Success Stories

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Integrative Biology Alumni

Name Year Semester Degree Major Professor Employment Information Since Graduation
Aljohani, Kamal   2019 Fall Ph.D. Crisman/ Mushinsky Saudi Arabia
Gluvna Munn, Jamie  2019 Fall Ph.D. Prevost/ Fox Adjunct Instructor for Department of Integrative Biology
Leonard, Juliana   2019   Fall   Ph.D.   Scott   Vienna  
Nguyen, Karena   2019   Fall  Ph.D.   Prevost/ Fox   Emory University 
Anderson, Bert  2019   Summer   MS Lewis  
Flock, Travis  2019   Summer   MS  Kramer/ Lajeunesse   Indiana Department of Environmental Management
Keeley, Ryan  2019   Summer   MS  Scott   
Mangum, Samantha   2019 Summer  MS   Fox/ Bell  Adjunct Instructor for Department of Integrative Biology 
O'Donnell, Mary Kate   2019  Summer  Ph.D.  Deban  Post Doctoral Research, Brown University  
Surbaugh, Kerri   2019  Summer MS  Rohr  
Wright, Samuel   2019  Summer   MS  Fox/ McCoy  
Carter, Kelli  2019  Spring  Ph.D.  Prevost   Adjunct Instructor for Department of Integrative Biology
Ogburn, Nicholas  2019  Spring  MS  Lajeunesse   
Senkbeil, Jacob  2018  Fall  MS   Harwood Ph.D. program at the University of Brasilia, Brazil
Sauer, Erin  2018  Fall  Ph.D.  Rohr  University of Wisconsin
Hoffman, S. Michelle  2018  Fall  MS  Crisman  
Richardson, Jason  2018  Summer  Ph.D.   Stiling Statistician with Coca-Cola Beverages, Tampa, Florida
Grogan, Shannon   2018 Summer  MS   Fox  
Williams, Lauren  2018  Spring  MS  Crisman  University of Tampa, FL
Voors, Sandra  2018   Spring MS  Lewis/ Richards    Environmental Analyst, SFWMD Orlando.
Ortega, C. Nicole  2018  Spring  Ph.D.  Rohr   SWFWMD (Southwest Florida Water Management District)
Garcia, Sara  2018  Spring  MS   Gemmell Florida Institute of Oceanography
Young, Suzanne   2017 Fall  Ph.D.   Harwood  
Langanke, Kristin  2017  Fall  MS   Richards  
2017 Fall MS Harwood Ph.D. student, USF in Integrative Biology, Harwood lab
2017 Fall Ph.D. Martin  

2017 Summer Ph.D. Deban Assistant Professor, Department of Science, Northwest University WA
2017 Summer Ph.D. Richards Postdoctoral Fellow with Etienne Bucher, Research Institute for Horticulture 
2017  Summer Ph.D. Deban Postdoctoral Research, University of California, Irvine
 2017  Summer  Ph.D.  Fox  
 2017 Summer  MS Fox   Environmental Specialist, Florida Fish and Wildlife Research Institute
2017 Summer Ph.D. Crisman  


MS  Fox Technician, Archbold Biological Station
 2017 Spring   MS  Bell  
2017  Spring  MS  Bell Applying to Ph.D. programs
2017   Spring MS  Crisman  Teacher, Tampa, FL

2016 Fall MS Prevost PhD student in Ecology & Evolutionary Biology Program at University of Tennessee- Knoxville

2016 Fall MS Bell Associate Scientist, Ecosystem Management group, Water Institute of the Gulf in Baton Rouge
2016 Fall Ph.D. Crisman  
2016 Fall Ph.D. Rohr Postdoctoral reseacher, Wisconsin

2016 Summer Ph.D. Richards Postdoctoral Fellow with Kathleen Donohue, Duke University
Terry Rene
2016 Summer Ph.D. Scott Natural Resources Manager with Pasco County Government
2016 Spring Ph.D. Crisman  
2016 Spring M.S. Bell Ph.D. student at USF in Integrative Biology, Bell lab

2015 Fall Ph.D.

Richards/ Harwood

Teaching High School, Hillsborough County Public Schools
carley defilips

Carley DeFillips
Carley DeFillips received her M.S. in Biology in 2023 with David Lewis studying plastic accumulation in stormwater pond soils. She received a B.S. in Environmental Biology from USF in 2020.

Carley is now working as an environmental consultant in the Tampa Bay Area.


Jessica Balerna
Jessica earned her Ph.D. in 2023
with Dr. David Lewis studying how shifts in water management policies, primarily related to cutbacks in groundwater extraction, alter the biophysical and cultural ecosystem services provided by freshwater depressional wetlands. Prior to joining the Integrative Biology department at USF, Jessica received her B.S. in environmental science with minors in anthropology and statistics from American University in Washington, D.C.

Jessica is now a post-doctoral research scientist at the University of Vermont working in the Gund Institute for Environment studying the social and ecological costs of floods.


Jason Richardson
Studied the impact of gopher tortoises herbivory on plant community ecology and seed germinability.

I work as a data scientist at Grow Financial FCU. A strong focus on analytics courses helped build up my skillset and my own journey in learning R and Python programming helped to apply these skills to my research and beyond.

Would love the opportunity to use my data science skillset in an ecological setting.


Erin Feichtinger
I studied the effects of demograhpic heterogeneity on population dynamics using 2-stage population models and estimated the effects of kinship, habitat and life stage on survival of Florida Scrub Jays.

I'm at data scientist at US Bank Corp in Minneapolis. My experience with statistics, mathematical models and programming led to my career path. 

I work in fraud detection analytics, machine learning explainability and ethics. 


Stephen Hesterberg
My dissertation work focused on the transition of oyster reef to mangrove islands on Florida's Gulf coast and the ecological drivers of such change.

I am currently the Executive Director of the Gulf Shellfish Institute, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to sustainable shellfish aquaculture on Florida's Gulf coast. GSI's focus is on applied research to advance the shellfish aquaculture industry for economic and environmental benefits.

Our research ranges from new species discovery to outcomes of shellfish restoration. My job also includes proposal writing, budgeting, personnel management, and outreach. 


Nils Tack
My research interests as a graduate student in the IB Department were to contribute to a deeper understanding of how marine organisms interact with their fluid environment and what role these interactions play in the context of propulsion, energy expenditure and performance in fishes.

Following graduation, I joined Dr. Gemmell’s new collaborator, Dr. Wilhelmus, as a postdoc at the Brown University School of Engineering (Fluid and Thermal Sciences).

This decision to integrate an engineering research team provides me with a fantastic opportunity to access new tools and acquire skills that will allow me to pursue my interests in organismal robotics, whereby robotic devices are used to investigate biological question and to learn about how organisms function and how different functional designs compare with regard to performance and efficiency.


Betsy Potter
My M.S. research explored the trophic ecology of an oceanic ctenophore through predator-prey interactions and analysis of digestion and gut content.

I am now working with the Gulf Shellfish Institute under fellow USF IB department grad, Dr. Stephen Hesterberg.

I am thrilled to have achieved my life-long career goal of becoming a marine scientist. I'm now looking forward to conducting research focused on improvement and sustainability of the local shellfish industry with GSI.


Arig Ibrahim Hashim
I view cancer as a species, carcinogenesis as a speciation event, metastasizing cancer cells as an invasive species, and the human body as an ecological environment. How the cancer cell alters this environment to fit its need and how the environment reacts to suppress this growth is the basis for the M.S. research that I conducted at USF in the Richards Lab.

I am a  research scientist at Moffitt cancer center, utilizing evolutionary principles and ecological approaches synergistically to increase our knowledge about the development and treatment of cancer.

My career goal is to utilize evolutionary principles and ecological approaches synergistically to increase our knowledge about the development and treatment of cancer. This will create a useful framework that for sure will aid in amplifying a patient's own defense against cancer.


Dr. Jeannie Mounger
My Ph. D. dissertation work incorporated genomics approaches to explore how foundation plants of coastal ecosystems respond to natural and human-altered environmental challenges.

I am a postdoctoral researcher in the Saikkonen Lab at the University of Turku, Finland where I am studying how climate change is impacting plant-microbe interactions at the poles.

I hope my career continues to allow me to research pressing global matters related to climate change, plant conservation, and the nature of evolution in our rapidly changing world.


Dr. Kamal M. Aljohani earned his PhD in 2019 with Professor Tom Crisman and Professor emeritus Henry Mushinsky studying the biota and chemistry of springs of the Arabian Peninsula (Saudi Arabia, Oman and Jordan). Kamal received his BS in Marine Ecology at King Abdulaziz University in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia in 2009, and a Masters at USF in 2014.

Kamal is now a Marine Scientist Advisor at Petro Rabigh in Saudi Arabia.


Bert Anderson received his M.S. in Biology in 2019 with Assoc professor David Lewis studying the distribution and biogeochemistry of Intertidal microbial mats. Bert received his BS in Biology in 2012 at University of Tampa in Tampa, FL.


Dr. M. Teresa Boquete was a Marie Curie postdoctoral researcher from 2016-19 with Assoc professor Christina Richards and Professor Carlos Herrera (Estación Biológica de Doñana- CSIC, Spain) studying genomics of response to heavy metal pollution in bryophytes. Teresa received her BS in 2008 and her PhD in 2015 from University of Santiago de Compostela in Spain.

Teresa is now a postdoctoral researcher at Estación Biológica de Doñana, CSIC, Spain.


Dr. Kelli Carter earned her PhD in 2019 with Assoc professor Luanna Prevost studying student conceptual understanding of structure and function. Kelli received her BS in Biology in 1990 at University of North Florida, Jacksonville, FL and her MS in Zoology in 1996 at University of South Florida in Tampa, FL.

Kelli is now an Adjunct Instructor for USF Integrative Biology.


Travis Flock received his M.S. in Biology in 2019 with Assis professor Drew Kramer and Assoc professor Marc Lajeunesse studying trait-mediated interactions and indirect effects in predator-prey dynamics. Travis received his BA in Biology in 2016 at Wabash College in Crawfordsville, IN.

Travis is now an Environmental Manager for the Indiana Department of Environmental Management.


Dr Katrina Gordon received her Ph.D. in Biology in 2008 with Professor Valerie Harwood studying the ecology and rapid detection of the marine pathogen Vibrio vulnificus. Katrina returned to the Harwood lab between 2010 and 2012 as a post doctoral researcher.

Katrina is now at the University of North Texas Health Science Center in Fort Worth, Texas as manager of the Discovery Centers Core research laboratories.


Dr. Jamie Gluvna Munn earned her PhD in 2019 with Professor emeritus Gordon Fox and Assoc professor Luanna Prevost studying dendrochronology in Longleaf Pine. Jamie received her BS in Biology in 2009 at Gannon University in Erie, PA.

Jamie is now an Adjunct Instructor for USF Integrative Biology.


Ryan Keeley received his M.S. in Biology in 2019 with Professor KT Scott studying nitrogen metabolism in municipal wastewater treatment. Ryan received his BA in Microbiology in 2014 at University of South Florida in Tampa, FL.

Ryan is now a Quality System Manager at BayCare Central Pharmacy in Tampa, FL.


Dr. Juliana Leonard earned her PhD in 2019 with Professor KT Scott studying adaptations of sulfur oxidizing Gammaproteobacterial symbionts. Juliana received her BS in Marine Science and a concentration in marine biology at University of Delaware.

Juliana is now a postdoctoral researcher in the Marine Biology department at the University of Vienna, Austria.


Samantha Mangum received her M.S. in Biology in 2019 with Professor emeritus Gordon Fox and Professor Susan Bell studying how researchers quantify flowering phenology. Samantha received her BS in Environmental Biology, Minor in Chemistry in 2016 at Christopher University in Newport News, VA.

Samantha is now a Laboratory Supervisor at Boston University in Boston, MA.


Dr. Bina Nayak earned her PhD in 2009 with Professor Valerie Harwood. Currently, as a water research project manager at Pinellas County utilities, Bina assists the county water and wastewater treatment plants on internal projects such as corrosion control, cyanide management and uv effectiveness for wastewater treatment.

Bina is now working as water research project manager at Pinellas County utilities.


Dr. Karena Nguyen earned her PhD in 2019 with Professor Valerie Harwood and Professor Jason Rohr studying disease ecology of Schistosoma species. Karena received her BS in ecology and evolution and a minor in public health from Saint Louis University.

Karena is now a postdoctoral researcher at Emory University in Atlanta, GA.


Dr. Mary Kate O'Donnell earned her PhD in 2019 with Associate professor Stephan Deban studying the biomechanics and functional morphology of climbing in salamanders. Mary Kate received her BS in Biology and English in 2011 at Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia, PA.

Mary Kate is now a postdoctoral researcher at Brown University in Providence, RI.


Nicholas Ogburn received his M.S. in Biology in 2019 with Assoc professor Marc Lajeunesse studying genome size and host specialization in parasites. Nicholas received his BS in Biology in 2012 from the University of Florida in Gainesville, FL.

Nicholas is now a private tutor and Student Mental Health Counselor in Tampa, Florida.


Dr Jeffrey Olberding received his Ph. D. in Biology in the study of the biomechanics and muscle physiology of jumping in Cuban treefrogs, with Dr Stephen Deban in 2017. He is now an assistant professor in the Department of Biological Science at California State University, Fullerton.

Jeffrey is looking forward to establishing his own research program in muscle physiology and animal movement at CSUF.


Kerri Surbaugh received her M.S. in Biology in 2019 with Professor Jason Rohr studying parasitic nematodes of Cuban treefrogs. Kerri received her BS in Biomedical Sciences and Minor in Biomedical Physics in 2015 at University of South Florida in Tampa, FL.

Kerri is now a Senior Biological Scientist in the Department of Biomedical and Chemical Engineering, USF in Tampa, FL.


Dr Pauline Wanjugi received her Ph.D. in Biology in 2013 with Professor Valerie Harwood. Pauline conducted her post-doctoral work at Texas A&M University, Department of Soils and Crops, (College Station, TX), and at the United States Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Research and Development (Cincinnati, OH).

Pauline is now a researcher in the Environmental Biology Lab at the Wadsworth Center in Albany, NY.


Samuel Wright received his M.S. in Biology in 2019 with Professor emeritus Gordon Fox and Professor Earl McCoy studying conservation and restoration of the endangered Jacquemontia reclinata (Convolvulaceae). Samuel received his BS Wildlife Ecology and Conservation and minor in Zoology in 1999 at University of Florida in Gainesville, FL.

Samuel is an ecological consultant in Sarasota, FL.


Dr Suzanne Young received her Ph.D. in Biology in 2017 with Professor Valarie Harwood studying the role of environmental variables in survival of antibiotic resistant bacteria and the fitness costs of antibiotic resistance. Suzanne received a M.S. in antibiotic resistant bacteria in the Hudson River Estuary associated with combined sewer overflows from Queens College/City University of New York.

Suzanne is now a postdoctoral researcher at the École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) in Switzerland, in the Laboratory of Environmental Chemistry.