: Soil Moisture Patterns in Thawing Soil at Green Lakes Valley, Colorado

Mentor: Mickey Rush, Civil, Environmental and Architectural Engineering Department at CU

Bio: Magdalena is a Colorado native from Denver who is currently a student at Red Rocks Community College (RRCC). Before she attended RRCC, she was a student at 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, and particularly math, developed. From here, Magdalena developed a more specific interest in environmental engineering as a way to keep her work terrestrial and closer to home. She hopes to explore the way our infrastructure can adapt to the changing world and work on projects that are more proactive in their approach to these changes rather than reactive.

Magdalena will finish community college this fall and transfer to the University of Minnesota to finish her bachelor’s degree in environmental engineering.

View Magdalena's poster and poster presentation.

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Crystal Gonzalez

Project Title: Identifying How Outgoing Longwave Radiation Patterns Differ Between Warm and Cold ENSO Events

Mentor: Stefan Tulich, CIRES at CU

Bio: Crystal moved to Colorado after living in Mexico for most of her life and is a first generation college student; she is also the first female to attend college in her family. Currently, Crystal is studying her general science associate’s at the Community College of Aurora through the pre-engineering program with plans to transfer to the University of Colorado Boulder this fall. Upon attendance of the University of Colorado, she will pursue a bachelor’s degree in architectural engineering.

Over the last semester 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. 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 functions 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 poster and poster presentation.

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Kyle Greaves

Project Title: Energy Market Price Variation vs. Temperature Change in Houston, TX 

Mentor: Sung Min Kim, Department of Civil Engineering at CU

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. Kyle 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.

Kyle is currently a student at Front Range Community College with plans to transfer to the University of Colorado in the fall of 2021 to study civil and environmental engineering. It is Kyle’s dream to use his education and collective experiences to travel the world creating new standards and building practices that coincide with a shared vision for a more sustainable future.

Kyle is excited for the opportunity to hone his research and leadership skills in the RECCS program this summer.

View Kyle's poster and poster presentation.

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Matthew Martinez

Project Title: Ocean and Atmosphere Impacts on Helheim Glacier Calving

Mentor: Tasha Snow, CIRES/NOAA Earth Systems Research Lab

Bio: Matthew is currently a student at Arapahoe Community College with plans to complete his associate’s degree in computer networking later this summer. Matthew also plans to complete graphical design and information technology certificates in the fall and spring of 2021.

Matthew is a first generation college student with particular interest in space, geoscience, and engineering research. He hopes to use his degree and experience to work in various fields of research and engineering in the future.

View Matthew's poster and poster presentation.

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Elizabeth Mathews

Project Title: Geographic Mapping of Ultramafic Rock Samples from New Guinea and Applications to Arc-Continent Collisions and Earth's Long-Timescale Climate 

Mentor: Peter Martin, Geochemistry at CU

Bio: Liz is currently a student at Lamar Community College working on her Associate of Science as well as a certificate in precision agriculture. This is Liz’s second round of attending college, the first being a small college in rural Vermont where she studied environmental science and robotics. From there Liz developed an interest and a career in the pet care and animal behavioral fields. She is a certified dog trainer, veterinary assistant, vegan, and advocate for the humane treatment of animals. 

Liz finally decided to pursue her passions and complete her education, starting at Lamar Community College with plans to transfer to Metro State in Denver for the environmental science program. She is specifically interested in ecological restoration and is currently developing a permaculture garden for her community in southeast Colorado. She plans to obtain certificates in GIS and drone operation to strengthen and support her scientific career goals.

In addition to her passion for environmental science and ecology Liz also enjoys hobbies such as studying plant-based medicine, making art and writing science fiction and poetry.

View Liz's poster and poster presentation.

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Joshua Morlan

Project Title: Investigating magnetic fields with your phone - you can do it too! 

Mentors: Rick Saltus and Neesha Schnepf, CIRES/NOAA at CU

Bio: Josh is from Las Animas Colorado, and recently finished his Associate of Science at Otero Junior College in La Junta Colorado. He plans on transferring to Montana State University.

Josh is interested in the fields of paleontology and astronomy, and loves learning about what life was like millions of years ago. Dinosaurs fascinated him when he was a kid, and as an adult he has maintained this passion. 

Josh is looking forward to the RECCS program so that he can obtain research skills that will help him in his pursuit of a career in paleontology.

View Josh's poster and poster presentation.

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Khokolah Sherzad

Project Title: Measuring VOCs and Other Pollutants Near and Active Oil and Gas Drilling Site in Broomfield, CO

Mentor: Dan Bon, Colorado Department of Public Health and the Environment

Bio: Khokolah is a first generation student who immigrated to the United States in 2015, now working towards her associate’s degree from the Community College of Denver.

Khokolah came to the United States with vast goals and ambitions 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 associate's, Khokolah will be transferring to the University of Colorado Denver to obtain a degree in biology which she plans on using 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 poster and poster presentation.

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Christina Waddle

Project Title: Planting Methods: Can They Improve Yield and Plant Health?  

Mentors: Warren Sconiers, University of the Ozarks

Bio: Christina is a first generation student from Pleasant Hill Missouri currently attending the University of the Ozarks in Arkansas, with plans to graduate in the spring of 2021. She has always had a desire to be outside as well as protect and observe the surrounding natural world. She also plays for her school’s soccer team and enjoys many other outdoor activities.

For the last two years, Christina has been a Garden Manager at Food for Thought Garden and a student leader at Ozarks Outdoors. Both positions have allowed her to experience the Ozarks of Arkansas and she is excited to continue those experiences and base her thesis off the surrounding ecosystems.

Christina is pursuing her Bachelor of Science with a major in environmental studies and minors in sustainable agriculture, sociology and creative writing. It is her hope to use all aspects of her studies to achieve her ideal future career and focus her interests into a field well suited to her passions.

 View Christina's poster and poster presentation.

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LeAnna Warren

Project Title: The Effects of Snowmelt Timing and Warming on Plant Phenology 

Mentors: Laurel Brigham; Kyle Christianson, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Department at CU

Bio: LeAnna is a nontraditional first generation student from Houston Texas that has studied at both Front Range Community College and Austin Community College. She loves to talk to people about the protection and preservation of nature.

LeAnna has worked at the Houston Arboretum teaching nature-based education programs to children and performing on-grounds conservation work. She has also worked as a camp counselor for the Austin Nature and Science Center, a nature specialist at a private preschool, and an intern with the Trail Foundation in Austin working as an assistant to the director of ecological restoration.

LeAnna has spent the last two semesters working as a lab assistant in the Natural Sciences Department at Front Range Community College and is transferring to Colorado State University in the fall to obtain her bachelor’s in ecosystem science and sustainability with a minor in eco-policy. She moved to Fort Collins last summer to be in a city that facilitates better access to nature as she enjoys rock climbing, hiking, and pretty much anything involving the outdoors. 

View LeAnna's poster and poster presentation.

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