FAST Fellow Bios

2023-2024 FAST Fellows

Luke Gregory is a fifth-year PhD candidate in the Plant Biology department and the Molecular Plant Sciences program. His research seeks to reveal adapted/acclimated strategies within the photorespiratory pathway that enable C3 plants to thrive at elevated temperatures, which the intention of applying these strategies in engineering efforts. In today’s data-rich world, the educational landscape requires richer teaching experiences that prioritize data literacy, critical thinking, and interdisciplinary problem solving. As a FAST Fellow, he wants to pursue a teaching-as-research project aimed to improve undergraduate students' proficiency and confidence in quantitative reasoning, equipping them with the essential skill not only to excel academically, but also to navigate real-world challenges.

Alyssa LaBerge is a fourth-year doctoral candidate in the School of Criminal Justice. Her research interests lie at the intersection of child maltreatment and juvenile delinquency, researching the mechanisms of and consequences of "crossover" from child welfare to juvenile justice. She is a community-engaged researcher, working closely with family courts to improve the outcomes of juvenile justice-involved youth and validate standardized juvenile risk and need assessments. Alyssa's teaching experience includes numerous invited guest lectures, workshop trainings, and serving as an undergraduate teaching assistant and an instructor of record in the School of Criminal Justice. As a FAST Fellow, Alyssa seeks to explore the benefits of using interactive online courseware during synchronous in-person classes to increase various components of student success, including classroom engagement, active participation, and material comprehension and application. 

Joana Lampe is a third-year doctoral international student at Michigan State University’s School of Social Work. Her main research interest revolves around the intersection of the child welfare system and health care systems. Her questions include - for example - whether parental healthcare access can serve as a form of child maltreatment prevention. Additionally, her doctoral studies have awakened an interest in social work education, specifically around anti-racist, diversity, equity, and inclusion (ADEI) practices and curriculum content. As a FAST Fellow, Joana is interested in exploring different modalities of teaching ADEI content: How can instructors best navigate the balancing act of satisfying newly prioritized accreditation standards, giving students – and themselves – the time to grapple with those topics, and promote meaningful change?   

Rafael Cavalcanti Lembi is a third-year PhD student in the Department of Community Sustainability at Michigan State University. For his PhD research, Rafael is working on the topic of energy justice in the Brazilian Amazon, seeking to explore just and sustainable pathways towards universal access to electricity for off-grid, isolated communities. Participatory methodologies and community engagement are foundational for the collaborative work he conducts with traditional communities and other stakeholders. As a FAST Fellow, he is interested in developing a toolkit with diverse lesson plans on the Sustainable Development Goals using case studies of social and environmental issues within Latin America. Further, he is also interested in assessing learning outcomes of the empirical application of the toolkit.

Iris Marianna Margetis is a fourth-year doctoral student in the Department of Economics at Michigan State University. Her field is Environmental Economics, and her research interests lie in Migration Patterns post Natural Disasters, along with the Economic Effects of Flood Risk Disclosure Laws, among other things. As a FAST Fellow, Iris is interested in exploring the extent to which Generative AI models, like ChatGPT, are used by students to overcome course challenges. Lastly, through a teaching intervention, she wishes to explore how the use of such models can either enhance, or hinder, student understanding of the material, information retention, as well as grades.

Haritha Mullagura is a fifth-year PhD candidate in the Mechanical Engineering Department. She has been a strong advocate of education and has actively engaged in teaching since her early undergraduate years in India. Her research interests lie in the field of cardiovascular mechanics and pulmonary arterial hypertension. During her time at MSU over the past four years, she has served as a Teaching Assistant for five different courses and laboratory sessions. Being an international student, she appreciates exploring the variations and commonalities in learning experiences among students from various educational backgrounds. One notable difference she observed was in the use of English versus SI units. With the support of the FAST fellowship, she aspires to undertake a project aimed at minimizing disparities in learning for students from diverse backgrounds. 

Billy Poulos is a doctoral student in the Department of Animal Science. His research is focused on improving the efficiency of somatic cell nuclear transfer and identifying pathways and mechanisms involved in early embryogenesis using Zebrafish as a model. Billy has previously taught courses in cell and molecular biology, anatomy and physiology, reproduction, and genetics in his role as a GTA in the College of Natural Science and the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources. As a FAST Fellow, Billy is interested in how student perceptions of teaching and learning in introductory cell and molecular biology courses have shifted as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Billy is specifically interested in exploring the student perceived advantages between fully in person and hybrid learning environments, and how to modify courses to better engage students and enable them to employ learning methods that are most effective for them. 

Kaylee Wilburn is a fourth-year PhD candidate in the Microbiology and Molecular Genetics program. Her research works to understand and exploit bacteriophage-pathogen interactions. She currently works in a Vibrio cholerae system, the causative agent leading to the disease Cholera, a pervasive cause of death in areas that lack access to clean drinking water. Kaylee’s previous research experiences included a masters in environmental microbiology where she began her bacteriophage work, as well as an undergraduate teaching-as-research (TAR) project focused on empowering informed decision making and finding credible resources. In addition to her research, she focuses her time on improving DEI in STEM, serving as the current director of the Graduate Recruitment Initiative Team (GRIT), and formerly serving as both treasurer and the peer mentor founder and coordinator. She has also volunteered for the Letters to a Pre-Scientist program and the Graduate Women in Science (GWIS) annual Girls Math and Science Day during her time at MSU. In the FAST program, Kaylee hopes to study effective early career intervention and exploration for STEM majors to improve retention of students from diverse backgrounds.

Dangkamol Wongthanaroj is a second-year Ph.D. student in the Healthcare, Universal design, & Biomechanics (HUB) Lab, School of Packaging. She was born and raised in Bangkok, Thailand, and her background for both Bachelor’s and Master’s are in Packaging. Her research focused on a sterile barrier system (SBS) of medical device packaging and a user-centric healthcare system. She investigates a packaging design that could help prevent medical devices from being contaminated at the point of use. Her approaches focus on human-centered design, and industrial feasibility studies aim to create a ramification to human health. Dangkamol is passionate about scientific teaching and has experience being a lab instructor for six semesters in the School of Packaging. For her FAST project, Dangkamol wants to improve a teaching strategy for a laboratory class to elevate students’ learning experiences. She wants to explore how to utilize cooperative learning, test corrections, and backward design to help students connect with the course content and how to improve student learning outcomes in a laboratory classroom.