Andrew Walters
Andrew Walters
Majors: Biological Engineering, Biochemistry, Biology
Minors: Spanish, Computer Science, Entrepreneurship

AJ was inspired by Jurassic Park to become a genetic engineer. His research works to mine the incredible genetic diversity found in nature using bioinformatics, synthetic biology, and biochemistry. By genetically engineering microorganisms he hopes to produce enerty while treating wastewater, produce fertilizer for the Mars missions, and produce medically relevant compounds.

AJ plans to go on to MIT or Stanford for a PhD in Biological Engineering and Artificial Intelligence and eventually to work in his field as a researcher or owner of a biotechnology company. When he isn’t researching, AJ enjoys the outdoors, snow sports, and is a Search and Rescue Member.

Nicole Kearl
Nicole Kearl
Major: Nursing
Minor: Psychology

Nicole’s current research focuses on the use of story-writing as a pedagogical tool for long-term knowledge retention in students. She has also worked in a biochemistry lab and on an Alzheimer’s Disease trial study during her time at USU. Alongside being a student and researcher, Nicole has worked as a dietary aide in an assisted living home and is currently a medical assistant at a local clinic.

When she isn’t researching, Nicole enjoys tennis, rock climbing, and singing.

Rachael Gulbrandsen
Rachael Gulbrandsen
Major: Sociology
Minor: Statistics

Rachael loves being an Aggie because there are so many opportunities to get involved, from student leadership to undergraduate research. She is doing research on the career aspirations of USU Honors students, comparing students’ goals to the career outcomes of alumni. She is especially interested in how gender may affect these goals and outcomes to see if cultural context places a role in their development.

Rachael hopes to find a career where she can continue to conduct research and apply the skills she has gained at USU. When she isn’t researching, Rachael enjoys traveling, live music, and game nights.

Aleksander Nelson
Aleksander Nelson
Major: Journalism
Minors: Computer Science, Music

Aleksander comes to USU from American Fork, Utah. His research trajectory began with work on the Digital Folklore Project in the English Department, tracking and documenting trends, memes, and hashtags on social media. His current research looks at the effects of social media on those with disabilities and their families.

Aleksander plans to attend graduate school before working for a non-profit organization. When he isn’t researching, Aleksander enjoys dogs, books, running, music, national parks, and Netflix.

Hayden Hubbard
Hayden Hubbard
Major: Economics
Minor: Entrepreneurship

A Cache Valley native, Hayden’s current research looks at the methods that private US companies use to create internal carbon prices, as well as their motivations for doing so. His work shows that the private sector can drive environmental protections even when the government does not regulate it. He is also studying the impacts of the recent healthcare expansion in Utah.

Hayden also speaks Romanian, Russian, French, and some Norwegian. When he isn’t researching, Hayden enjoys soccer, playing the piano, and skiing.

Rachel Sagers
Rachel Sagers
Majors: Biology, Public Health
Minors: Chemistry, Sociology

Rachel considers herself to be a little obsessive in putting hours into the projects she starts. This is useful in her research, as she is currently working on one project looking at why birds collide with glass windows and another on a health intervention pilot program. She has also worked in smaller research labs, but realized that she prefers the fieldwork and big-picture projects that impact public health and epidemiology.

Rachel plans to attend medical school after a public health master’s degree, with the eventual goal of becoming a public health physician and epidemiologist. When she isn’t researching, Rachel enjoys leisurely outdoor activities, hand embroidery, playing the clarinet, and her kitten Theo.

Fiona Van Leeuwen
Fiona Van Leeuwen
Majors: Chemistry, Mechanical Engineering

From Sandy, Utah, Fiona’s academic focus is on aerospace engineering. Her research focuses on shiempflug lenses, evaluating the effectiveness of this type of lens to analyze the depth of field and accuracy. She has also done a project on the evolution of women in the Star Trek series.

Fiona plans on going to graduate school for astrophysics and to find a career in that field. When she isn’t researching, Fiona enjoys playing her flute and saxophone, gardening, and reading.

Paul Consalvo
Paul Consalvo
Major: Civil Engineering
Minor: Computer Science

You might recognize Paul from his Ignite talk in April of 2018—he describes himself as a ‘flamboyant, dancing, and overly excited engineering student who would love nothing more than to be everyone’s friend.’ Paul’s talk and his research focus on data analysis methods for residential water use, though he also studies the determinants of road use through GPS-enabled vehicles, such as bikes within a bike share system.

Paul hopes to find a civil engineering job that will allow him to apply his large dataset analysis skills. When he isn’t researching, Paul enjoys bowties, music and poetry, hiking and climbing, and reading.

Katie Miner
Katie Miner
Majors: Political Sciences, Art History

Katie’s unique degree combinations work perfectly for her; while she was interning for a political consulting firm in Washington, D.C., she was able to spend all of her free time in the National Gallery of Art. Likewise, her research includes both her major passions. She is currently working as a writer for the Aggies Geopolitical Observatory analyzing global politics and current events, but will be starting some art history research in the coming year.

Katie hopes to go to law school and end up in the capitol. When she isn’t researching, Katie enjoys reading, painting, traveling, and her pet fish William Beebe.

Kenen Goodwin
Kenen Goodwin
Majors: Fisheries & Aquatic Sciences, Wildlife Ecology
Minors: Statistics, Geographic Information Science

Kenen has been working on density-dependent fecundity in Common Carp, aging June Sucker, and Colorado Pikeminnow movements. He’s currently working on a project looking at how the microbes on salamander skin vary across life stages, through time, and with environmental factors. He has also volunteered on a number of nature service projects, working with animals from wolverines to sheep to pika.

Kenen’s career aspirations are to work directly for the conservation of aquatic organisms, especially amphibians. When he isn’t researching, Kenen enjoys running, skiing, and searching for reptiles and amphibians.

Kyleigh Tyler
Kyleigh Tyler
Major: Animal, Dairy and Veterinary Sciences
Minors: Biology, Chemistry, Leadership & Management

Kyleigh’s research focuses on metabolism efficiency in ovary transplant mice and somatic cell injection mice compared to controls; she has looked at glucose metabolism, and hopes to look at lipid metabolism next. Her work could eventually help to restore metabolic health in post-menopausal women, decreasing disease and improving quality of life.

Kyleigh intends to go to veterinary school for her DVM and a PhD so that she can continue to research. When she isn’t doing research, Kyleigh enjoys photography, hiking, and playing the piano.

Ethan Hammer
Ethan Hammer
Majors: Conservation & Restoration Ecology, Wildlife Ecology
Minor: Statistics

Ethan moved to USU from Iowa, and has been amazed at the opportunities here for student involvement in research, especially fieldwork. His own research has taken him to Cedar Breaks National Monument, where he uses remote cameras to track wildlife distribution. His fieldwork has also given him the opportunity to hone a hobby of his, wildlife photography.

After graduate school, Ethan plans to conduct research on how encroachment impacts mammals on protected lands in the United States of America and on effective management actions to protect these species at a university. When he isn’t researching, Ethan enjoys being a trip leader in the USU Outdoor Program, backpacking, and hiking.