Research Students

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Current Students

Erin Baumann ’17 – Environmental Studies & Spanish – Erin is from Madison, Wisconsin and is working on the Marcell S2 Lead Project. She has presented her work at the American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting in San Francisco, California and at the Gustavus Fall Research Symposium. She is currently completing her last year at Gustavus and after graduation she plans to take a year off from school and doing environmental education to decide if environmental education is what she would like to pursue a graduate degree in. See Marcell Experimental Forest – Mercury and Lead in Peat for more information.

Alora Smith ’17 – Chemistry – Alora is from St. Cloud, Minnesota and is working on the Marcell S2 Mercury Project. She presented at the Gustavus Fall Research Symposium and at the Celebration of Creative Inquiry and Sigma Xi Research Symposium on work she completed on the SAR study targeting the KIX domain in the Biology Department. She is currently completing her last year at Gustavus and after graduation she plans to get a job in chemistry. See Marcell Experimental Forest – Mercury and Lead in Peat for more information.

Johnny Pavek ’18 – Chemistry – Johnny is from Northfield, Minnesota and is working on the St. Louis River and St. Louis River Estuary Mercury Project. He has presented on his work at the Midstates Consortium for Math and Science Undergraduate Research Symposium in St. Louis, Missouri. See Mercury in the St. Louis River Estuary for more information.

Kenzie Perry ’18 – Geology & Environmental Studies – Kenzie is from Sioux Falls, South Dakota and is working on the High Five Project. She has presented on determine the best location of an emergency operations center for hurricane disaster response in New Orleans at the Celebration of Creative Inquiry and the Sigma Xi Symposium. She is also a student docent and the museum curator for Gustavus’ own Chester A. Johnson Geology Museum. See High Five Project – Mercury in Minnesota Rivers for more information.

Sam Hezeil ’19 – Biochemistry & Chemistry – Sam is from Rochester, Minnesota and is working on the St. Louis River Estuary Mercury Project. See Mercury in the St. Louis River Estuary for more information.

Rachel Lund ’19 – Chemistry – Rachel is from Fresno, California and is working on the High Five Project. She has presented on her work at the Midstates Consortium for Math and Science Undergraduate Research Symposium in St. Louis, Missouri and at the Gustavus Fall Research Symposium. See High Five Project – Mercury in Minnesota Rivers for more information.

Alex Senjem ’19 – Geology – Alex is from Rochester, Minnesota and is working on the High Five Project. He has presented on Stockton’s prevention of water privatization at the Celebration of Creative Inquiry and the Sigma Xi Symposium. See High Five Project – Mercury in Minnesota Rivers for more information.

Sarah Anderson ’20 – Biology – Sarah is from Roseville, Minnesota and is working on the Gulf of Mexico Mercury Project. See Gulf of Mexico Mercury Project for more information.

Brie Jol ’20 – Environmental Studies & Biology – Brie is from Eau Claire, Wisconsin and is working on the Gulf of Mexico Mercury Project. See Gulf of Mexico Mercury Project for more information.

Carly Miller ’20 – Biochemistry & Spanish – Carly is from Merrifield, Minnesota and is working on the Gulf of Mexico Mercury Project. See Gulf of Mexico Mercury Project for more information.

Previous Students 

Gabe Steinwand ’18 – Chemistry – Gabe is from Moorhead, Minnesota and worked on the St. Louis River Estuary Project during the summer of 2016. He presented on his work at the Gustavus Fall Research Symposium. He is also a winner of the MIAC Elite 22 Award. See Mercury in the St. Louis River Estuary for more information.

Russ Krueger ’17 – Geology – Russ is from Mosinee, Wisconsin and worked on the dragonfly larvae as bioindicators of methylmercury in the St. Louis River watershed project. In 2015, he had an internship at the University of South Carolina. Also in 2015, he was awarded Ernest F. Hollings Scholarship from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and had an internship at the NOAA. Also in 2015, he presented at the American Geophysical Union meeting in San Francisco, California. He is currently completing his last year at  Gustavus and has worked on various other research projects within the Geology Department at Gustavus. See Student Spotlights for more information.

Josh Portner ’16 – Chemistry – Josh is from Chicago, Illinois and worked on studying the methylmercury photodemethylation process. He has presented at the Gustavus Fall Research Symposium. He has also performed research on novel hydrogen purification materials as a summer research intern at T3 Scientific. He is currently attending graduate school for chemistry at the University of Chicago and performed research on semiconductor nanocrystal synthesis in Professor Dmitri Talapin’s group at the  University of Chicago.

Kris Reiser ’16 – Biochemistry – Kris is from Portland, Oregon and worked on the dragonfly larvae as bioindicators of methylmercury in the St. Louis River watershed project. He is currently taking a gap year working for Holden Village – an intentional community in North Cascades National Park and one of the most remote, continuously inhabited outposts in the lower 48. He is hoping to apply to graduate schools this fall, looking mostly for biochemistry and genetics programs, and is hoping to stay in the Pacific Northwest. See North Cascades National Park for more information.

Bryan Voigt ’16 – Chemistry – Bryan is from Annandale, Minnesota and continued work on Michael Walker’s project determining methylmercury-sissolved organic matter binding constants by competitive ligand exchange solid-phase extraction. In 2015, he was awarded the American Chemical Society Division of Environmental Chemistry Undergraduate Student Award and the ACS Division of Inorganic Chemistry Undergraduate Student Award, and the Voracious Learner Award. He has presented at the Gustavus Research Symposium. He is currently attending graduate school for material science at the University of Minnesota.

Rachel Weitz ’16 – Environmental Studies – Rachel is from Waconia, Minnesota and worked on the dragonfly larvae as bioindicators of methylmercury in the St. Louis River watershed project. She has also presented research on perceptions of sustainability and the environment based on socioeconomic status at the Celebration of Creative Inquiry and Sigma Xi Symposium. She is currently working for the Land & Environmental Department for the Prairie Island Indian Community. See Perceptions of Sustainability and the Environment Based on Socioeconomic Status for more information.

Anna Huff ’15 – Chemistry – Anna is from Plymouth, Minnesota and worked on the photochemistry and dragonfly studies related to the DNR study examining the impact of mining discharges of sulfate to the St Louis River and other water bodies. She has presented at the Gustavus Fall Research Symposium. In 2013, she was awarded the American Chemical Society Division of Polymer Chemistry Award. In 2014, she was awarded the Hypercube Scholar Award. In 2015, she was awarded the American Institute of Chemists Award. She is currently attending graduate school at and is a teaching assistant in chemistry at the University of Minnesota. See Gustavus Alumnae Honored by the NSF for more information.

Will Metcalf ’15 – Geography – Will is from Overland Park, Kansas and worked  on photochemistry and dragonfly studies related to the DNR study examining the impact of mining discharges of sulfate to the St Louis River and other water bodies. In 2014, he was a Wallenberg Scholar working in Sweden at Green Tech Park, sustainable business park which works on regional and national sustainable development projects. Also in 2014, he presented at the 24th Annual Conference of the Minnesota GIS/LIS Consortium on his research on how GIS can be used to better communicate scientific research using GRACE, a satellite-based sensor which monitors glacier and hydrological change across the globe. He is currently a product manager at PlanIT Impact in Kansas City. He is also applying to graduate school. See Wallenberg Scholars for more information.

Alison Agather ’13 – Chemistry & Environmental Studies – Alison is from Fairborn, Ohio and worked on the Marcell S2 Mercury Project. In 2012, she presented at the Geological Society of America in Charlotte, North Carolina. She also presented at the Gustavus Fall Research Symposium. In 2015, she, with 49 other scientists and about 70 Coast Guard crew members, embarked on a 65 day trip aboard the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Healy to study trace metals in the Arctic Ocean as a part of the GEOTRACES program. She is currently pursuing a PhD in Earth and Environmental Sciences at Wright State University. See Polar Passage for more information.

Emily Seelen ’13 – Biology & Environmental Studies – Emily is from St. Cloud, Minnesota and worked on the Marcell S2 Mercury & Lead Project. In 2011, she received the Greater Research Opportunities Fellowship from the Environmental Protection Agency and completed her internship at the EPA in 2012. In the spring of 2012, before her internship with the EPA, she spent a semester in Namibia learning about environmental conservation and wildlife management. She is currently pursuing a PhD in marine science at the University of Connecticut. Her dissertation research is on how mercury cycles through estuarine environments and what drives its transformation into methylmercury. She also received an NSF Fellowship in 2014 and is studying water quality in Sweden at Umeå University. Her research is focused on how organic matter plays a role in methylmercury uptake by phytoplankton on the molecular level. See NSF Graduate Research Fellowship and Studying Water Quality in Sweden for more information.

Michael Walker ’13 – Chemistry – Michael is from Saint Louis Park, Minnesota and worked on determining methylmercury-sissolved organic matter binding constants by competitive ligand exchange solid-phase extraction. In 2013, he was awarded the American Chemical Society Division of Environmental Chemistry Undergraduate Student Award and the Hypercube Scholar Award. Also in 2013, he presented at the Association for the Sciences of Limnology and Oceanography in New Orleans. He is currently attending graduate school for Energy, Environmental, and Chemical Engineering at Washington University in St. Louis. working on the atmospheric photochemistry of aerosol particles and is developing new instrumentation to measure changes in black carbon aerosols as they are oxidized in the atmosphere.

Nick Alverson ’12 – Environmental Studies & Geology – Nick is from Cottage Grove, Minnesota and worked on the Marcell S2 Mercury & Lead Project. For his senior thesis, he researched how sediment particles and arsenic are transported through streams and lakes.  He has presented at the Gustavus Fall Research Symposium.