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Trainees / Fellows

 


 

2019 - 2020 STRIDE FELLOWS


  

molly graffam

Photo School of Marine & Atmospheric Sciences
Lab: Nils Volkenborn

Molly is a PhD candidate in the School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences. Molly's research interest is improving water quality through nutrient removal processes. Her dissertation is on the biogeochemistry of groundwater and wastewater treatment systems including permeable reactive barriers (PRBs) and nitrogen removing biofilters (NRBs). She is interested in understanding the link between hydrology and redox conditions which impact microbial processes and are critical for nitrogen removal. She is also interested in the alternative metabolic pathways that can sometimes lead to pollution swapping during water treatment. Her research can help inform the design criteria for NRBs and PRBs so that nutrient removal performance is optimized. This work is intended to contribute toward meeting nitrogen load reduction targets set by policymakers.

Email:   molly.graffam@stonybrook.edu

 


 

Megan hahn

Photo School of Marine & Atmospheric Sciences
Lab: Nolwenn Dheilly

Megan is a fourth year PhD candidate in the School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences. Her research focuses on using the threespine stickleback fish and its tapeworm parasite  Schistocephalus solidus to develop an organismal model system to study the role of microbes in host parasite interactions. She primarily utilizes lab experiments in conjunction with next generation sequencing technologies to investigate host and parasite associated microbes, the impact of the parasite on host associated microbes, and the potential for host-parasite-microbe coevolution in this system. Megan’s goal is for her research to help inform medical policy and to give way to new therapeutic strategies to prevent and treat tapeworm infections.

Email: megan.hahn@stonybrook.edu

 


 

Jessica maghakian

Photo Applied Mathematics and Statistics
Lab: Zhenhua Liu

Jessica Maghakian is a PhD student and NSF GRFP Fellow in the Department of Applied Mathematics and Statistics. Her research addresses the challenge of designing optimization algorithms that are required to make decisions in real-time, with imperfect knowledge of the future.   As real-time optimization becomes more widespread in application areas such as the smart grid, autonomous vehicles and cloud computing, reliable algorithms with theoretical performance guarantees become all the more necessary.


Email: jessica.maghakian@stonybrook.edu

 


 

anna mcpherran

Photo Ecology & Evolution
Lab: Liliana Davalos

Anna McPherran obtained her BA in Biology from Queens College before beginning her doctorate in Ecology and Evolution at Stony Brook. She also worked as a science communicator for four years at the New York Hall of Science, where she directly served students of all ages in her own community. Anna is broadly interested in how human social and economic systems affect extinctions and conservation of neotropical mammals. For her dissertation, she is interested using an interdisciplinary approach spanning from genomics to the social sciences to understand the impacts of human activity on hutias (native Caribbean rodents) through multiple points in time and space.

Email: anna.mcpherran@stonybrook.edu

 


 

josue Nassar

Photo Electrical & Computer Engineering
Lab:  M ónica Bugallo

Josue is PhD student in the Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering. Under the supervision of Drs. Mónica Bugallo and Il Memming Park, the goal of his research is to create Bayesian machine learning algorithms for neural data that allow for interpretable results to be obtained.
Email: josue.nassar@stonybrook.edu

 


 

alyssa stansfield

Photo School of Marine & Atmospheric Sciences
Lab: Kevin Reed

Alyssa Stansfield is a PhD student in the School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences working with Dr. Kevin Reed. She graduated from Rutgers University in May 2017 with her B.S. in meteorology and physical oceanography. She utilizes climate models to study tropical cyclones and investigate how these powerful storms will change under the effects of climate change. While in the STRIDE program, she hopes to develop skills to effectively communicate future results of her research to the public and policymakers so that society can mitigate the damages due to tropical cyclones in the future. 
Email: alyssa.stansfield@stonybrook.edu

 


 

2018 - 2019 STRIDE FELLOWS


 

RAchael herman

Photo Ecology & Evolution
Lab: Heather Lynch

Rachael's research focuses on population size changes and range shifts in Pygoscelis penguins of the Antarcic Peninsula. Her dissertation integrates enviornmental modeling, long-term census data, and population genetic analyses to characterize population size changes and range expansion in gentoo penguins and to explore links with potential casual factors such as climate change and pressure from commercial fisheries.


Email: rachael.herman@stonybrook.edu

 


Zahraa Krayem

Photo

Electrical & Computer Engineering
Lab: M ónica Bugallo

Zahraa's research area of interest is Statistical Signal Processing where she studies data algorithms and build data mathematical models to aid in data driven decisions. She also design and instruct Engineering Teaching Laboratories to get pre-college students interested and aware of STEM education and STEM opportunities in many different fields.


Email: zahraa.krayem@stonybrook.edu

 

 


adelle molina

Photo Marine & Atmospheric Sciences
Lab: Janet Nye

Adelle is broadly interested in both the direct and indirect effects of climate change and climate variability on species distributions and assemblages, with a particular focus on valuable fishery species. More specifically, she analyzes the physiological and ecological effects of temperature and other environmental factors, such as salinity and dissolved oxygen, on population dynamics and species distributions, with the end goal of applying this research in the context of climate change. Her research has largely focused on the blue crab ( Callinectes sapidus ) population in Long Island estuaries; the goal is to understand the current status of this population, to examine how and why this population has varied over time, and to evaluate the potential effects of climate change on this temperate species.


Email: adelle.molina@stonybrook.edu

 


julia stepanuk

Photo Ecology & Evolution 
Lab: Heather Lynch 

Julia recently completed her MS in the Thorne lab at SoMAS. She obtained a B.Sc. from McGill University in Montreal, Quebec, and completed a GIS certificate at The University of Maine at Machias. Julia has spent many years working on the ocean, both with the  Sea Education Association  and with whale watch companies in New England. Her Master’s thesis investigated the effectiveness of a spatiotemporal approach for reducing pilot whale interactions with the pelagic longline fishery using pilot whale telemetry data, longline effort data, and data from the Pelagic Observer Program to quantify and model spatiotemporal overlap between pilot whales and longlines relative to observed interactions. Julia is currently a PhD student in the Department of Ecology and Evolution and is focused on trophic interactions between cetaceans and prey in the Northwest Atlantic Ocean.


Email: julia.stepanuk@stonybrook.edu

 


stephen tomasetti

Photo School of Marine & Atmospheric Sciences
Lab: Christopher Gobler

Stephen Tomasetti is a doctoral student in Marine Science at the School of Marine and Atmospheric Science. He studies how the confluence of stressors related to human activities and climate change affects sea life. More broadly, his interests involve the functioning of coastal systems near urban environments—how might humans and sea life live in harmony? Before pursuing his PhD, he worked for 5 years as a high school biology teacher in Brooklyn, NY, where he developed a passion for communicating science, and became more deeply engaged with the issues affecting coastal New York state. As somewhat of a shellfish enthusiast, he is passionate about the blue crabs, oysters, clams, and scallops historically found in high abundance throughout coastal New York. Much of his work emphasizes the interactions of this subset of animals with their ever-changing environments.


Email: stephen.tomasetti@stonybrook.edu

   


 

2017 - 2018 STRIDE Fellows


 

Joshua comden

Photo Applied Mathematics and Statistics
PhD Student

Joshua Comden is currently studying the mathematics of decision making which is alled operations research. He received his M.S. in Applied Mathematics and Statistics in 2015 from Stony Brook University and his B.E. in Chemical Engineering from University of Delaware in 2009. His resarch interests are in the design and analysis of demand response programs for the power grid and continual learning algorithms. Specifically, his research is in figuring out how to use predictions of the future to make the best decisons now, which has many important applications in the smart grid, autonomous vehicles, and machine learning. 

Email:   joshua.comden@stonybrook.edu

 


 

TaRa dolan

Photo School of Marine & Atmospheric Sciences
Lab: Anne McElroy/Michael Frisk

is currently working towards a doctorate in Marine Science. She is developing a restoration-prioritization framework to guide management of Long Island's Winter Flounder inshore fishery. Before it's precipitous decline, Winter Flounder supported vital commercial and recreational fisheries, bolstering the coastal region's economy and maritime heritage. Despite strict fishing quotas in recent years, Winter Flounder have not recovered. Blocking their resurgence is the limited number that survive their first summer spent in Long Island estuaries. Her future goals include leading a team working towards research-based solutions to marine resource management issues, while helping to guide the next generation of emerging scientists. Tara is passionate about working with leaders from multiple scientific and professional fields, as well as community groups to promise scientific literacy. 

Email:   tara.dolan@stonybrook.edu


lisa herbert

Photo School of Marine & Atmospheric Sciences
Lab: Laura Wehrmann

is a PhD student studying marine geochemistry. She earned her B .A. in Environmental Earth Science in 2015 from Washington University in St. Louis. She began at Stony Brook University in the Master's program at the School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences in August 2015, and transferred into the PhD program the following semester. Lisa's research investigates how glaciers on the Arctic island of Svalbard transport trace metals like iron, manganese, zinc, and copper into the Arctic ocean. These trace metals serve as nutrients for biological growth, and changes in their supply as ice melts may have an effect on the marine food chain in the Arctic. In addition to her research, she is passionate about communicating the science of climate change and Arctic warming to wide audiences through blogging, public speaking, and teaching. By communicating her research, she wants to help decision-makers and the public understand that changes in the Arctic can have immediate impacts on their lives, and that the progress of climate change can be slowed with appropriate action. 

Email: lisa.herbert @stonybrook.edu


kylie langlois

Photo School of Marine & Atmospheric Sciences
PhD Student

Kylie Langlois' research focuses on the microbial community involved in nitrogen removal of household wastewater. Specifically, household wastewater treated by on-site systems built under a homeowners yard. The current half million on-site wastewater treatment systems on Long Island were not initially designed for nitrogen removal, leading to large concentrations of nitrogen entering the groundwater. From there, nitrogen can enter public and private drinking water wells and pose a threat to human health, especially small children. Nitrogen can also enter the surrounding coastal waters and lead to large blooms of algae stretching across some of the largest bays on Long Island. Not only are these blooms ugly, but they can be toxic to humans and/or cause fish and shellfish die-offs. Kylie has been working with the Center for Clean water Technology to understand the structure and function of the microbial community of nitrogen removing biofilters (NRBs), a much-improved on-site wastewater treatment system. Kylie uses next-generation sequencing tools and cutting-edge bioinformatics to describe the microbial community and how it interacts with the NRB material. Hopefully this work will inform decisions about NRB monitoring and future NRB designs. 

Email: kylie.langlois @stonybrook.edu


kristjan mets

Photo Ecology & Evolution
Lab: Liliana Davalos

Kristjan's research focuses on white-nose syndrome, an emerging fungal disease that has devastated North American bat populations. In particular, Kristjan is constructing population ecology models integrated with infectious disease models to determine how geography and human presence affect disease transmission. From this, he will project potential trajectories for the disease and identify bat populations that are more likely to spread the pathogen in currently uninfected areas. This work is done with the intention of informing management practices for white-nose syndrome as well as drawing applications for novel emerging disease in general. 

Email kristjan.mets @stonybrook.edu

 


Lisa prowant 

Photo Ecology & Evolution 
Lab: Resit Akcakaya

Lisa Prowant is interested in improving conservation practices to mitigate the effects of climate change in biodiversity. Her dissertation research focuses on incorporating biotic interactions into species distribution and population dynamic models using the Eastern box turtle, their predators, and disease as a case study. This research will improve the current understanding of box turtle trophic interactions and their population fluctuations and trends. It will also improve future conservation planning by predicting the effects of various conservation actions on box turtle populations. 


Email: lisa.prowant@stonybrook.edu

 

 


 

 

STRIDE Trainees 

Yousef El-laham

Photo Electrical and Computer Engineering
Lab: M ónica Bugallo

Yousef is a PhD student in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering from Providence, Rhode Island. He works in the COSINE lab under Dr. Mónica Bugallo on problems pertaining to Bayesian inference. Yousef's current research interests include: Monte Carlo methods, adaptive importance sampling, particle filtering, and machine learning

Email:   Yousef.Ellaham@stonybrook.edu

 


 

Bhavya ghai

Photo Computer Science
Lab: Klaus Mueller

Bhavya Ghai is a PhD Student in the Computer Science Department at Stony Brook University, specializing in Data Science & Visualization. He loves crunching numbers to tackle high impact problems. His recent work deals with visualizing high-dimensional, multivariate data into lower dimensions using genetic algorithms. As Bloomberg Immersion fellow, he worked with a non-profit, Matriculate, and helped them with their visualization needs. He spent time at Georgia Tech where he worked on housing justice and policy analysis as part of Data Science for Social Good program . He worked as a research intern at Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi where he tried to predict solar radiation to ensure power supply-demand equilibrium. Previously, he completed his Bachelor’s and Masters in Information Technology from Indian Institute of Information Technology, Gwalior, where he worked on ensemble learning and recommender systems. He’s also the recipient of Chairman Fellowship Award from Stony Brook University (2016). 

Email:   bhavya.ghai@stonybrook.edu  


 

 STRIDE ALUMNI


 

xin zhou, PhD (2018)

Photo School of Marine & Atmospheric Sciences

Interested in applications on clouds and renewable energy, Dr. Zhou's current work on evaluating WRF-Solar model using different model configurations is a good start to advance the WRF-Solar for better solar irradiance forecast.  He has rich experiences using WRF to conduct simulations at different scales and have accomplished a series of research projects on radiative transfer, clouds and precipitating systems at various stages. These experiences provide him a unique skill set to study the cloud-related processes using numerical modeling approach.  Besides research, he has had several enriching experiences in teaching and communication including STRIDE program for example. These experiences helped him to better engage with the research team and colleagues while keeping self-motivated.


Emailxzhou@bnl.gov


 

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