Class of 2019

Patrick Andrews (CLAS, 2019) graduated with a B.A. in Neuroscience (highest honors). During his time at U.Va., Patrick earned a Harrison Undergraduate Research Award and investigated the role of lymphangiogenesis in spinal cord injury recovery and the role of type I interferons in aging. He also profiled the changes in the neuroimmune composition during aging. Following graduation, Patrick will take a year to apply to medical schools and will continue working on these projects as a lab specialist in the Kipnis lab. He also plans to become more involved with the Charlottesville community through the local food pantry and by coaching baseball in the spring.

Richard Doty (CLAS, 2019) graduated with a degree in Statistics. In 2016, Richard earned the College Science Scholars Summer Stiped to develop educational protocols in the chemistry department for measuring the fluorescent half-life of ruby crystals. He also created an algorithm to find numeric solutions to systems of partial differential equations modeling the reaction rates of compounds within a mixture. In 2017 and 2018, he wrote a software program to analyze images of blood vessel networks and created 3D models of cellular structures within tissues in the Peirce-Cottler lab, contributing to four published papers. Richard will be attending Duke University to earn a PhD in biostatistics.

Diogo Miguel Goncalves Fortes (CLAS, 2019) graduated with a B.A. in Neuroscience. During his time at U.Va., Diogo studied the role of the brain in modulating the social effects of oxytocin and explored the challenges of monitoring technology and self-Injurious behavior in autism spectrum disorder, earning a Harrison Undergraduate Research Award for his pursuits. After graduation, Diogo will research autism and early child development as a Developmental Psychopathology and Social Neuroscience fellow in the Chawarska Lab at the Yale Child Study Center.

David Johanson (CLAS, 2019) graduated with a B.S. in Biology, a B.A. in Statistics (concentration in applied biostatistics), and a minor in Social Entrepreneurship. At U.Va. David earned the Schwager Research Award for the summer of 2017 and the Hutcheson Undergraduate Summer Research Fellowship for the summer 2018 and presented his independent research project at the biology department’s Distinguished Major Katz Symposium. He was also a member of U.Va.’s 2017 iGEM's team under Dr. Keith Kozminski. Currently, David is involved in multiple bioinformatics research projects with faculty at the School of Medicine's Department of Neuroscience and will continue to work as a bioinformatics analyst after graduation. David will also apply to graduate school for computational biology, bioinformatics, or other biology programs that emphasize bioinformatics.

Hannah Piester (CLAS, 2019) graduated with degrees in Environmental Thought & Practice and Public Policy & Leadership. Hannah won the GIFT Grant in 2017 and studied the effects of sustainability labels on student food choice. She also researched how CAM Plant responds to increased CO2 and nitrogen emissions and won the Future of Food Fellowship where she studied the environmental impacts of agriculture in Virginia. After graduation, Hannah will work as an investment banking analyst for Greentech Capital Advisors.

Nicholoas Venturini (CLAS, 2019) graduated with a major in Biology and a minor in Biomedical Engineering. During his time at U.Va., Nicholas worked in a vivarium in the Cox lab. He also cultured cells and analyzed images in the Civelek lab and spent a summer in the Drake Lab at Columbia University Medical Center where he used both cell and mouse models to investigate the role of myeloid cells in the tumor microenvironment of castration-resistant prostate cancer. After graduation, Nicholas will continue working as a clinical research coordinator in Division of Liver Disease at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City.

Aaron Winn (CLAS, 2019) graduated with a B.S. in Physics and a B.A. in Mathematics. At U.Va. Aaron worked on a research project under Howard Epstein in the Department of Environmental Science that analyzed carbon and nitrogen content of soil and foliage from regions with historical fire activity. He also studied bilayer graphene under Jeffrey Teo in the Department of Physics. With Teo, Aaron helped calculated the electronic band structure of bilayer graphene in the presence of a nonuniform electric field, confirming the existence of one-dimensional topologically protected chiral modes where the electric field changes sign. After graduation, Aaron will pursue a PhD at the University of Pennsylvania where he will continue studying theoretical condensed matter physics.

Class of 2018

Sooraj Achar (CLAS, 2018) majored in Chemistry with a specialization in Biochemistry, and minored in Mathematics. During his time at the University of Virginia (UVA), Sooraj completed a year of research with Dr. Hilinski, studying the regioselectivity of oxidation catalysts, as well as two years of research with Dr. Mura using computational simulations to understand the dynamics of Hfq-RNA interactions. This summer, Sooraj will complete a summer internship at the NIH studying chaperon complex formation, and will spend the following two years at the National Cancer Institute through the National Institutes of Health Post-Baccalaureate Program designing better models for the diverse range of immunological interactions pertinent to T cell therapy. Upon completion of this research, Sooraj will attend medical school.

Bridget Andersen (CLAS, 2018) graduated with a B.S. in Astronomy-Physics and a B.A. in Computer Science. She was part of various research projects at the University of Virginia (UVA), including an internship with Professor Craig Sarazin in which she used X-ray observations to reveal the origin of key features of the galaxy cluster Abell 3653. She also acted as the lead observer on the UVA Occultation Team, which allowed her to travel to South Africa under National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) funding to observe an occultation of MU69 and, later, Georgia under a National Science Foundation (NSF) grant to observe an occultation of Triton. She completed her senior thesis with Scott Ransom at the National Radio Astronomy Observatory, where she extended his binary pulsar searching software. She attended Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REUs) at the National Radio Astronomy Observatory in New Mexico and another at the Harvard Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. She also won the Goldwater Scholarship while at UVA. She will be attending McGill University to earn a Ph.D. in astrophysics.

Drake Dixon (CLAS, 2018) graduated with a major in Chemistry with a specialization in Biochemistry. Drake completed research in the Pompano Lab and received two College Science Scholar Summer Research Scholarship Awards as well as grants for summer research from the Department of Chemistry and the University of Virginia (UVA) NanoSTAR. Drake completed two projects during his time at UVA, one of which used a glucose analog to detect changes in the metabolic state of lymph node cells, and the other used boron-based nanoparticles to detect differences in oxygen tension within live lymph node tissue slices. Drake will matriculate into the University of Virginia Medical School this Fall.

Joseph Ephrem (CLAS, 2018) graduated with a major in Neuroscience. Joseph studied the dynamics of sympathetic innervation and tone after diet-induced obesity, earning a Harrison Grant in the process. Joseph will work at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) as a post-baccalaureate this coming year as a post-baccalaureate while applying to medical schools.

Cara Giordano (CLAS, 2018) graduated with a B.S. in Biology and a B.A. in Environmental Science with a specialization in conservation. Cara studied condition and age dependent expression of dewlap coloration in Anolis Sagrei (brown anole) as well as sex differences in behavioral responses to territorial intrusions. This research earned her a high distinction in Biology, and she hopes to continue with graduate studies in conservation ecology.

Crystal Gong (CLAS, 2018) graduated with a double major in Cognitive Science and Computer Science. Crystal conducted research in the Meliza Lab, researching auditory perception in the caudal mesopallium, earning a Harrison Grant in the process. Crystal will be working at International Business Machines (IBM) in Washington D.C.