FAST Fellow Bios

2019-2020 FAST Fellows

Kimberly Alberts is a PhD student in the Educational Psychology and Educational Technology Program (EPET). She received her Bachelor’s in Psychology and History from Central Michigan University and her Master’s in Education from the University of Michigan. Before coming to MSU, she taught IB Psychology and IB Theory of Knowledge in Quito, Ecuador. Currently, she is working with Dr. Jennifer Schmidt to study student engagement and motivation with a special focus on STEM contexts. She is currently involved with several research projects related to 1) Better understanding how students use cognitive processes to make sense of their affective experiences in school, 2) Examining the effectiveness of a teacher education program in facilitating preservice teachers’ development of cultural competence, and 3) Constructing profiles of students’ STEM engagement.

Gaurav Chauda is a doctoral student in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Michigan State University, working with Dr. Daniel J. Segalman in the field of contact mechanics and vibration. His work involves testing various friction models to understand dissipation behavior in jointed structures. To expand his exposure to this research community, he attended summer schools in the field of Joint Mechanics (NDCSI) at Rice University, Houston and Imperial College London, London. Prior to his coming to MSU, he worked two years in TATA Motors as a vibration testing engineer. He earned his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Mechanical Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur, India. Through the FAST Fellowship, Gaurav will explore ways of deploying concept inventories to assess the understanding of those concepts in engineering students. He will also design a short term intervention to measure retention of concepts from pre-requisites.

Megan Cross is a PhD student in the Department of Fisheries and Wildlife at Michigan State University. She conducts research on state wildlife agency partnerships and collaborations. Her previous research as a MS student at the University of Minnesota related to hunter risk perceptions of bovine tuberculosis and farmers’ voluntary enrollment in conservation programs beneficial to wildlife. As a FAST Fellow, Megan hopes to explore student motivation to learn, particularly in courses required by curriculums that are outside of typical students’ interests.

Angel “Gelica” Forde is a PhD Candidate in the Department of Community Sustainability. She is also a teaching convener in the Baileys Scholars Program in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources. She graduated with a BS in Natural Resources and a minor in GIS from Lincoln University Missouri and a MS from Florida A&M University (FAMU). With over eight years of teaching high school, she believes creating a classroom that fosters sense of community and belonging could enhance a student’s learning journey. She is currently working on her dissertation which focuses on international graduate sense of belonging on Michigan State University Campus. Also, she is working on receiving certificates in College Teaching, Spatial Ecology, and Community Engagement. When she is not working on her dissertation or trying to develop her teaching skills, she can be found on a tennis court playing or officiating. She is an athlete by nature and uses whatever little spare time she has enjoying some sporting event (mainly tennis).

Rachael Goodman-Williams is a PhD student in the Ecological-Community Psychology program at Michigan State University. Broadly speaking, her research focuses on systems and community responses to sexual violence, the trajectory of victim and offender behaviors and experiences over time, the impact of methodological decisions on research findings, and ethical considerations in gender-based violence research. Her dissertation uses a latent class transition analysis to explore sexual assault survivors’ experiences of posttraumatic stress over time and to identify how different types of social support impact those trajectories of posttraumatic stress. She has experience in undergraduate teaching and course design in areas that include research methods, human services internships, and gender- based violence.

Ryley Mancine is a medical student at MSU College of Osteopathic Medicine. He received his BS in Human Biology and BS in Psychology at Michigan State University, where he focused on developing a screening tool for the early detection of disordered eating behaviors. In medical school, Ryley is driven to become a psychiatrist and hopes to incorporate research, in-classroom instruction, and patient encounters into his career. His research interests include exploring optional in-class and out-of-class active learning behaviors that lead to increased assessment scores, as well as utilizing mood states and how they may contribute to the learning process.

Connie Rojas is a PhD Candidate in Integrative Biology and the Ecology, Evolutionary Biology, and Behavior (EEBB) program at Michigan State University. For her dissertation research, she is investigating the interactions between animal hosts and their symbiotic microbial communities, hereafter termed the ‘microbiome.’ Specifically, she is investigating how the microbiome affects their hosts physiology and behavior, and how the host and its environment affect their symbiotic microbial communities. These questions are being asked in the social carnivore, the spotted hyena (Crocuta crocuta). Connie uses a combination of field work data, laboratory work, and computational tools to accomplish these goals. Outside of work, she is very involved with her community and believes that service, community-engagement and activism are central to her role as an academician and researcher.

Andrew “Ted” Van Alst is a PhD candidate in the Microbiology and Molecular Genetics Program at Michigan State University and is advised by Dr. Victor DiRita. His research focuses on how the human gastrointestinal pathogen Vibrio cholerae colonizes and proliferates during the course of infection. Throughout his graduate education, Ted has participated in undergraduate education of the biological sciences through multiple teaching assistantships. In his role as graduate student curriculum liaison, he provided feedback for both graduate and undergraduate curriculum in Microbiology and Molecular Genetics, and is part of an effort to redesign undergraduate education as a “career curriculum” to more closely connect student majors to a career in microbial or genomic science. Previously, he developed a collection of research tools designed to evaluate two new courses as part the Bioethics minor degree program in Lyman Briggs College. As a FAST fellow, he plans to research educational design strategies and course tools that can be implemented to increase the utility value of introductory STEM courses. Particularly through course material that exposes students to future career paths within their field of study.

Scott Warner is a PhD candidate in the Plant Biology Department studying under Dr. Frank W. Telewski. He is investigating the effects of climate on tree growth in the Great Lakes Region and what that means for future growth under ongoing climate change. He joined the FAST program to prepare for a potential teaching career and to conduct research on the relationship between career planning and classroom success. He has experience as a teaching assistant and guest lecturer.