NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program

2022 fellows, current students

Elijah Boardman, Hydrology doctoral student

ElijahEli Boardman is a first-year Ph.D. student researching mountain hydrology with Dr. Adrian Harpold in the Graduate Program of Hydrologic Sciences. As an undergraduate at Dartmouth College, he completed an honors thesis on Yosemite hydrology and graduated in June of 2021 with a B.A. in Physics and Environmental Earth Sciences. At the University of Nevada, Reno, Eli studies water at the intersection of physical processes and management paradigms. His current projects include analyzing the propagation of uncertainty in Sierra water supply forecasts, modeling the hydrological effects of forest management scenarios around Tahoe, studying the interaction of fire with ecohydrology in Yosemite, and researching the resiliency of hydrological storage cycles in the Wind River mountains of Wyoming. He thanks his collaborators, advisors, and parents for their support!

Jessica Buelow, Ecology, Evolution and Conservation Biology doctoral student

Jessica BuelowJessica is a Ph.D. student in the Ecology, Evolution, and Conservation Biology Department at the University of Nevada, Reno. Jessica previously earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Biology from the University of Wisconsin, Superior, where she studied learning and memory in honey bees. Since then, she has shifted her focus to native bees, which are incredibly important but do not receive enough attention. As a member of the Leonard Lab, Jessica is interested in the ecology and behavior of native bees. She is currently studying the effects of climate change on floral chemical cues and nutrition, and how that may affect the foraging behavior and performance of native bees.

Otis Clyne, Ecology, Evolution and Conservation Biology doctoral student

Otis ClyneOtis is a Ph.D. Student in the Ecology, Evolution and Conservation Biology program advised by Dr. Robert Shriver. Before joining the program, Otis received his BS in ecology and conservation biology from Arizona State University in December of 2018, where he volunteered in several labs working on bird coloration and plant ecophysiology. He spent the following 3 years working as a biological technician for Boise State University, Northern Arizona University, and the Smithsonian National Zoo. He is broadly interested in how management and disturbance affect plant population dynamics and ecological forecasting. His current work involves forecasting big sagebrush demography and recovery after fire to inform land managers of where is likely to recover and how best to allocate restoration resources.

Ryan Pierce Coulter, Mechanical Engineering doctoral student

Ryan CoulterRyan Coulter is a first-year Ph.D. student in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Nevada, Reno. Previously, Ryan received his B.S. in Mechanical Engineering in 2021 from the University of Nevada, Reno, and performed undergraduate research on soft robotics and artificial muscles. He is currently working on research under Dr. Yifei Jin in the field of additive manufacturing. His research focuses on creating new methods for 3D printing, and printing with soft materials. This research will help to advance manufacturing techniques for 3D printing of plastics, metals, and even organs or other soft tissues.

Elena Cox, Natural Resources & Environmental Science doctoral student

Elena CoxElena Cox is a first-year Natural Resources & Environmental Science Ph.D. Student at the University of Nevada, Reno. She earned her B.A. in Biology from Pitzer College in 2020. She researches fire ecology, soil microbiology, invasion biology, and how these interactions are impacted by climate change. She spent the last several years working for the Forest Service on wildland fire crews across the country. For her undergraduate thesis at Pitzer, which was published in the Public Library of Science, she studied how wildfire impacts soil bacterial assemblages in native and non-native habitat types in Southern California. As a Ph.D. student at the University of Nevada, Reno, she is studying how fire affects soil microbial activity and biogeochemical cycling and how these vary with burn severity, vegetative cover, and time since fire. She will use these results to improve the modeling of fire effects on below-ground processes. This research will help inform management decisions to mitigate fire impact in wildfire-prone ecosystems.

Lily Raymond, Mechanical Engineering master's student

Lily RaymondLily Raymond is a graduate student in the Mechanical Engineering (ME) Department. She is from Sonoma County, CA. She will be graduating with a Master's degree in ME this May (2022), and she completed her B.S. in ME at the University in May 2021. She began working in Dr. Yifei Jin’s Soft Material 3D Printing Lab in the fall of 2019. She defended her thesis (Hybrid Extrusion 3D Printing of Self-Deployable Smart Solar Panel Hinges) in April 2022 and it will be published in ProQuest. She developed a new method to print shape memory polymers with internal features using the two subcategories of material extrusion 3D printing. Receiving the NSF GRFP led Lily to pursue a Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering at the University. She will continue to work in Dr. Jin’s lab, and her Ph.D. project will focus on printing a 2-way shape memory polymer. Lily has also been an officer in the University's Society of Women Engineers (SWE) chapter since the fall of 2019. She will continue to hold an officer position throughout her Ph.D. career. In her free time, she enjoys going to the gym, running, watching Planet Earth, and drawing.

Jordan Zabrecky, Natural Resources and Environmental Science doctoral student

Jordan ZabreckyJordan is an incoming Ph.D. student in the Natural Resources and Environmental Science Department. She received a B.S. in the Geological Sciences from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2020. During her undergraduate education, she realized her interests in streams, water quality, and environmental geochemistry while researching patterns of anthropogenic Gadolinium in local streams. After graduation, she completed an internship with the Pacific Northwest National Lab studying subsurface Plutonium migration from radioactive waste sites and its potential groundwater impacts. She also explored her interests in environmental education while working with the Hitchcock Center in Amherst, MA. For her Ph.D., Jordan is excited to tackle water quality issues from a biogeochemistry perspective by investigating biogeochemical controls on benthic cyanobacteria and anatoxin production in rivers of Northern California.

2022 fellows, graduated

  • David Paul Bombara, Mechanical Engineering
  • Quinn Richard Campbell, Life Sciences - Evolutionary Biology
  • Anjana Nethsara Dissanayaka, Engineering - Biomedical Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology
  • Jacob Matthew Molina, Physics and Astronomy - Plasma Physics, University of Nevada, Reno
  • Alexis Antonio Palma, Materials Research - Metallic Materials, University of Nevada, Reno
  • Mary Angela Quiroga, Social Sciences - Economics, University of Michigan - Ann Arbor