FAST Fellow Bios

2017-2018 FAST Felllows

Loan Cao is a PhD candidate in Food Science and Environmental Toxicology at Michigan State University, where she do research and teach undergrad courses. She graduated from Michigan State University with Master’s degree in Food Science in 2012. Her experience includes training on food safety management systems including Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP), good manufacturing practices, hygiene and sanitation, good agricultural practices.  Her current research focuses on the assessment and management of food safety hazards in fruit juices, particularly screening contamination of different heavy metals in apple juice.

Joelyn Delima is a graduate Student in Dr. Tammy Long’s Lab in the Dept. of Plant Biology. She has a background in both Science (Bachelor’s in Zoology with Biotechnology, Master’s in Marine Science) and Education (Bachelor’s in Education).  She has experience teaching grade 5 through undergrad. Her interests are in Undergraduate Biology Education and Informal Science Education. At the moment, she is working on exploring the effect context has on the way students reason – especially with respect to Natural Selection.

Andrew Funk is a sixth-year doctoral candidate in the Plant Breeding, Genetics, and Biotechnology program. He earned his B.S. in Microbiology and Cell Science and his M.S in Plant Pathology from the University of Florida. He spent three years doing molecular and genetic research for a strawberry breeding program at the USDA-ARS in Beltsville, MD before returning to Michigan State for his PhD. His research interests in the McGrath lab focus on understanding the genetic basis for traits of interest, using genetic, genomic, and molecular data. He is currently exploring a new reference genome of sugar beet, identifying sequences related to disease resistance and comparing them across diverse material to provide tools for crop improvement. His teaching interests focus on methods to prepare students to use critical thinking, reasoning, and the scientific method to apply core concepts to new situations. He hopes to understand the relationship between detailed examples and conceptual frameworks in helping students construct their understanding of complex STEM topics.

Sarzina Hossain is a third year Ph.D. student from Mechanical Engineering Department at Michigan State University. She is working with Dr. Indrek S Wichman to simulate the microgravity combustion on earth using narrow channel apparatus. She received her Master’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from The University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) in 2014. She got Outstanding Thesis Award for her Master’s thesis from both the department and the graduate school. Originally from Bangladesh, she received her undergraduate degree in 2012 from Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET). From the FAST fellowship program, she hopes to develop ideas to make classroom lecture more interesting and engaging for students.  She is also very excited to meet and interact with other fellows.

Jihye Hwang is a second year Ph.D. student in mathematics at Michigan State University and she is seeking her interest and advisor. She completed her B.S. in Mathematics Education at the Korea University in Korea. During the 1st year of Ph.D. program, she worked only in the MLC, helping room for mathematics, and so she will explore an effect of MLC on students’ learning and their final grade. She is excited to teach recitations this semester and to improve her teaching ability by interacting with other who are also interested in education.

Danielle Kaminski is a PhD candidate in the Agricultural, Food, and Resource Economics (AFRE) Department at MSU. Her research interests include sports and labor economics as they relate to public policy and local and regional development. She is also interested in teaching and learning, particularly in methods for increasing student engagement and higher-order thinking.

Ahrom Kim is a Ph.D. candidate in the department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics.  She received her B.S. from Michigan State University in Microbiology and Molecular Genetics in 2012.  Currently, her dissertation research focuses on understanding the mechanisms of antibody diversification in B cells. Ahrom has been a teaching assistant for several semesters where she found her passion for teaching. As a FAST fellow, she is interested in how students can be motivated to engage in active learning and if this motivation can improve students’ performance.

Courtney Larson is a Ph.D. candidate in the Entomology Department and Ecology, Evolutionary Biology and Behavior Program. Stream ecosystems have captivated Courtney and lead her to her research interests in aquatic entomology.  She is interested in the effect of outside sources of organic matter on headwater stream communities of macroinvertebrates and microbes. Due to her passion for aquatic entomology, Courtney enjoys teaching on scientific subjects and has become interested in effective learning in the college classroom. During her tenure as a FAST fellow, she hopes to gain valuable skills to prepare for a career in an academic environment and perform research on the utilization of insects to enhance student learning.

Chiwimbo Gwenambira Mwika is a graduate scholar from Zimbabwe, studying Crop and Soil Sciences at Michigan State University. Agriculture has always been at the core of her world, having had a passion for the field from a very tender age. During 2011, she participated in a service-learning project at Kalamazoo College, where she worked in a community garden. Even though this was not at a farm scale, the experience was so fulfilling and enlightening to her that she decided to learn more about agricultural systems from small holder farmers in Sub-Saharan Africa. Currently, Chiwimbo is conducting on-farm participatory research with small holder farmers in Malawi, under the Africa RISING project. Generally, she is interested in agro-ecological and sustainable intensification research in the small holder farming context. Specific research interests include learning more about below and aboveground productivity of legume-based cropping systems and their soil nutrient balances. The main crop of interest in her research is pigeonpea, which she calls the ‘wonder shrub’.  Chiwimbo is passionate about teaching and learning and one of her main career goals is to effectively and efficiently transfer the knowledge and skills she has acquired over the years.

Megan Shiroda is a fourth year Ph. D. candidate researching how a pathogen (Group B Streptococcus, GBS) interacts with commensal members of the human microbiome, including Lactobacillus and bacteriophage, with Dr. Shannon Manning in the department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics. GBS is a leading cause of premature birth, stillbirth and disease in newborns, and this research will hopefully lead to new intervention strategies. Before coming to MSU, she was a TA for several courses at UW-Madison and an instructor at the College of Micronesia – Federated States of Micronesia. She is most interested in gaining a better understanding of current research on teaching and trying to integrate the Scientific Method into the format of science curriculums.

Kellie Walters is a Ph.D. student in horticulture working with Dr. Roberto Lopez. Currently, her research focuses on the physiological responses of hydroponically produced specialty vegetables to environmental factors. Kellie graduated from Iowa State University with a B.S. in horticulture in 2013 and an M.S. in 2015. Throughout her collage career, she has been involved in many teaching experiences including serving as a teaching assistant for multiple courses, teaching a hydroponics laboratory, participating in master gardener training, and teaching horticulture classes in the Virgin Islands. As a FAST fellow, she hopes to assess how the learning objectives of a greenhouse production course match with assessment scores and the student’s perception of understanding.

So-Jung Youn is a doctoral student in the Department of Fisheries and Wildlife at Michigan State University. Her research focuses on valuation of inland fisheries and the food and nutrition benefits people receive from consumption of freshwater fish. Her work is global in scope, focusing on the commercial lake whitefish fishery in Lake Michigan and small-scale fisheries in Myanmar. After obtaining her degree So-Jung would like to teach at the collegiate level, with a focus on interdisciplinary course content, and serve as a mentor for others who share her passions for global, interdisciplinary, sustainability research. As a FAST Fellow, So-Jung will explore the role of technology in the classroom and ways to effectively incorporate online resources in order to increase student engagement and learning.