2017-2018 BLaST Scholars

Ana Fiorella Carrasco

Research Interests: After taking a virology course I became very interested in learning about viruses. Currently, I am working on the detection of Hepatitis C virus infection in Alaska using Next Generation Sequencing.
Personal Interests: I'm involved in the UAF Premedical society and I'm currently the president. I enjoy helping other peers obtain knowledge that I have received from the club throughout the years. I also love traveling, volunteering, spending time with my family, cooking, and doing workout classes such as kickboxing, cycling and zumba.

Melissa Clark

Research Interests: I am excited to be beginning my experience in the research world. The Fall of 2017 is when I will begin my first project in molecular immunology. I hope to continue my research, especially in the direction of veterinary medicine.
Personal Interests: I have a passion for staying active. Whether it be weightlifting, horseback riding, or even aerial silks, I am constantly in motion. I spend my free time working out or with my friends. I love exploring new places and would love to travel in the future!

Christina Edwin

Research Interests: Learning academic research methods around biomedicine, subsistence, and One Health.
Personal Interests: Pursuing higher education, volunteering in the community, cultural revitalization.

Diloola Erickson

Research Interests: I am interested in researching how climate change is affecting the food sources that Alaska Natives rely on for traditional ways of living. I am also interested in researching ways for Alaska Native communities to adapt to the changing climate so that they will continue to thrive.
Personal Interests: I am passionate about language revitalization, specifically with my ancestral language, Denaakk’e (Koyukon Athabascan). I also enjoy doing traditional arts such as beading and skin sewing. During the school year I love to work on STEM outreach in the local schools. I also enjoy spending time outdoors with my daughter.

 Mollie Fisher

Research Interests: When it comes to researching, I am interested in learning all that I can about animals. I want to do my own research on my own subject choice. I want the chance to try something new and expand my knowledge.
Personal Interests: I am interested in helping animals, reading novels, and family. Animals are one of my great passions. When it comes to reading there is always something new to learn in novels. Family has always and will always be one of the most important things in my life.

Jewel Galaktianoff

Research Interests:
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Daedre Gibbens

Research Interests: Interested in biomedicine, the mechanics of animals and organisms. The balance of animals and humans, and the way they share the Earth. I am also interested in animal disease and how animal and human disease connects.
Personal Interests: I love art, specifically ceramics and painting. I also love to build and create things, Legos were my favorite as a child. I am not sure if this counts as a hobby, but I like to run and exercise.

Josh Hartman

Research Interests: I am interested studying neurobiology and biochemistry. Currently I am working on a project studying how neurons respond to HIV surface protein gp120, which is thought to be the cause of HIV associated neurocognitive disorders (HAND). This research will hopefully provide some insight in to how neurodegeneration can be prevented.
Personal Interests: I enjoy writing, mostly about science, but also creatively. I also play the guitar and like to produce music. Sometimes I do audio engineering and make podcasts as well as do voice acting. Sometimes I take photos that are okay.

Kendrick Hautala

Research Interests: I intend to graduate with at least a bachelors degree and learn as much as I can scientifically while working with and researching animals that have had large cultural influences on me while growing up, like caribou, moose, and other small game. I have this drive to learn what is going on and be able to share with others that make decisions to manage and protect these valuable resources of the Yup'ik people on the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta.
Personal Interests: I love to be outdoors hiking getting fresh air, subsistence hunting and fishing, and trapping. I enjoy learning new things around me. I like to make others happy in ways that are both easy and challenging.

Jennie Humphrey

Research Interests: My research interests are mainly in the fields of ecology and environmental biology, ecosystem science, and agriculture. However, evolutionary biology, plant biology, physiology and functional morphology, and behavior are also areas of interest.
Personal Interests: My personal interests and hobbies are varied, ranging from gardening and sustainable agriculture to fire spinning and meditation. Outdoor physical activities such as biking, running, kayaking, and hiking are on my list of favorite pastimes as well since spending time in nature is of high value to me.

Noah Khalsa

Research Interests: My research interest lies in marine, coastal, and estuarine fisheries and their health. I am particularly interested in how the changing ocean will affect these fisheries and the people who utilize them.
Personal Interests: Fly fishing, camping, traveling, hockey.

Jimin Kim

Research Interests: Anything involving the med field!
Personal Interests: I enjoy playing just about any sport! Tennis, badminton, and table tennis are some of my favorites. I also like playing video games with friends!

KaCee Llewelyn

Research Interests: Currently, I am working on a degree in Biomedical Sciences with the hope of one day participating in Doctors Without Borders. I am incredibly passionate about research in biomedicine. I want to help improve human health and ease the suffering that those with chronic illnesses live with everyday single day.
Personal Interests: During my free time, I enjoy volunteering. For example, I am one of the creators of the Salcha House of Horrors which was a haunted house that donated all of our proceeds to our local community. I enjoy traveling to new countries, learning new languages, and experiencing other cultures.

Shayle Lliaban

Research Interests: Health, medicine
Personal Interests: Reading, throwing on the potters wheel, hiking

Brianna Lu

Research Interests: I'm interested in neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's and all things neuroscience.
Personal Interests: I enjoy snowboarding, hiking, art, canoeing, and adventuring with my dog.

Tandi Marth

Research Interests: Biological and behavioral areas of mania, depression and anxiety-related cognitive deficits.
Personal Interests: Reading science fiction, painting, snowboarding, and spending quality time being a mother to my two young children, and spending time with my husband.

Sarah Maupin

Research Interests: My interests lie mainly in Alaska Native communities and peoples. I also have an interest in abnormal psychology and addiction. I think the complex issue of abnormal psychology and addiction tie into trauma as well and want to explore this connection.
Personal Interests: In my free time I love to paint and draw and am learning to do Inupiaq and Yup'ik dances and hope to also learn traditional beading. I love going up north to my home to hunt, fish, and spend time with family and love spending time with my children.

Monica Mikes

Research Interests: Currently I am researching how, if it is possible, to improve the current husbandry protocol for the feeding diet given to Arctic Ground Squirrels. My research wants to shorten the gap of natural habitat and laboratory habitat without costing the laboratory facilities a huge amount of money.
Personal Interests: I'm interested in caring for animals in any feasible manner possible. They are the most deserving creature especially when we decide to take them in as pets. I love to read and spend time with the wide variety of animals that I own as pets back in my hometown, Anchorage.

Ava Parrish

Research Interests: I am currently exploring different research options. I am very interested in researching biomedical topics relating to female reproductive and other health issues.
Personal Interests: Outside of school, I enjoy staying active in the outdoors. I enjoy hiking, biking, fishing, camping, boating, and ocean swimming. Swimming is one of my passions, and I am excited to be a member of UAF's women's team this year.

Viktorija Podlutskaya

Research Interests: DNA repair following genotoxic treatment
Personal Interests: Working out, reading, sudoku, cooking/baking, spending time with family/friends, traveling

Jonilee Polanco

Research Interests: Technically I'd say I'm interested in all things science; however my main interests lie in the realm of Genetics, specifically, I am interested in mutations.
Personal Interests: I'm an avid biker in the summer, and enjoy being out in nature. I'm a self taught pianist and enjoy creating original compositions.

Savanna Ratky

Research Interests: My research interests are studying areas of medicine, especially those related to epidemiology.
Personal Interests: I like to swim, read, canoe, work, watch Netflix, travel, and hang out with my friends and family.

Kristian Rivera

Research Interests: My current focus concerns the genetic repair mechanisms of healthy and cancerous cells.
Personal Interests: Studying aside, I'm usually reading, drawing, rock climbing or on a trail/up a tree; between semesters, I'm annoying my sisters with bad puns, fixing/building things with my dad, or wandering through Hatcher Pass with my dog.

Raven Shaw

Research Interests: I'm interested in how we communicate scientific ideas and information effectively, as well as how we can most efficiently absorb and retain the information. I specifically want to learn how to engage people's sense of "play" to associate knowledge with fun so it has more chance of sticking.
Personal Interests: Quilting, sewing, clay modelling, drawing, painting, beadwork, needle-felting, knitting, crochet, writing, organization of ideas and objects, researching food and drugs, yoga, meditation, feeling small next to the ocean


Sequoia Tyadalma

Research Interests: Neuro-everything, specifically if the amygdalae are involved- Neurotoxicology, Neurosurgery, Neurosplasticity
Personal Interests: I'm not a book worm, I'm a book dragon :-)

Mark Anthony Velasco

Research Interests: Cell and Molecular Biology, DNA Repair, Cancer Research
Personal Interests: I enjoy both listening and playing music. Specializing in percussion, I can be found playing with the UAF Wind Symphony and UAF percussion group, Ensemble 64.8 during the school year. Additionally, I like to cook, and play video games with my friends.

Katrina Watson

Research Interests: My research interest is studying infectious disease, and microbiology. While at UAF, I am hoping to get into a lab studying squirrels.
Personal Interests: My personal interests and hobbies are everything to do with my 5 kids such as outdoor activities like fishing, wildlife, and camping, etc. I love to read, I love to learn about the different types of diseases and what happens to the body once affected on the cellular level.

Hannah Wing

Research Interests:
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Past BLaST Scholars