Sarah Abney, PhD candidate | Environmental Sciences
Advisor: Charles Gerba & Kelly Reynolds
University email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Born in Jamaica and raised in Georgia, USA, seeing the world through bi-racial and multi-cultural lenses influenced career pursuits to find connections between the common threads of life and science. My research focuses include water quality management, water microbiology and water virology - specifically in drinking waters and treated waste-waters. The overarching goal is to serve at the nexus of water-management, public health and policy. My passion is to create more diverse avenues for water (food and energy) access in underserved communities throughout the world while simultaneously respecting cultural practices & needs.
Internship 2021: Diné College, Tuba City Campus
Michael Anderson, PhD candidate | Materials Science & Engineering
Advisor: Erin Ratcliff
University email: email@example.com
Michael is researching structure-property relationships, degradation mechanisms, and building-integration of organic photovoltaic materials. Advised by Dr. Erin Ratcliff, he designed and works in the Laboratory for Interface Science of Printable Electronic Materials at the University and frequently travels for research to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and Stanford Linear Accelerator Center in Golden CO and Menlo Park CA, respectively. He grew up in WA and received B.S. degrees in Physics and Applied Mathematics from Washington State University in 2018.
Internship 2019: National Renewable Energy Laboratory
Veronique Arguello, MS Candidate | Urban Planning
Advisor: Adriana Zuniga-Teran
University email: firstname.lastname@example.org
"Guw’aadzi, my name is Vero, and I am from the Pueblo of Acoma and Kewa Pueblo. I was born and raised in New Mexico. I graduated last May with my Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Planning and Design from The University of New Mexico. This fall I will begin pursuing my Master of Science in Urban Planning at the University of Arizona. My research interests are developing sustainable energy sources as well as preserving water resources and water treatment within rural and tribal communities. I am passionate about preserving traditional knowledge through ethical and inclusive community-based initiatives. I am excited to be a part of the Indige-FEWSS program to develop my network and enhance skills that will help me to face the water and energy challenges in Indigenous communities."
Calder Bethke, MS Candidate | Biosystems Engineering
Advisor: Murat Kacira
University email: email@example.com
Calder graduated from Willamette University with a B.A. in Anthropology, and after working on farms across the southwest, he served in the Peace Corps for three years in Burkina Faso. He is currently researching food production in arid climates through the Biosystems Engineering master’s program, and he wants to work with underserved global populations. Calder likes the outdoors, gardening, and personal development.
William Borkan is a first year Master’s student in the Department of Environmental Science at the University of Arizona. He works in the Contaminant Transport Lab with Dr. Brusseau and Dr. Araujo, studying uranium transport through fractured rock cores. Prior to signing up for graduate school, William worked for ten years as a field archaeologist in the Great Plains, Pacific Northwest, and Southwest before “retiring” last fall to pursue a degree in soil and water science. William grew up in Flagstaff, and is interested in studying the transport and fate of heavy metal contaminants that are so prevalent in the soil and groundwater of Northern Arizona. He aspires to use his skills gained through the Indige-FEWSS program to begin a new career with the Navajo EPA.
Internship 2021: Navajo Nation Environmental Protection Agency
Kyle is a PhD student in Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Arizona. His research focuses on modeling the degradation of renewable energy systems.
Internship 2019: National Renewable Energy Laboratory
Ailyn graduated from Princeton University with a Bachelors in Civil and Environmental Engineering in 2018. After that, she served with the Peace Corps in Panama as a Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene volunteer working to improve rural aqueduct systems in a small indigenous village. Her research interests include off-grid water treatment and nanofiltration. She is pursuing a Master’s of Science in Environmental Engineering.
Internship 2021: Jacobs Consulting
Mark Clytus, PhD candidate | American Indian Studies
Advisor: Mary Jo Tippiconnic Fox
University email: firstname.lastname@example.org
"Yá'át'ééh (Hello) I am Mark Clytus, I am married to beautiful Dine’ (Navajo) woman with four kids, I am a first-generation PhD student studying American Indian Studies, with an emphasis in Indigenous STEM Engineering Education Curriculum in Higher Education/Natural Resource Management and Policy at the University of Arizona. I have a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering (Oklahoma State University) and earned two master’s degrees in Information Technology Management (Colorado Technical University) and Environmental Science (University of Idaho). I worked as an professional engineer and as an IT consultant doing project management on a variety of engineering/IT technology projects for the Federal government (Dept. of Commerce MBDA, Dept. of the Air Force and Army, USGS), State of Arizona Department of Liquor License and Control, Boeing, Tribal governments (Navajo Nation and Spokane Tribe), and in Academia (University of Idaho, Washington State University and Oklahoma State University). I have certification in technology transfer management funded by the Department of Commerce Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) to promote technology transfer between academia, government agencies and private industries. As a future PhD recipient, I will work to produce economic development opportunities in an environmentally sustainable conscious market for Indigenous communities and I will work in going into administration in higher education to develop culturally relevant and empowering STEM curriculum for higher education institutions, as well as enhance educational academic outreach opportunities for underrepresented, low income, and first-generation students through STEM programs."
Chantel Harrison, MS Candidate | Applied Biosciences
Advisor: Murat Kacira
University email: email@example.com
Chantel Harrison is a member of the Navajo Nation. She graduated from Arizona State University in 2014 with a B.S. in Nutrition. Since then, she has worked with non-profits and several Tribal communities in Arizona to provide nutrition and garden education to improve the health status of Indigenous individuals and families. This fall, she will begin her studies in the Applied Biosciences program in the Controlled Environment Agriculture track. Her educational and career interests include contributing solutions that address food sovereignty, food insecurity, and the food-energy-water nexus in urban and rural Indigenous communities.
Robert "Quinn" Hull, MS Candidate | [Hydrology and Atmospheric Sciences
Advisor: Laura Condon
University email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Quinn grew up near the New River in Virginia, where he first became interested in the way that water matters to people. He has worked stints at the US Geological Survey studying groundwater and in Ecuador as a teacher of English as a foreign language. As a graduate student specializing in groundwater and surface-water, his current work with Dr. Laura Condon focuses on building models of hydrologic systems to inform sustainable water management. He is drawn to Indige-FEWSS to be more accountable as an educator, scientist, and human being.
Jaymus Lee comes from the Diné Nation he is Bilagáana (White People) born for Bít’ahnii (Folded Arms People) whose family comes from Teec Nos Pos, Arizona. Born in New Mexico and raised in Arizona he graduated from Chandler High School. After graduation he served a full-time two year church mission in El Salvador. He graduated from Fort Lewis College with a Bachelor’s of Science in Cellular & Molecular Biology. He is currently at the University of Arizona in the Applied Bioscience Professional Science Masters in Controlled Environment Agriculture program. He is currently involved in vertical farming and greenhouse design projects under his advisor Dr. Murat Kacira, Department of Biosystems Engineering. He would like to further study the role of controlled environment systems in tribal lands to address issues in the food-energy-water nexus and food sovereignty. Interesting things to know: he loves to play volleyball and travel, enjoys movies especially Sci-Fi, has a desert tortoise named Turtle, and would eat Chipotle everyday if he could afford it!
Internship 2021: Diné College Land Grant Office, Tsaile Campus
Ciara Avelina Lugo is pursuing a PhD in Chemical Engineering at the University of Arizona (U of A). She grew up in Nogales, Arizona, and completed a B.S. in chemical engineering with a minor in mathematics at the U of A. She has participated in two research education for undergrad (REU) programs - one at the U of A and the other at Colorado School of Mines. Her experience in these programs focused on water treatment through bacterially activated filtration systems and membrane distillation, and analytical techniques in ultraviolet spectroscopy, total organic carbon concentrations, excitation emission matrix, and liquid chromatography-mass spectroscopy. Her research focuses on osmotically-driven membrane processes for medical and food applications. Her research goes hand-in-hand with her NSF fellowship – Indige-FEWSS – which focuses on the food-energy-water nexus in indigenous communities. In her spare time, Ciara plays the guitarrón in the U of A Mariachi, Mariachi Arizona, enjoys doing yoga, and volunteering for social justice organizations.
Abolhassan received the B.S. degree from the industrial engineering Department, University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran, in 2016. He is currently working toward the Ph.D. degree in systems and industrial engineer ing at the University of Arizona, Tucson, USA. His research interests are data-driven optimization, operations management under uncertainty, power systems planning, and renewable energy integration.
JoRee LaFrance, PhD candidate | Environmental Sciences
Advisor: Jon Chorover
University email: email@example.com
JoRee LaFrance comes from the Apsáalooke Nation and was born and raised on the Crow reservation in southeastern Montana. Her Apsáalooke name is Iichiinmáatchilash/Fortunate with Horses and she is Greasy Mouth clan and a child of Ties in the Bundle clan. She currently resides in Tucson, Arizona as a third-year PhD student at the University of Arizona in the Department of Environmental Sciences. JoRee's research aims to understand the concentration-discharge relationship in the Little Bighorn River and those impacts on the Indige-FEWSS nexus and tribal water uses on her reservation.
Kunal Palawat, PhD Candidate | Environmental Science
Advisor: Mónica Ramírez-Andreotta
University email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Kunal (they/them) is a soil nerd who is deeply curious about exploring and deepening BIPOC relationships to Land, Sky, and Water. They love cooking, coding, the ocean, and seeing QT2SBIPOC experience uninhibited joy. They were raised by communities of people and plants in traditions of Jainism, gardening, spices, queerness, and transness, which inform all the work that they do. Kunal is also a critical ecologist and terrestrial biogeochemist currently working at the intersections of pollution, community based research, public health, and environmental justice at the University of Arizona on occupied Tohono O’odham and Pascua Yaqui Lands (so called Tucson, AZ) in the Ramírez-Andreotta Integrated Environmental Science and Health Risk Lab and Dr. Sue Pierre's Critical Ecology Lab based on Chochenyo Ohlone Lands (so called Berkeley, CA). They are excited to be a part of Indige-FEWSS and contribute to the incredible work and learning done in the program.
Research surrounding STEM education and youth engagement. I am passionate about this work because I believe in the power of community-led problem solving, as well as the power of young people to challenge and expand our minds. I’m looking forward to the opportunity to learn from Indigenous communities, as well as learning more about community driven solutions to water scarcity, energy access, and food deserts.
"As a Biosystems Engineer, my goal is to use Controlled Environment Agriculture to promote health and sovereignty in socioeconomically vulnerable communities. As an Indige-FEWSS trainee, I maximize off-grid crop production of renewable energy supplied greenhouses to improve financial autonomy and access to fresh food within indigenous communities."
Internship 2021: Controlled Environment Agriculture Center consulting
Luke Presson, PhD Candidate | Chemical and Environmental Engineering
Advisor: Kerri Hickenbottom
University email: email@example.com
Luke Presson is pursuing a PhD in Environmental Engineering at the University of Arizona. He grew up in Asheville, NC and graduated from Centre College in Danville, KY with a B.S. degree in Chemistry. Luke worked in the pharmaceutical industry for 4 years before returning to school. His experience in industry focused on quality control and bioanalytical chemistry, and he plans to bring analytical chemistry techniques to bear on research regarding water treatment and water quality. In his spare time Luke enjoys playing with his dog, cooking healthy meals, and reading about everything from magical worlds to political memoirs.
"I am from Kijabe, Kenya, I received a B.S in Chemistry from Appalachian State University and am now pursuing my PhD in analytical chemistry at the University of Arizona! I am very passionate about applying STEM solutions to real world problems. I am doing the Indige-FEWSS program because it allows me to combine my passion for scientific exploration with my multicultural background."
Internship Summer 2022: National Renewable Energy Laboratory
Jackie Rybin received her B.S. in Public Health in 2015 and recently completed a 2nd B.S. in Nutritional Sciences (Dietetics Emphasis) in Spring 2021 at the University of Arizona. She grew up partly in Nebraska and Arizona and was exposed early in life to farming, agriculture and the community it builds. She is pursuing a Master of Science degree in Agriculture Education, Technology, and Innovation (AETI) with strong interests in sustainable food systems, food justice, food sovereignty, and grassroots advocacy and policy work. Her goal is to become an out-of-the-box nutrition and agriculture leader specializing in the development and maintenance of thriving small-scale, urban farms and culturally-appropriate nutrition education programs in food insecure communities by placing voices of community members first and foremost in those endeavors.
"I am pursuing a chemical engineering PhD at the University of Arizona after graduating from UC San Diego in 2021 with a bachelors in chemical engineering. Working with biodegradable polyurethanes as an undergraduate helped kickstart my passion for sustainable technology and materials, and I am hoping to apply my prior experience with polymers to improving the stability of perovskite solar materials under the guidance of Dr. Adam Printz. I especially look forward to conducting outreach in surrounding communities to help garner interest in STEM careers and promote the development of environmentally sustainable technology in the energy sector."
Nizhoni Tallas, PhD Candidate | School of Natural Resources and the Environment
Advisor: Dr. Aaron Lien & Dr. Jose Soto
University email: firstname.lastname@example.org
"Yá'át'ééh my name is Nizhoni Tallas and I'm from Rough Rock, AZ. I'll be starting my first year of graduate school within the School of Natural Resources and the Environment. I graduated from Virginia Tech with my Bachelor's degree in Natural Resources and Conservation. I'm also a Sequoyah Fellow and a past Udall Scholar. I'm grateful to be part of the Indige-FEWSS cohort. I look forward to working with tribal communities and learning from elders and community members. Ever since I was young, I have had a passion for nature and all the amazing things it offers us. I hope to contribute to the work people have already done and to develop new ideas. I'm excited to be joining other awesome students too! Some fun things about me - I love the outdoors, traveling, coffee, and can't forget BOBA! Trees are pretty cool too!"
Arianna Quinn Tariqi graduated from the University of California, Merced with a B.S. in Environmental Engineering. She is a first-year PhD student in the Department of Chemical and Environmental Engineering at the University of Arizona and co-advised by Dr. Hickenbottom and Dr.Karanikola. Being the child of an Afghan refugee, she is very passionate about researching ways to help underserved and underrepresented communities. With experience in community service, lab work, and as a STEM tutor, she is excited to take her drive and passion for teaching, learning, and researching with her throughout the Indige-FEWSS Traineeship. Overall, she is excited to contribute to the goals of Indige-FEWSS, while growing culturally.
"I am a master’s student in the Department of Environmental Science advised by Dr. Mónica Ramírez-Andreotta. I am honored to be a part of the Indige-FEWSS cohort because I believe mentorship, cultural immersion, professional development, and research in areas that will bring positive solutions to humans and the earth are all very important to finding a lasting-holistic solution for everyone. I hope to work alongside indigenous communities to learn from the wealth of traditional wisdom and practices and to know more about the history and belovedness of the land and its many systems. Currently, my research project is trying to address community concerns in regards to environmental health issues posed by soil and dust that come from living by legacy, active, and proposed mines."
Nikki Tulley, PhD candidate | Environmental Sciences
Advisor: Sharon Megdal
University email: email@example.com
Nikki Tulley is a member of the Navajo Nation. She is a third year Ph.D. student in the Department of Environmental Science with a concentration in Hydroscience at the University of Arizona. Her research focuses on ensuring that people living in Indigenous communities have access to clean drinking water to sustain their way of life in an ever-changing environment through sustainable practices and water policies and management. She is an Alfred P. Sloan 2018-2021 Scholar, American Indian Graduate Center Fellow, and an American Indian Science and Engineering Society Sequoyah Fellow. Nikki received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Environmental Science and a Master of Science Degree in Water Resources from the University of New Mexico.
Internship 2019: Center for the Future of Arizona
Field Snapshot: Tackling 21st Century Sustainability Challenges on the Navajo Nation
“The Haury Water Hub”
"I am a PhD student in Dr. Kelly Simmons-Potter’s laboratory, primarily studying the impact of climate-induced degradation of photovoltaics on the accuracy of electric power prediction models. I have lived all over the country and internationally, but I consider Tucson to be my hometown. I graduated from the UA with my Bachelor’s degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering in 2019, and I am excited to continue my education here as an Indige-FEWSS trainee."
Chrisa Whitmore, PhD Candidate | Biosystems Engineering
Advisor: Barry Pryor
University email: firstname.lastname@example.org
"While pursuing a PhD in Biosystems Engineering, I hope to improve the health of vulnerable communities by increasing access to nutritious foods. I received a Bachelor of Science in Pubic Health and a Master of Public Health specifying in Environmental Health. "I am excited to being a part of the Indige-FEWSS program because I get to apply my background in public health and assist in developing solutions to complex issues."
Tony Viola, PhD Candidate | Teaching, Learning and Sociocultural Studies
Advisor: Valerie Shirley
University email: email@example.com
Tony Viola IV is a second-year doctoral student in the Department of Teaching, Learning and Sociocultural Studies at the University of Arizona. As an emerging Yoeme scholar, his studies focus on community-based and land-based education related to Indigenous Youth identities and learning. In work, research, and service, Tony is adamant about prioritizing the voices and lived experiences of the local community, first-generation college students and youth.
Christopher Yazzie, PhD Candidate | Chemical and Environmental Engineering
Advisor: Vasiliki Karanikola
University email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Christopher Brian Yazzie is a member of the Navajo Nation, from the community of Tuba City, Arizona. He is currently working on a PhD in Environmental Engineering. His research focuses on the removal of uranium from groundwater by membrane filtration and electrochemical processes. He has previous water resource work experience with tribal, county and state agencies. Chris is currently a mentor in the USDA-NIFA "Bridge in STEAM" program, which prepares tribal college students for graduate school. Apart from the PhD life, Chris loves listening to music and spending time with his family.
Internship 2019: Navarro Engineering, Department of Energy Legacy Management Rare Metals UMTRCA
Indige-FEWSS Trainee Alumni
Quentin Benally, MS | Biosystems Engineering
Advisor: Murat Kacira
"I'm a member of the Navajo Nation and I am from Window Rock, AZ. I completed my bachelor's degree in Electrical Engineering with a specialization in Power and Energy at the University of Denver. I am pursuing my masters in Electrical and Computer Engineering. My current research focuses on studying degradation rates for organic photovoltaics (OPV). This study gives valuable insight in predicting the performance of OPV modules."
Internship 2019: Salt River Project
Listen to the IndigeFEWSS Graduation Celebration Interview - May 13, 2021
Caitlyn Leo, MS | Chemical and Environmental Engineering
Advisor: Kimberly Ogden
Doug Morrison, JD | Geography and Information Systems
Advisor: Carl Bauer
I am Diné graduate student from Shiprock, NM working toward a MS in Water, Society, and Policy. I received my BA in Environmental Science from Willamette University in Salem, Oregon. My passions and academic efforts center Indigenous community-led organizing and collaboration to address community needs and secure Indigenous futures.
Internship 2020: Tucson Watershed Management Group
Rebekah Waller, PhD | Biosystems Engineering
Advisor: Murat Kacira
University email: email@example.com
Rebekah is a PhD candidate in Biosystems Engineering and a graduate researcher at the Controlled Environment Agriculture Center in Tucson. Her PhD advisor is Dr. Murat Kacira. Her doctoral research evaluates the technical feasibility of integrating flexible, semi-transparent organic photovoltaic (OPV) technologies with greenhouse systems, with the overarching goal of increasing the sustainability and accessibility of greenhouse agriculture. Rebekah is the recipient of the 2021 Marshall Foundation Dissertation Fellowship, 2020 Carson Scholars Program Fellowship, and held a traineeship with the Indige-FEWSS program from 2018 to 2020. Rebekah also serves as the Secretary of the Controlled Environment Agriculture Design Standards (CEADS) organization, a 501(c)(3) non-profit working to develop industry standards and best practices for the design and operation of resilient controlled environment agriculture enterprises.
Traineeship Checklist 2021-2022
Trainee Duties & Responsibilities
Understand the NSF-NRT Indige-FEWSS Trainee duties and responsibilities as well as the timeline for the program.View the PDF
Learn more about funding, arrival on campus, training, advising, course requirements and more.View the PDF