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Justin Ramsey completed a PhD in Botany at the University of Washington and was an NSF Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Guelph in Ontario, Canada.  Justin’s research is focused on ecological adaptation and systematics of the North American yarrows (Achillea borealis, Asteraceae), a polyploid complex of ecological races in diverse climatic and edaphic conditions; he also collaborates with Tara Ramsey on studies of polyploidy in ivies (Hedera spp., Araliaceae) and directs conservation-focused projects on forest and grassland habitats.  Justin teaches undergraduate courses in plant biology at Black Hills State University.

Tara Ramsey completed graduate studies in Botany at Miami University of Ohio (MSc) and the University of Washington (PhD).  Tara’s research is focused on the invasion biology and systematics of English ivy (Hedera spp., Araliaceae), an ornamental vine that has become an aggressive invader in coastal forests of the U.S. and Canada; she also collaborates with Justin Ramsey in studies of ecological adaptation in Wild Yarrow.  Tara coordinates Ramsey Lab educational outreach and conservation-related activities, including recent work in grasslands and old-growth forests. Tara teaches undergraduate courses in plant biology at Black Hills State University.

Adam Green completed his BSc and MSc in Cellular & Molecular Biology at the University of Rochester.  Adam’s PhD research focused on the molecular systematics and biogeography of ivies (Hedera spp., Araliaceae) in their native and introduced range, a project that combined DNA sequencing, field sampling, and common garden experiments.  Adam also provided the GIS/GPS know-how for Ramsey Lab forest research and helped develop the UR EEB Lab.   Adam completed postdoctoral research in Brian Husband’s lab at the University of Guelph (genetic consequences of polyploidization in Arabidopsis), served as visiting assistant professor at Colgate University in 2014-2015, and then worked as a Science Curriculum Designer at IXL Learning in San Francisco.  He is now a senior science content manager at Khan Academy, Inc.

Rob Laport completed his BSc in Biology at Oregon State University and worked for several years at the Fred Hutchison Cancer Institute.  Rob’s PhD research combined field experiments and molecular data to study polyploid speciation in the North American creosote bush, a polyploid complex of diploid, tetraploid, and hexaploid cytotypes; he also provided taxonomic and soil know-how for Ramsey Lab forest research.  Rob was a teaching assistant for lab courses in Genetics and Ecology & Evolution at UR, and also instructed an ecology course at the R.I.T.  Rob was a postdoctoral fellow in Diana Pilson’s lab at the University of Nebraska, where he studied ecologically-mediated aspects of isolation in creosote bush, and then a post-doctoral researcher and course instructor at the University of Colorado.  He is now assistant professor at Rhodes College; you can find his research and teaching website here.

Erin Fox completed her BSc in Biology at the University of Rochester.  She was a De Kieweitt Fellow and conducted field and lab research in the Ramsey lab from 2006-2008.  Erin’s senior thesis evaluated interspecific hybridization and introgression between Silver Maple and Red Maple in upstate New York, as well as the natural occurrence of the so-called Freeman’s Maple.  Erin worked for several years as a research technician in the Department of Medicine in the University of Rochester Medical Center, and later moved to the Puget Sound area to work in the biotech industry.  She is now a senior data engineer at Evo Inc.

Emily Reiss completed her BSc in Earth & Environmental Science at the University of Rochester.  She was a teaching assistant for Ecology, maintained Achillea accessions in the greenhouse, and conducted field and lab research from 2006-2008.  Emily’s senior thesis focused on the occurrence of triploidy in ivies (Hedera spp., Araliaceae) and its potential utility for producing sterile cultivars.  Emily worked as an energy efficiency consultant for Bright Power, Inc., for several years and in 2012 enrolled in the PhD program in the Department of Horticulture at Cornell University (Laura Drinkwater’s lab), where she studied the use of cover crops in agriculture.  Emily is now principal technical specialist at Kreher Family Farms in Rochester, New York.  You can read her professional website here.

Ramsey Lab Alumni (University of Rochester)

Julia Cosgrove completed a B.Sc. in Ecology & Evolution at the University of Rochester.  She was a teaching assistant for BIO 263 Ecology, a member of the summer 2010 field crew, and conducted independent research in the Ramsey lab from 2009-2011.  For her senior thesis, Julia evaluated canopy tree composition and coarse woody debris abundance of old-growth forest stands across Monroe Co., NY.  After graduation, Julia worked for several years as a research technician in Whendee Silver’s ecosystem ecology lab at UC-Berkeley; she is now an intern at the Farm Training Program at the University of Vermont.

Annalise Kjolhede completed her B.Sc. in Earth & Env. Sciences at the University of Rochester.  She was a field assistant with the Ramsey lab in 2010 and 2011, and for her senior thesis, investigated the geology of old-growth in Monroe County and tested associations between soil and abundances of tree species.  In spring 2012, Annalise traveled to the UK, France, Italy, and Germany to sample native-range ivies for ongoing studies of North American ivy invasion.  In fall 2012, Annalise was preparing for winter work as a ski instructor, when she had a tragic accident.  She passed away on 13 November 2012.  Annalise was a beloved member of the Ramsey lab and the U of R community, and had many friends and family members across the world.  We miss her very much.

Caitlin Smigelski completed her B.Sc. in Earth & Environmental Sciences at the University of Rochester.  As a KEY scholar in 2010-2011, Caitlin developed organic gardening methods for use on the UR South Campus and introduced locally-grown produce to campus dining services.  Caitlin was a field assistant in the summers of 2010 and 2011, during which time she surveyed old-growth and second-growth forests and managed Achillea experiments in the greenhouse.  Along with comrade Annalise Kjolhede, Caitlin traveled to Europe in 2012 to sample native range ivies for ongoing studies of North American Hedera invasion.  Caitlin enrolled in the Physical Therapy grad program at Upstate Medical (Syracuse) in 2013 and now practices in Portland, Oregon.

Aviv Brokman completed degrees in Ecology & Evolutionary Biology and Mathematics at the University of Rochester.  Aviv participated in field research efforts from 2009-2011, including surveys of avian communities, characterization of species composition and “invadedness” of old-growth vs. second-growth forests, and testing of spatial autocorrelation in the plant communities of fragmented habitats.  In 2011-2012, he also managed Achillea experiments in the greenhouse.  Aviv is now a PhD student in the Department of Biology at the University of Kentucky, where he studies theoretical ecology in Phil Crowley’s lab.

Dana Hilfinger completed degrees in English Literature and Mathematics at the University of Rochester.  She completed a fifth year study program in ecological sustainability, and after graduating in 2011, worked on the Ramsey summer field crew.  Dana assisted with surveys of second-growth forest stands and set-up of Achillea experiment in the garden and the greenhouse.  In 2011-2012, she served as an AmeriCorp intern working with Rochester-area Parks & Recreation and provided part-time assistance in the lab and greenhouse; thereafter, she worked in a follow-up AmeriCorp position in New Mexico.  Dana is currently a graduate student in Horticulture & Crop Science at the Ohio State University.

Colleen McHale completed her B.Sc. in Ecology & Evolution at the University of Rochester.  She was a UR Sustainability Intern with the Ramsey lab in summer 2011 and assisted in studies of the structure and composition of second-growth forests.  In spring 2012, Colleen traveled to Sydney, Australia, for a study abroad program, and continued working with the Ramsey lab with an assortment of field and lab projects in 2012-2013.  Colleen is now a web developer with Kickcharge Creative.

Audrey Kelley completed her B.Sc. in Ecology & Evolutionary Biology at the University of Rochester, and was a teaching assistant for BIO 263 Ecology in 2011.  Audrey worked in the Glor lab for several years researching display diversity and mate choice behavior of Anolis lizards, and during summer 2011, assisted the Rieseberg lab (UBC) in studies of natural selection on the flowering phenology of wild sunflowers in Texas.  In 2012, Audrey enrolled as a PhD student in the Department of Biology at the University of North Carolina, where she is working with evolutionary ecologist Karin Pfennig.

Olivia Morgan completed her B.Sc. in Ecology & Evolution and B.A. in Studio Arts at the University of Rochester.  She assisted with forest surveys in summer 2011, and in summer 2012 held an NSF REU position studying taxonomy of North American yarrows.  In addition to performing flow cytometry analyses and morphometric measurements, Olivia produced line drawings of Achillea specimens.  From  2012-2014, Olivia served as a TA for Ecology, wrote a senior thesis on Achillea taxonomy, and helped transition the Ramsey lab to BHSU.  Olivia moved to Portland, OR, for an Americorp position in stream restoration, and then completed a MSc in plant ecology at Eastern Washington University.  Olivia is now a staff biologist at Ask Creek Forest Management in Portland.

Taylor Hubble studied Earth & Environmental Sciences at the University of Rochester in 2011-2012.  She was a UR Sustainability Intern with the Ramsey lab in summer 2012 and assisted with conservation endeavors on the South Campus.  Taylor was responsible for several new trails in the so-called “North Woods” parcel and also for establishing composite platforms through a seasonal wetland area; she also helped with greenhouse experiments and data entry.  Taylor transferred to Indiana University in 2013 to be closer to her family and have to a broader array of ecology coursework.  She is now a student life counselor at Ball State University.

Tim Tsai completed his BSc in Ecology & Evolution at the University of Rochester.  Tim assisted field and greenhouse projects with the Ramsey from 2012-2014, including trail development on the South Campus.  In summer 2013, he investigated stomatal traits and transpiration rates of diploid Hedera helix and tetraploid H. hibernica, ivy species invading different geographic regions of the U.S.  After graduation,  Tim completed an MSc. with the University of Connecticut EEB program, studying the developmental origins and evolution of floral structures in the plant genus Pelargonium. Tim recently completed an M.Ed. at William Paterson University in New Jersey.

Margaret Ball completed a B.A. in Anthropology and a minor in Biology at the University of Rochester.  She assisted with ecological research activities from 2008-2010, including studies of canopy tree composition and understory plant communities of Rochester forests.  Margaret completed an internship at the Farmscape Ecology Program in Columbia Co. in 2009, and for her senior thesis, studied societal attitudes and impacts of hydro-fracking in the Marcellus Shale.  Margaret worked for a while in organic farming and in 2014 entered the graduate program in the Dept. of Crop & Soil Sciences at Cornell University, where she studied organic grains and weed/crop competition.  Margaret is now an agricultural development specialist with the Cornell Extension.

Adam Mattison completed a B.A. in International Relations at the University of Rochester while participating in the Navy ROTC program.  He was a member of the 2010-2012 summer field crews, assisting with field surveys of canopy trees and tree coring efforts, as well as bridge construction and trail lining on the South Campus;  Adam also assisted with irrigation and general maintenance of the greenhouse and experimental garden.  In August 2012, Adam was commissioned as an officer in the U.S. Navy, and served aboard the USS Truxton.  He completed a master’s degree in Global Studies & International Relations  at Northeastern University and is now a project specialist with Lockheed Martin.

Laney Widener completed B.A. degrees in Biology and Religion/Classics at the University of Rochester.  She conducted independent research with the Ramseys from 2008-2010, first studying the size and reproductive status of remnant American Chestnuts and then associations between land-use history and invasive plant abundance in Monroe Co. forests.  She was a member of the summer 2010 field crew.  Laney thereafter served as a Conservation & Land Management Intern (Chicago Botanical Garden) with the BLM in California, and then worked with the Nature Conservancy of Washington as an AmeriCorp Intern.  She completed an MSc. degree in Conservation Biology at Northwestern University, and is now executive director of the Corcord Land Trust in Boston.

Melanie Carter completed her BSc. in Environmental Sciences major at SUNY-Brockport.  She worked part-time in the Ramsey Lab in 2008-2009, assisting with studies of the invasion biology of English ivy and computer simulation models of polyploid formation and establishment in plants.  Melanie later enrolled as a  graduate student in Ecology at SUNY-ESF, in Syracuse, where she worked with Jesse Brunner.

Alison Ossip-Klein completed a BSc. in Ecology & Evolutionary Biology at the University of Rochester.  She conducted independent research in the Ramsey lab in 2008-2009, evaluating the diameter, height and taxonomic composition of canopy trees in Rochester old-growth.  Allison completed an REU at Arizona State University (studying mating signals and sexual selection in birds) and a senior thesis with Rich Glor (studying hybridization in anole lizards).  Alison enrolled in the PhD program in the Department of Biology at Indiana University, where she worked with Emilia Martins.

Maria Strangas completed her BSc. in Biology at the University of Rochester.  She was a TA for the Ramsey’s Ecology course and participated in several projects in 2009-2010, including stand structure of Monroe Co. old-growth and pollinator communities of meadow communities.  After working on the Ramsey 2010 field crew, Maria moved to Queens and worked as a science technician.  In 2012, she entered the PhD program at the City College of New York, where she studied phylogeography of amphibians in Ana Carnaval’s lab.  Maria is now the manager of science mentoring at the American Museum of Natural History; you can see her research and teaching website here.

Nitasha Dhiman completed her B.Sc. in Biology at the University of Rochester in May 2011.  She conducted independent research in 2008-2009, studying amphibian diversity in old-growth habitat on the South Campus as well as hybridization among feral apples in second-growth forest.  Nitasha went on to an undergrad research position in the URMC.  Following graduation, Nitasha enrolled as an MSc. student in Public Health at John Hopkins University, where she researched health disparities in disabled populations; in 2013, she entered the MD program at Virginia Tech (Carilion School of Medicine).  She is now a resident in Radiology at Columbia University.

Hannah McDonough completed her BSc. in Earth & Environmental Sciences at the University of Rochester.  She worked in the Ramsey and Garzione labs (Department of Earth & Environmental Sciences) from 2008-2010.  For her senior thesis, Hannah investigated the genetic and environmental contributions to water use efficiency and C13 fractionation in the North American Achillea, a complex of ecological races that occurs across many climatic and soil conditions.  Hannah completed an M.Sc. in Geology at Utah State University, and now works as a hydrogeologist at GeoEngineers Inc. in Seattle, WA.

Justin Budnik completed undergraduate degrees in Ecology & Evolution and Health & Society.  For his senior thesis, J.B. studied understory plant communities on the South Campus and Lynch Woods, with comparison between areas of different environmental history and edaphics.  He continued this research as a member of the 2010 field crew, and was a technician shared between the Fry and Ramsey labs for the 2010-2011 AY.  In 2011, he started medical school at the University of Rochester Medical Center.  Justin is now a medical resident in radiation oncology at the URMC.

Emily Gray completed a B.Sc. in Ecology & Evolutionary Biology at the University of Rochester.  She conducted independent research on macroinvertebrate communities and physical attributes of West Brighton aquatic habitats in 2009-2010, and went on to be a teaching assistant for BIO 225 Lab in Ecology & Evolutionary Biology.  Emily is currently a graduate student in the Department of Marine Sciences at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.

Layla Hatem completed a B.Sc. in Cell & Molecular Biology at the University of Rochester.  She assisted in Ramsey lab research projects from 2008-2010, including studies of triploid ivy growth performance, niche modeling of cytotype distributions in creosote bush, and surveys of canopy trees and coarse woody debris in Rochester-area forests.  Layla went on to work in a molecular genetics lab at the University of Rochester Medical School, for which she was supported as a De Kieweitt Fellow in summer 2011.  In 2013, Layla started as a medical student in the Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia, PA.  She is now a medical pathologist at NY Presbyterian Hospital.

Hannah Pullman completed her BSc in Ecology & Evolution at the University of Rochester.  She conducted independent research in the Ramsey lab from 2009-2010, and was funded by the Garden Club of America to study avian communities of Rochester-area forests.  Hannah worked as a research assistant in the Ramsey lab in 2010-2011, assisting with data entry, creosote bush morphometrics,  and conservation activities on the south campus.  Hannah worked as community manager for Fresh Nation Farmer’s Market in Connecticut, and is now head of operations at Fresh Nation Logistics & Supply Chain.

Ariel Simons completed her B.Sc. in Biology at the University of Rochester, and worked with the Ramseys  in 2008-2009.  Ariel was a teaching assistant for the Ecology course and helped with several research projects, including studies of English ivy and vegetation comparisons between old-growth vs. second-growth forests in Monroe Co.  After graduation, Ariel served for two years as a Peace Corp Volunteer in Lesotho, Africa.  She accepted a position as a Peace Corp recruiter in 2012 and a few years later completed an MA in Education with the University of Kansas.  Ariel is now the manager of online learning with the National Geographic Society in Washington, D.C.

Becky Domalski completed her BSc in Ecology & Evolutionary Biology at the University of Rochester.  She conducted independent research in the Ramsey lab 2009-2010.  Becky’s senior thesis evaluated the microdistribution of tree species on the South Campus and nearby Lynch Woods in relation to soil texture, nutrients, and organic content.  After graduation, Becky worked with the Macular Degeneration and Aging research group at the URMC, and in 2011 enrolled as a medical student at the New York Institute of Technology.  She is now a medical resident in pediatrics at Akron Children’s Hospital.

Morgan Dow completed BA degrees in Philosophy and Mathematics at the University of Rochester.  She assisted with ecophysiology studies of wild yarrow in the spring and summer of 2012, including analysis of transpiration rates, leaf surface area, and whole-plant architecture.  Following hiking travels along the Appalachian Trail in 2012, Morgan started graduate studies in Philosophy at the University of Kentucky; she thereafter completed a Masters in STEM education.  Morgan is now Adult Education Instructor with the Kentucky community college system.

Deb Korzun completed her BSc. in Ecology & Evolution at the University of Rochester.  In summer 2013, Deb studied growth and architectural features of diploid Hedera helix and tetraploid H. hibernica plants sampled from the species’ native range in Europe, and in the 2013-2014 academic year served as a teaching assistant for BIO 263 Ecology.  After graduation, Deb enrolled in the Physical Therapy program at Emory University.

Michael Wallis completed his B.Sc. in Ecology & Evolution at the University of Rochester.  He was a teaching assistant for the Ramsey's Ecology course and, for his senior thesis, studied stand age and disturbance history of old-growth forests based on cores of canopy trees (oak, hickory, tuliptree).  Michael moved to South Dakota with the Ramsey Lab and enrolled in the Integrative Genomics MSc. program at BHSU.  His project uses microsatellite markers to investigate genetic structure of the circumpolar Achillea millefolium aggregate. Michael is now in the veterinary medicine program at Oklahoma State University in Stillwater.

Brett Montieth completed his BSc. in Biology at Black Hills State University and thereafter enrolled in the Integrative Genomics MSc. program under the supervision of John Dixson.  Brett's research focused on blood chemistry associated with infection by Plasmodium falciparum, a protist and causative agent of malaria.  Brett is super-handy with a hammer and saw, and in 2014-2015 worked hourly with the Ramsey lab in setting up its research infrastructure (greenhouse, grow-room, garden plots, fencing, etc.).  Brett defended his thesis in 2016 and is now in medical school at the University of South Dakota.

Anna Hafele completed BA and BSc. degrees in Outdoor Ed and Biology at BHSU as well as research on Mt. Pine Beetle phylogeography as a SD-BRIN fellow.  After graduation, she worked as an education intern at the Journey Museum & Discovery Center (in Rapid City) and herbarium technician (in BHSU’s herbarium facility).  Anna entered the MSc. program in Integrative Genomics at Black Hills State in 2015, and for her research has used microsatellite markers and DNA sequencing to study the phylogeography of native-range English ivy (diploid Hedera helix and tetraploid H. hibernica) and clonal structure of invasive populations.  Anna has recently held positions with government agencies and nonprofit environmental organizations in New Mexico, Nevada, and South Dakota, and will be defending her thesis soon.

Darlene Coppe completed a BSc. in Biology at Black Hills State in 2017.  As an undergraduate, she was involved in a number of botanical research projects -- including elevational analysis of plant community composition in the Black Hills and Great Plains, the BHSU campus tree inventory, and identification of paleobotanical samples recovered from archaeological efforts in Deadwood’s historical Chinatown; she was also active as a dorm RA, an assistant in the BHSU herbarium, and a library employee.  After graduation, she has held field botany positions with the U.S. Forest Service and U.S. National Park Service, most recently in Grand Teton National Park.  She is starting as a graduate student in BHSU's Integrative Genomics program in 2020.

Alissa Iverson completed a BSc. in Biology at BHSU in 2017.  From 2014-2017, she was involved in a number of research projects with the Ramseys and other faculty -- including a microsatellite marker analysis of ivy population structure, surveys of pine forest communities, identification of paleobotanical samples from Deadwood’s historical Chinatown, and censuses of smooth green snakes; she was also active in Speech & Debate, and helped lead the Women in Science group.  A member of the honors program, Alissa defended a capstone based on her studies of ivy clonal structure.  After graduation, she has held positions with the U.S. National Park Service (Crater Lake) and sustainable energy nonprofits.  Alissa currently works at the Denver Botanical Garden.

Kendall Murie completed a BSc. in Biology at BHSU.  From 2014-2016, he was involved in several plant biology projects -- including elevational analyses of plant community composition in the Black Hills and Great Plains as well as inventory of BHSU campus trees (taxonomic composition and health assessment of wild and cultivated trees on the campus); Kendall was also a participant and leader for the BHSU cross country team.  Since graduation, Kendall has held field positions with the U.S. Forest Service and Great Basin Institute.

Zak Kay completed a BSc. in Biology at BHSU.  From 2015-2018, he was involved in several Ramsey projects -- elevational analyses of community composition across the Black Hills and Great Plains, field surveys of pine forest structure, development of plant growth facilities, and inventory of BHSU campus trees; he also completed independent studies in vertebrate taxidermy (yuck!) with Brian Smith.  Originally from Nebraska, Zak (and his dog Odin) have a preference for forest habitats and mountains.  Zak currently works for the Black Hills National Forest and lives in Rapid City.

Michael Hurst completed BSc degrees at BHSU in biology and chemistry.  In addition to chemistry research he conducted during his time at BHSU, in summer 2015 Michael was a BRIN fellow with the Ramseys:  he assisted with field survey efforts (elevational analyses of plant community composition) and also tested wild yarrow foliage for antimicrobial effects.  Michael was a participant in NCUR meetings and active member of the BHSU honors society.  He is now a graduate student in chemistry at the University of Oregon in Eugene.

Anthony Checchi Anthony completed a BSc. in Biology at Black Hills State, where he conducted research on pine forest community structure (as a Nelson fellow) and wild yarrow phylogeography (as a BRIN fellow).  Following a stint with the Bureau of Land Management in Belle Fourche, he entered the Integrative Genomics MSc. program in 2018.  For his thesis, Anthony is studying community assemblages and physiological adaptation of plants that inhabit 'toxic' soils of South Dakota -- badlands and mixed-grass prairies with naturally high levels of selenium, arsenic, lead and other elements.

Jessie Clark completed a BSc in Biology at Black Hills State University.  She participated in studies of pine forest community structure and dendrochronology in 2015-2016 with the Ramseys, and also assisted in the BHSU herbarium with Mark Gabel.  Following graduation, she worked with the Bureau of Land management in Belle Fourche before enrolling in the MSc. Integrative Genomics program in 2018.  Her research (with BHSU herpetologist Brian Smith) focuses on phylogeography and population structure of red-belly snakes, a species of conservation concern in the Black Hills region, using ddRADseq methods.

Zach Davis is a junior at BHSU majoring in chemistry.  As a Nelson and then EPSCoR research fellow, Zach leveraged the BHSU herbarium database to evaluate phenological patterns (flowering and fruiting times) of Prunus species (chokecherry and wild plum) over the past century that may correlate with climate change in the Upper Missouri River Plateau.  Zach has also recently assisted with chemical analyses of 'toxic' soils of South Dakota badland and prairie habitats, including work on pH and elemental composition.  Zach is a member of the BHSU honors program and will be working soon on his capstone paper and presentation.

Tyler Bortz  Tyler completed his BSc in Biology at Black Hills State in 2019.  Tyler served as a campus tree intern (2017) and thereafter as a BRIN research fellow (2018-2019).  As a fellow, he studied hybridization of native thistle species -- in particular, focusing on spatial patterns of floral and leaf trait variation as well as DNA sequence variation.  Tyler also participated in projects studying polyploidy in yarrow and English ivy, and helped maintain plant research facilities.  Tyler was a member of the BHSU honors program, and defended a capstone based on his studies of thistles.  Following graduation, Tyler has worked with the U.S. National Park Service in Rapid City.

Cathryn Hester, a longtime resident of Rapid City, completed her BSc in Biology at Black Hills State University in 2019.  Cathryn served for several years as a department tutor in biology and chemistry.  In 2018 and 2019, she was an EPSCoR research fellow studying hybridization of native thistles – in particular, focusing on correlation of floral pigmentation traits across a natural hybrid zone.  Cathryn also participated in projects studying polyploidy in wild yarrow and English ivy, and helped maintain plant research facilities.  Cathryn now works as a dental technician in Rapid City and is eagerly awaiting word on recent applications to dental school.

Yi Ren completed a BSc. degree in Biology at the University of Chicago, where he participated in a range of research projects (birds to plants to soils); he also worked for several years as a computer programmer after graduation.  Yi entered BHSU's Integrative Genomics MSc. program in 2016.  His research focuses on the phylogeography of wild yarrow – in particular, the statistical integration of morphological data, DNA sequence and microsatellite fragment data, and environmental (GIS-based) information.  Yi also recently assisted with field sampling and laboratory analysis of  South Dakota prairies and badlands.

Katie Messler is a junior at Black Hills State University, where she is pre-med and majoring in Biology; she is also a member of the BHSU basketball team.  As a BRIN undergraduate fellow, she conducted research with the Ramseys and grad student Anthony Checchi in summer 2019.  Working together with Shelby Fasching, Katie's efforts focused on field-sampling, processing, and chemical analysis of 'toxic' soils in badlands and prairie habitats with naturally high concentrations of trace elements, like selenium and arsenic - including sites across Fall River, Lawrence, Butte, Harding, and Meade counties in South Dakota.

Shelby Fasching is a senior at Mt. Marty College, where she is majoring in Forensic Science; she is also a member of the Mt. Marty basketball team.  As a BRIN fellow, she came to BHSU in summer 2019 to conduct research with the Ramseys and graduate student Anthony Checchi.  Working together with Katie Messler, Shelby's project focused on field-sampling, processing, and chemical analysis of 'toxic' soils in badlands and prairie with naturally high concentrations of trace elements, like selenium and arsenic – including sites in Fall River, Lawrence, Butte, Harding, and Meade counties of South Dakota.

Kelsey Wintersteen is a junior at Black Hill State University and double-major in Biology and Environmental Physical Sciences.  She is a long-time resident of western South Dakota and, among other things, has a lot of horticultural experience and knowledge of local natural areas.  Kelsey served as a BHSU campus tree intern in summer 2019, a position where she spatially mapped, taxonomically identified, and assessed health of wild and cultivated campus trees; Kelsey is also a student representative on the BHSU Campus Tree Committee.

Ian Osborn is a senior Biology major at Black Hills State University.  Ian has for several years (2018, 2019) served as a campus tree intern, a position where he has spatially mapped, taxonomically identified, and assessed health of wild and cultivated campus trees; he has also worked during this time as a research assistant in the BHSU herbarium (contributing to the ongoing effort to digitize plant specimens) and helped maintain plant growth facilities for research projects.  Ian is an accomplished guitar player and offers lessons at a local studio!

Nate de la Montanya, originally from Sioux Falls, is a junior at BHSU double-majoring in biology and chemistry.  As a BRIN research fellow in the 2019-2020 academic year, he is working with graduate student Anthony Checchi with elemental analyses (soil and plant materials evaluated by flame AA and ICP-MS) and physical analysis (soil texture and organic matter) for badland and prairie habitats with 'toxic' soils -- naturally high levels of selenium, arsenic, and lead.  Nate also assists the Ramseys with upkeep of plant growth facilities.

Wylee Knudsen completed a BSc. in Biology and minor in Chemistry at BHSU.  Wylee is a graduate of all the plant biology courses offered at BHSU, and in 2018-2019 worked as a research assistant in the herbarium on digitization of pressed specimens.  Wylee also completed independent studies on weedy plants as a student at BHSU.  Wylee is a longtime resident of Johnson County, Wyoming, and has worked summers in weed and pest control in rangelands and riparian zones.  After graduation, Wylee returned to Wyoming to continue his work with invasive control.