Another Successful Year for METX Grads, Postdocs, and Alumni

July 06, 2016

 In 2015-16 METX celebrated a big year with several prestigious scholarships and honors awarded to outstanding students and post-docs, including recent graduate, Emma Hiolski.

 The METX Department would like to congratulate its 2016 graduate, Emma Hiolski, PhD (Smith Lab) on her dedication and hard-work in completing her PhD. Dr. Hiolski has been accepted into the Science Communication Program at UCSC and will continue her quest to understand and explain the science around us. During her last quarter with METX, Emma was honored for her teaching skills with an Outstanding TA Award. Emma’s undergraduate students have many wonderful things to say about her enthusiasm for the discipline and her ability to help them learn. 

 Continuing students Jaime Hernandez, Gisele Miglioranza Rizzi, Zeka Kuspa, Jennifer Teschler, and Diana Hooker-Romero also received scholarships and awards this past academic year.

 Jaime Hernandez, a 6th year graduate in the Saltikov Lab, was awarded the President's Dissertation Year Fellowship. This award grants support to students who are in their final graduate year so they can focus on completion of their dissertation. Jaime's dissertation research is on the molecular mechanism and environmental impact of photosynthetic arsenite oxidizing bacteria to the arsenic geochemical cycle.

 Gisele Miglioranza Rizzi, a 2nd year graduate in the Smith/Finkelstein Lab, received a scholarship from the NorCal Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry (SETAC) for a project proposal she submitted titled, "Skeletal Lead: Assessing the true magnitude of lead poisoning in California Condors".

 Zeka Kuspa, a 5th year in the Smith/Finkelstein Lab, also presented at SETAC and her poster was chosen for 3rd place. This was just one of three honors Zeka received this past quarter! She was also awarded a Dissertation Quarterly Fellowship which provides one quarter of support to graduates who are in the final stages of writing their dissertation and an ARCS Fellowship. The ARCS Fellowship is a competative award with a year-long schoarship that recognizes outstanding academic achievement. Zeka's academic research focuses on wild California condors which are chronically exposed to lead via spent lead-based ammunition in the carrion they eat. She studies how these toxic exposures may interact with frequent trapping and handling to alter stress physiology in this species. 

 Jennifer Teschler, a 4th year in the Yildiz Lab, doing research on Vibrio cholerae has also been awarded an ARCS Fellowship. She too will be awarded a stipend and be recognized in the ARCS annual luncheon.

 Diana Hooker-Romero, a 3rd year in the Stone Lab, focuses her research on elucidating the effect of host iron availability on Yersinia virulence. Diana has been awarded the highly competative Ford Foundation Fellowship. This fellowship is awarded to graduates with evidence of superior academic achievement who are committed to a career in teaching and research at the college or university level.

 And our recent postdoc from the Flegal Lab, Kingsley Odigie, has been awarded the Kharaka Award for his research on metal mobility related to wildfires. This award is bestowed to scientists from developing countries and is a huge milestone for Kingsley.

 Indeed it has been another successful year for the METX Department with the incredible amount of awards given out to our graduate and postdocs. Keep up the great work METX!