Research and Accomplishments

Learn about research undertaken by alum and where they are now.

2016 

Claire Malley (MS, 2016)
Major adviser: Norman Wickett, Ph.D.
Thesis: Methods in Orthology Detection and Application to the Moss Phylogeny
Contact: cmalley@u.northwestern.edu

Ryan Disney (MS, 2016)
Major adviser: Daniel Larkin, Ph.D.
Thesis: Effects of harvest regime on an assemblage of native prairie species grown as a biofuel crop
Contact: RyanDisney@u.northwestern.edu
Current position: Internship: Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center: A report on the effects of harvest timing and frequency on a native prairie bioenergy crop

2015

Adrienne Basey (MS, 2015)
Major adviser: Andrea Kramer, Ph.D.
Thesis: restoration ecology, conservation genetics, plant conservation
Contact: Adrienne.Basey@u.northwestern.edu

Magdalena Eshleman (MS, 2015)
Major adviser: Andrea Kramer, Ph.D.
Thesis: A comparison of intraspecific variation in early life history characteristics of native Colorado Plateau forbs
Contact: maggieeshleman@gmail.com
Current Position: Biologist, CH2M in Tucson, Arizona

Paul Hartzog (PhD, 2015)
Major adviser: Daniel Larkin, Ph.D.
Dissertation: The effects of restoration and plant community change on denitrification and investigations into denitrification measurement techniques
Contact: paulhartzog2014@u.northwestern.edu
Current position: Consultant, Beghou Consulting

Elizzabeth Kaufman (MS, 2015)
Contact: ElizabethKaufman2015@u.northwestern.edu
Current position: Internship: Gunnison Sage-grouse Habitat Assessment Report: Crawford Population 2013-2015

Emily Lewis (MS, 2015)
Major adviser: Krissa Skogen, Ph.D.
Thesis: Pollination biology and Onagraceae
Contact: EmilyLewis2015@u.northwestern.edu

Theresa Melhem (MS, 2015)
Major adviser: Nyree Zerega, Ph.D.
Thesis: Diversity and origins of jackfruit (Artocarpus heterophyllus, Lam.) in the Western Ghats of South India
Contact: TheresaMelhem2012@u.northwestern.edu

Nora Talkington (MS, 2015)
Major adviser: Andrea Kramer, Ph.D.
Thesis: Sprorobolus airoides propagation from invaded and uninvaded Russian knapweed sites
Contact: NoraTalkington2012@u.northwestern.edu

Rebecca Tonietto (MS, 2009; PhD, 2015)
Major Adviser: Jeremie Fant, Ph.D. (MS) Daniel Larkin, Ph.D. (PhD)
Thesis: Chicago bees: green roofs, parks and prairies
Dissertation: The effects of habitat restoration on wild bee communities
Contact: RebeccaTonietto2008@u.northwestern.edu
Current Position: Smith Post-Doctoral Fellow, Department of Biology, Saint Louis University

Christopher Warneke (MS, 2015)
Major Adviser: Kayri Havens-Young, Ph.D.
Thesis: Host preferences of biocontrol weevils for a threatened thistle and an invasive week: implications for management and conservation
Contact: warneke@u.northwestern.edu
Current Position: PhD student at Michigan State University in Department of Plant Biology

2014

Anna Braum (MS, 2014)
Major Adviser: Jeremie Fant, Ph.D.
Thesis: Investigating the drivers of floral trait polymorphism in Castilleja coccinea (L.) Sprengel (Orobanchaceae)
Contact: AnnaBraum2013@u.northwestern.edu
Current Position: Research Assistant with Plants of Concern program at Chicago Botanic Garden

Alicia Foxx (MS, 2014)
Major Adviser: Andrea Kramer, Ph.D.
Thesis: Intraspecific variation in Elymus elymoides root traits and its influence on competitive outcomes
Contact: aliciafoxx2014@u.northwestern.edu
Current Position: PhD student in Plant Biology and Conservation, Northwestern University

Stephanie Frischie (MS, 2014)
Major Adviser: Andrea Kramer, Ph.D.
Internship: Inventory and biogeography of peanut (Arachis spp., Fabaceae Lindl.) crop wild relatives in the Parapeti river basin and Inao National Park, Bolivia.
Contact: mailto:stephaniefrischie@gmail.com
Current Position: Doctoral Student with the Native Seed Science, Technology and Conservation Marie Curie Multi-partner Initial Training Network at University of Pavia, Italy and Semillas Silvestres, Cordoba, Spain

Robert Hevey (MS, 2014)
Major Adviser: Louise Egerton-Warburton, Ph.D.
Thesis: Ectomycorrhizal community recovery in Quercus savanna following restoration from a Rhamnus cathartica invasion
Contact: RobertHevey2011@u.northwestern.edu
Current Position: PhD Student in Plant Biology and Conservation at Northwestern University

Kristen Laricchia (MS, 2014)
Major Adviser: Nyree Zerega, Ph.D. and Norman Wickett, Ph.D.
Thesis: Transcriptome analysis of domesticated breadfruit and its wild relatives
Contact: kristenlaricchia2014@u.northwestern.edu
Current Position: Associate Computational Biologist at the Broad Institute, MacArthur Lab

Anne Nies (MS, 2014)
Major Adviser: Pati Vitt, Ph.D.
Thesis: Excess and limitation of soil resources in Illinois communities of Cypripedium Candidum (Orchidaceae), the unexpected relationship between soil character, mycorrhizal colonization and photosynthesis
Contact: annenies2010@u.northwestern.edu
Current Position: FAS Account Manager, Donlen Corporation

Chen Ning (MS, 2014)
Major Adviser: Gregory Mueller, Ph.D.
Thesis: Functional Response of Ectomycorrhizal Fungal Community to Nitrogen Deposition on Slash Pine (Pinus elliottii) Plantation in South-central China
Contact: chenning2012@u.northwestern.edu
Current Position: PhD Student in Plant Biology and Conservation at Northwestern University

Corey Palmer (MS, 2014)
Major Adviser: Louise Egerton-Warburton, Ph.D.
Thesis: The prairie underground: soil recovery in Chicago wilderness restoration
Contact: CoreyPalmer2013@u.northwestern.edu

Maria Wang Mei Hua (MS, 2014)
Major Adviser: Nyree Zerega, Ph.D.
Thesis: Diversity and origins of an underutilized tropical fruit tree, cempedak (Artocarpus integer, Moraceae), and its wild relative bangkong (Artocarpus integer var. silvestris)
Contact: MariaWang2013@u.northwestern.edu
Current Position: Field Intern at Luquillo LTER, Puerto Rico.

Laney Widener (MS, 2014)
Major Adviser: Jeremie Fant, Ph.D.
Thesis: Reproductive Isolation and Genetic Divergence In The Castilleja Affinis Subspecies Complex
Contact: laneywidener2014@u.northwestern.edu
Current Position: Botanical Coordinator, New England Wild Flower Society

2013

Lindsay Darling (MS, 2013)
Major Adviser: Nyree Zerega, Ph.D.
Thesis: Genetic diversity and population structure of three tree species across and urban to remnant landscape gradient
Contact: LindsayDarling2013@u.northwestern.edu
Current Position: Research Assistant for the Oak Recovery Program, Morton Arboretum

Nikhilesh Desai (MS, 2013)
Major Adviser: Louise Egerton-Warburton, Ph.D.
Thesis: Mycorrhizal community structure among Quercus oleoides in the seasonally dry tropical forest
Contact: NikhileshDesai2012@u.northwestern.edu
Current Position: Botanic Specialist, Portland Parks and Recreation Urban Forestry, Portland, Oregon

Joshua Drizin (MS, 2013)
Major Adviser: Stuart Wagenius, Ph.D.
Thesis: Hygroscopic awns of two prairie grasses Andropogon gerardii and Sorghastrum nutans
Contact: JoshuaDrizin2012@u.northwestern.edu
Current Position: Artist

Katherine Muller (MS, 2013)
Major Adviser: Stuart Wagenius, Ph.D.
Thesis: Observational and experimental approaches to understanding the relationship between a long-lived perennial and its specialist aphid in fragmented habitat
Contact: KatherineMuller2013@u.northwestern.edu
Current Position: PhD student, Plant Biology at the University of Minnesota

Matthew Rhodes (MS, 2013)
Major Adviser: Krissa Skogen, Ph.D.
Thesis: Spatial genetic structure and nonrandom pollination success in Oenothara harringtonii (Onagraceae)
Contact: mailto:mkrhodes@email.arizona.edu
Current Position: PhD student in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at University of Arizona

Ricardo J. Rivera (MS, 2013)
Major Adviser: Krissa Skogen, Ph.D.
Thesis: Quantitative genetics in a fragmented landscape, a study of heritable floral traits in Oenothera harringtonii (Onagraceae)
Contact: rikijota@gmail.com
Current Position: PhD student at University of Wisconsin/Madison in Department of Forestry and Wildlife Ecology
Website: rjriv.com

Karen Taira (MS, 2013)
Major Adviser: Stuart Wagenius, Ph.D.
Thesis: Does style persistence measure pollen limitation in perennial Helianthus species?
Contact: KarenTaira2012@u.northwestern.edu
Current Position: Program Manager at The Lurie Garden, Millennium Park, Chicago

Erin Vander Stelt (MS, 2013)
Major Adviser: Daniel Larkin, Ph.D.
Thesis: Isoetes butteri Engelm.: Genetic, environmental, and ecological characteristics of Illinois populations
Contact: ErinVanderStelt2013@u.northwestern.edu

Colby Witherup (MS, 2013)
Major Adviser: Nyree Zerega, Ph.D.
Thesis: Genetic diversity of Bangladeshi jackfuit Artocarpus heterophyllus (Jackfruit, Moraceae)
Contact: c-witherup@northwestern.edu
Current Position: PhD Student in Plant Biology and Conservation at Northwestern University

2012

Rebecca Barak (MS, 2012)
Major Adviser: Krissa Skogen, Ph.D.
Thesis: Assessing restoration potential of native forbs from cheatgrass-dominated habitats
Contact: RebeccaBarak2011@u.northwestern.edu
Current Position: PhD student in Plant Biology and Conservation at Northwestern University

Laura Briscoe (MS, 2012)
Major Adviser: Norman Wickett, Ph.D.
Thesis: Untangling Tylimanthus: Using Molecules and Morphology to Better Understand the Liverwort Family Acrobolbaceae E.A. Hodgson (Marchantiophyta)
Contact: LauraBriscoe2012@u.northwestern.edu
Current Position: Collections and Research Assistant, Field Museum of Natural History

Wesley Glisson (MS, 2012)
Major Adviser: Daniel Larkin, Ph.D.
Thesis: Habitat requirements and restoration targets for secretive marshbirds in southeastern Wisconsin
Current Position: Research Scientist, USGS Idaho Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, University of Idaho

Byron Tsang (MS, 2012)
Major Adviser: Daniel Larkin, Ph.D.
Thesis: Environmental factors affecting woodland legume restoration
Contact: byron.tsang@u.northwestern.edu
Current Position: Ecologist with the Chicago Park District's Department of Cultural and Natural Resources

2011

Emily Booth (MS, 2011)
Major Adviser: Krissa Skogen, Ph.D.
Thesis: Potential effects of climate change on Penstemon palmeri at Zion National Park, Utah, U.S.A.
Contact: embooth@utexas.edu
Current Position: PhD student in Plant Biology-Integrative Biological Sciences, University of Texas, Austin
Website: https://mlebth.github.io/

Christine Dumoulin (MS, 2011)
Major Adviser: Stuart Wagenius, Ph.D.
Thesis: Modeling breeding system effects on reproductive tradeoffs and persistence in habitat fragments
Contact: christinedumoulin2008@u.northwestern.edu
Current Position: PhD student in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Tennessee Knoxville

Kate Gallagher (MS, 2011)
Major Adviser: Stuart Wagenius, Ph.D.
Thesis: Plant performance in prairie restoration: does seed source matter?
Contact: meegankgallagher@gmail.com
Current Position: PhD program, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of California Irvine, Campbell Lab
Website: http://sites.uci.edu/mkgallagher/

Melissa (Gray) Petruzzello (MS, 2011)
Major Adviser: Krissa Skogen, Ph.D.
Thesis: The effects of floral density manipulation on the pollination and reproductive success of Penstemon pachyphyllus
Contact: MelissaGray2011@u.northwestern.edu
Current Position: Assistant Editor in Plant and Environmental Science at Encyclopedia Britannica - Greater Chicago Area

Kelly Ksiazek (MS, 2011)
Major Adviser: Jeremie Fant, Ph.D.
Thesis: Patterns of Pollen Limitation and Seed Set on Chicago Green Roofs
Contact:  kellyksiazek2011@u.northwestern.edu
Current Position: PhD student in Plant Biology and Conservation, Northwestern University

Amy Price (MS, 2011)
Major Adviser: Daniel Larkin, Ph.D.
Thesis: Genetics and ecology of Phragmites Australis invasion in Chicago area wetlands
Contact: Please contact program assistant for permission
Current Position: Data Manager/Protocol Monitor EMMES Corporation

Melissa Tienes Siska (MS, 2011)
Major Adviser: Pati Vitt, Ph.D.
Thesis: Population Sex Ratios and Gender Switching in Jack-in-the-Pulpit (Arisaema triphyllum)
Contact: MelissaTienes2010@u.northwestern.edu
Current Position: Assistant Director at High Touch, High Tech

2010

Duane Ambroz (MS, 2010)
Major Adviser: Jim Tang, PhD
Thesis: Soil organic carbon and plant diversity in urban soils
Contact: duane.ambroz@illinois.gov
Current Position: District Heritage Biologist, Northwest Illinois, Illinois Department of Natural Resources

Courtney Gill (MS, 2010)
Major Adviser: Pati Vitt, Ph.D.
Thesis: The effects of temperature change and competition on the early growth rates of three north temperate grassland species
Contact: CourtneyGill2009@u.northwestern.edu
Current Position: Research Assistant for the Chicago Wilderness Sites for 100 Years project

Steven Hanson (MS, 2010)
Major Adviser: Nyree Zerega, Ph.D.
Thesis: Soil aggregate carbon storage in restored tallgrass prairies: A comparative analysis between a formerly cultivated site located on native prairie soil and an artificially created landscape
Contact: StevenHanson2009@u.northwestern.edu
Current Position: Environmental Protection Specialist, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

Glen Madeja (MS, 2010)
Major Adviser: Kayri Havens-Young, Ph.D.
Thesis: Transforming gardening motivations into conservation efforts
Contact: gmadeja@comcast.net
Current Position:  Executive Director of the Frances Willard Historical Association

Rachel Olson Sullivan (MS, 2010)
Major Adviser: Pati Vitt, Ph.D.
Thesis: Predicting the effects of climate change on the geographic distribution of plant-pollinator interactions
Contact: RachelOlson2010@u.northwestern.edu
Current Position: GIS and Database Steward for the Grants Branch of the Division of Bird Habitat Conservation for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Elizabeth Riley Donovan (MS, 2010)
Major Adviser: Daniel Larkin, Ph.D.
Thesis: Comparison of three common wetland assessment methods
Contact: elizabeth.donovan4@gmail.com
Current Position: Biologist in the Office of Pesticide Programs Environmental Fate and Effects Division, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

2009

Melissa Custic (MS, 2009)
Major Adviser: James R. Ault, PhD
Thesis: Temperature germination cues of alien and native herbaceous California Sage Scrub (CSS) and Chaparral Species
Current Position: Chicago Regional Trees Initiative Coordinator, Morton Arboretum

Jonathan De Long (MS, 2009)
Major Adviser: Louise Egerton-Warburton, Ph.D.
Thesis: The influence of endophytic partners on patterns of weediness in a native Australian orchid: Microtis media (R. Br.)
Contact: mailto:jonathan.delong@manchester.ac.uk
Current Position: Post doctoral researcher, Richard Bardgett lab, Manchester, England.
Website: https://sites.google.com/site/jonathanrdelong/home

Diane Huebner (MS, 2009)
Major Adviser: Nyree Zerega, Ph.D.
Thesis: A molecular, morphological and experimental assessment of the conservation status of the American sea-rocket (Cakile edentula, Brassicaceae)
Contact: dchuebner@alaska.edu
Current Position: PhD student, University of Alaska, Fairbanks

Douglas Lynch (MS, 2009)
Major Adviser: Francesca McInerney, PhD
Thesis: Bundle sheath extension changes along light and precipitation gradients: implications for water use efficiency
Contact: douglaslynch2009@northwestern.edu
Current Position: NSF-IGERT LEAP doctoral fellow at the University of Illinois, Chicago

Tracy Misiewicz (MS, 2009)
Major Adviser: Nyree Zerega, Ph.D.
Thesis: Investigating the evolutionary history, biogeography and pollination biology of the genus Dorstenia (Moraceae)
Contact: tracymisiewicz@yahoo.com
Current Position: Science Project Specialist, The Organic Center, Washington, DC

Benjamin Staehlin (MS, 2009)
Major Adviser: Jeremie Fant, Ph.D.
Thesis: Climate change impacts on a native endemic thistle, Cirsium pitcheri
Contact: b-staehlin@northwestern.edu
Current Position: Restoration Supervisor, Chicago Audubon Society

Rebecca Tonietto (MS, 2009; PhD, 2015)
Major Adviser: Jeremie Fant, Ph.D. (MS) Daniel Larkin, Ph.D. (PhD)
Thesis: Chicago bees: green roofs, parks and prairies

Dissertation: The effects of habitat restoration on wild bee communities
Contact: RebeccaTonietto2008@u.northwestern.edu
Current Position: Smith Post-Doctoral Fellow, Department of Biology, Saint Louis University

2008

Alona Banai (MS, 2008)
Major Advisers: Pati Vitt, Ph.D. and Jeremie Fant, Ph.D.
Thesis: Molecular and morphological evidence of hybridization between the federally threatened Lespedeza leptostachya with common congener L. capitata
Contact: alonabanai@gmail.com
Current Position : Partnership Marketing Coordinator of Chicago Area Runners Association

Rosemary Bush (MS, 2008)
Major Adviser: Francesca McInerney, PhD
Thesis: Variations in leaf wax n-Alkane Chain Length and Carbon Isotope Fractionation: Applications for Chemotaxonomy and Paleoecology
Contact: RosemaryBush2016@u.northwestern.edu
Current Position: Post-doctoral associate at University of Notre Dame's Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Earth Sciences in the laboratory of Professor Melissa Berke

Eva Dubey Danon (MS, 2008)
Major Adviser: Jennifer Schwarz
Thesis: Ecological Education for Urban Youth: Promoting Environmental Literacy Through Place-Based Education
Contact: eddanon@gmail.com
Current Position: Science Teacher in Portland, Oregon

Joseph Gawronski-Salerno (MS, 2008)
Major Adviser: Louise Egerton-Warburton, Ph.D.
Thesis: Alterations to arbuscular and ectomycorrhizal colonization resulting from site variation in woodlands and prairies in a restoration context
Current Position: Science Information Architect for United States Drug Testing Laboratories

Rachel Gross Lawent (MS, 2008)
Major Adviser: Louise Egerton-Warburton, PhD
Thesis: The effect of prescribed fire history on below ground processes in tallgrass prairie
Contact: Please contact program assistant for permission
Current Position: Senior Tax Accountant, Marcum, LLP

Andrea Southgate (MS, 2008)
Major Adviser: Stuart Wagenius, Ph.D.
Thesis: The influences of population size on the effect of inbreeding and outbreeding of early plant traits in the prairie native Echinacea angustifolia (Asteracae)
Contact: AndreaSouthgate2008@u.northwestern.edu

2007

Lauren Umek (MS, 2007)
Major Adviser: Christopher Dunn, PhD
Thesis: Seasonal variation of key soil characteristics in a tallgrass prairie along a restoration gradient
Contact: lumek@u.northwestern.edu
Current Position: Program Manager, Department of Cultural and Natural Resources, Chicago Park District