Julie Bergene -- Julie Bergene is the public education coordinator at the Dole Institute of Politics at the University of Kansas. She currently leads K-12 and family education programs at the Dole Institute of Politics, including on-site, outreach, and online initiatives utilizing the museum gallery and archive collections. Julie received her M.A. in ecology and evolutionary biology from the University of Kansas and previously was an education specialist at the Natural History Museum of Utah in Salt Lake City, UT teaching inquiry-based outreach classes to thousands of students every year.


Matt Christopher -- Matt Christopher is the business development manager at Triebold Paleontology, Inc. in Kansas City, KS and an adjunct professor at Park University in Parkville, MO. Matt received his M.A. in ecology and evolutionary biology from the University of Kansas in 2006. Matt was a paleontologist & subject matter expert at Union Station Kansas City before joining Triebold Paleontology, Inc


Dr. Meredith Drosback -- Dr. Meredith Drosback serves as the Assistant Director for Education and Physical Sciences at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP). Her work focuses largely on improving learning outcomes and opportunities in STEM education, as well as a variety of topics in the physical sciences, space science, and forensic science. She has been at OSTP since 2012 when she joined the office to work on the Materials Genome Initiative, a multi-agency effort designed to accelerate the discovery, development, and deployment of advanced materials. Prior to coming to OSTP, Dr. Drosback served as a Congressional Fellow (sponsored by the American Institute of Physics) on the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee, Subcommittee on Science and Space. There her work covered a wide range of scientific and STEM education issues relevant to the National Science Foundation, National Institute of Standards and Technology, and NASA. Dr. Drosback completed a postdoctoral research assistantship at the University of Virginia and received her Ph.D. in Astrophysics from the University of Colorado, a M.S. in Physics from North Carolina State University, and a B.S. in Chemistry from Duke University.


Dr. Karen Deak -- Karen Deak got her PhD (genetics) from the University of Chicago in 2008 where she examined root system development of Arabidopsis thaliana. After her PhD, She joined the patent prosecution group of Sonnenschein Nath and Rosenthal as a patent scientist; passed the patent bar and became a patent agent. She is a Registered US Patent Agent and the Director of Master of Science in Patent Law and Certificate in Patent Prosecution. Karen has been at the University of Notre Dame since 2011, when she was recruited to create and become the inagural Director of the MS in Patent Law. Karen is also an informal consultant to Notre Dame's Office of Technology Transfer (filing patent applications and consulting with students' projects) and as a contract patent agent with a Boston-based firm. Karen is also a co-founder for two companies for which she provided the strategic market and patent advice (as well as writing one or more patent applications) for the company.


Dr. Angela Ferguson -- Dr. Angela Ferguson is the co-director of Clinical Chemistry Laboratories and Point of Care Testing at Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, MO and an assistant professor in the Department of Pathology at the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Medicine. Angela received her Ph.D. in genetics and molecular biology from Emory University in 2001. After earning her Ph.D., Angela was a postdoctoral research fellow in cell biology and physiology from 2001-2006 and a postdoctoral research fellow in clinical chemistry & laboratory medicine and pathology & laboratory medicine from 2006-2008 at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, MO. Angela is a fellow of the National Academy of Clinical Biochemistry and a diplomate of the American Board of Clinical Chemistry.


Dr. Bria Kettle -- Dr. Bria Kettle is the site Microbiologist for the Crop Science division of Bayer in Kansas City, MO. Bria graduated from the University of Kansas with a Bachelors of Arts degree in Human Biology in 2006 and a Ph.D. in Microbiology from the Department of Molecular Biosciences in 2013. As the on-site Microbiologist at Bayer, her main function is in the QA/QC laboratory where she performs analysis of bacterial technical materials, and oversees analysis of formulated biopesticides, product contamination monitoring, and plant sterilization and hygiene. She also participates in product complaint investigations involving microbial contamination and consults globally with colleagues on microbial contamination testing and plant hygiene. Additionally, Bria consults with the Waste Water Treatment facility at Bayer to monitor the health and efficacy of the bacteriological biomass in treatment and removal of organic waste.


Dr. Barbara Keller -- Barbara Keller is an elk and deer biologist with the Missouri Department of Conservation. She obtained a BS in Natural Resource Management from Northland College in 2002, a MS in Wildlife Science from New Mexico State University in 2005, and a PhD in Wildlife Science from University of Missouri in 2011. Barbara has a broad background in ungulate ecology and has conducted research on bighorn sheep, bison, pronghorn, elk and deer throughout her career. In 2011, Barbara began a postdoctoral fellowship studying the recently restored elk population in the Missouri Ozarks. She transitioned to resource scientist with the Missouri Department of Conservation in 2015.


Bekkah Lampe -- Bekkah Lampe is the museum educator at the Natural History Museum at the University of Kansas. Bekkah received her M.A. in Ecology, Evolution and Marine Biology from the University of California, Santa Barbara. She has previously worked in the education departments of the Carolina Raptor Center in Huntersville, NC, the Maryland Science Center in Baltimore, MD, and the Ty Warner Sea Center in Santa Barbara, CA.


Dr. Young Wha Lee -- Young Wha Lee is a research scientist at Monsanto’s Emerging Leaders in Science (ELS) program. She received her Ph.D. in genetics from Duke University. Before being recruited by Monsanto, Young Wha did post-doctoral fellowships at Duke University and at the University of Toronto, where she solidified many of the skills that she uses in her day-to-day activities for her current position.


Tom de Man -- Tom de Man is currently a microbial bioinformatician in the Division of Healthcare Quality Promotion at the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta, Georgia. Specifically, his work focuses on antimicrobial resistance in healthcare acquired infections. He is Dutch born and educated, studying at Wageningen University before going abroad to the United States.Tom made contacts at the CDC while working as a visiting graduate student in the Gerardo lab at Emory University in Atlanta. His role as a bioinformatician involves continued publication in peer reviewed journals and allows him the freedom to work remotely.


Dr. Dyan Morgan -- Dr. Dyan Morgan is the assistant director at the Center for Undergraduate Research at the University of Kansas. Dyan received her Ph.D. in Cellular and Molecular Biology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2011. After earning her Ph.D., Dyan was a NIH IRACDA Postdoctoral Research Fellow from 2011-2013 in the Department of Molecular Biosciences at the University of Kansas and an adjunct instructor at Haskell Indian Nations University in Lawrence, KS.


Dr. Rebecca Peterson -- Dr. Rebecca Peterson is the Director of Research Collaborations at the University of Kansas where she works with colleagues in the Office of Research Development, and in collaboration with KU Endowment, to diversify the funding portfolios of university researchers. Rebecca received her BS in Psychobiology from the University of California, Los Angeles in 1993 and subsequently spent a year abroad doing research in protein biochemistry at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) in Zurich. As a Department of Defense Breast Cancer Research predoctoral fellow, Rebecca pursued a degree in cell, molecular, and developmental biology at the Sackler School of Biomedical Sciences at Tufts University and received her PhD in 1999. Rebecca’s first position after graduate school was as an instructor in the Eberly College of Science at Penn State where she was eventually promoted to senior lecturer and the Director of Outreach. While at PSU, she also founded and directed the Action Potential Science Experience (now called Science-U), a summer science program for K-12 students, and a service-learning program for undergraduate and graduate students who work closely with PSU faculty and staff to take action and raise the potential of the next generation of scientists. Rebecca first came to KU in 2008 as the executive assistant dean in the College where she directed the College Office of Graduate Affairs through 2011.


Dr. Karthik Ramachandran -- Dr. Karthik Ramachandran is the vice president and co-founder of Likarda in Kansas City, KS. Karthik received his Ph.D. in bioengineering from the University of Kansas in 2012. After earning his Ph.D., Karthik was a doctoral fellow at the Institute for Advancing Medical Innovation in Kansas City for two years and a postdoctoral fellow in a Diabetes Research Lab at the University of Kansas Medical Center in Kansas City for one year. Karthik is also the co-founder of Cheri’s Hope, a pet organ donation network in Kansas City.


Dr. Carol Saunders -- Dr. Carol Saunders is an Associate Professor of Pathology at the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Medicine, and Clinical Director of the Center for Pediatric Genomic Medicine at Children's Mercy Hospital. Dr. Saunders received a Ph.D. with honors in Molecular Biology at The University of Kansas, and completed a Post-Doctoral Fellowship in Clinical Molecular Genetics at Emory University School of Medicine. Carol is a fellow of the American College of Medical Genetics and Genomics (FACMG) and a diplomate of the American Board of Medical Genetics. She has directed the Molecular Genetics Laboratory at Children's Mercy since 2002. Dr. Saunders's research interests include next-generation sequencing-based testing in both clinical and research settings, identification of new human disease genes, and mitochondrial disease.


Dr. Genevieve Smith -- Genevieve Smith is a Program Director and an alumni of Insight Data Science, a training fellowship for graduate students and postdocs designed to bridge the gap between academia and a career in data science and engineering. Insight provides seven-week, full-time, postdoctoral training fellowships in Silicon Valley and New York City. They offer a full tuition scholarship, dedicated office space, and self-directed, project-based learning under the guidance of top industry mentors. Over 500 Fellows have completed the program and are now working as data scientists and engineers at Facebook, Apple, LinkedIn, The New York Times, Twitter, Airbnb, Netflix, NBC, MTV, Khan Academy, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and other top companies. Dr. Smith earned her MS in Biology at McGill University and received her PhD in Ecology, Evolution and Behavior at the University of Texas at Austin, where her work focused on the role of competition in structuring communities of species. Her work has taken her from Hawaiian chocolate farms to coastal Maine, and ranged from hands-on field work in ponds and reefs, to mining high-dimensional data sets, to performing statistical analyses of Shakespeare's punctuation.


Lynn Villafuerte -- Lynn Villafuerte is the program coordinator of IMSD (Initiative for Maximizing Student Development) and PREP (Postbaccalaureate Research Education Program), director of the PLUS (Peer Led Undergraduate Supplement) Program, and director of Kansas DNA Day at the University of Kansas. Lynn received her M.A. in ecology and evolutionary biology from the University of Kansas.

Stephen Voght

Dr. Stephen Voght -- Dr. Voght is a biotechnology writer and editor for the Immunology and Vaccine Development program at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, WA. He supports program faculty and staff in the preparation of grant applications, manuscripts, progress reports, and outreach materials. Stephen received his Ph.D. in genetics from the University of Washington Department of Genome Sciences in Seattle, WA.


The SEARCH Symposium was partially funded by donations made to KU Student Endowment Board’s crowd-funding campaign, LaunchKU. If you would like to support our graduate student organizations and the 2020 SEARCH Symposium, please consider making a donation. Even the smallest donations make a difference. 


Thank you for supporting graduate students' efforts to promote science education and outreach, professional development events, and travel to professional meetings.

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