Current Scholars

ARCS Foundation Atlanta supports scholars from Emory University, the Georgia Institute of Technology, Morehouse College and the University of Georgia. All are selected by their respective schools and meet ARCS Foundation’s high standards of academic excellence.

ARCS Foundation Atlanta is honored to present awards to the following outstanding scholars for the 2017-2018 academic year.

Emory University Scholars
Brenda Calderon

Brenda received her B.S. in Chemistry with high honors from the University of Florida. She is currently a Ph.D. candidate in the Biochemistry, Cell and Developmental Biology Program with research interests in macromolecular structure and function. Brenda’s thesis work is on molecular mechanisms of RNA-mediated regulation of innate immune viral sensors.

Emily Crispell

Emily received her B.S. in Chemistry from the Georgia Institute of Technology. She is pursuing doctoral research at Emory University as a trainee of the Antimicrobial Resistance and Therapeutic Discovery Program, focusing on novel antibiotic resistance mechanisms and developing both detection methods and inhibitors to target these mechanisms.

Elizabeth Littauer

Elizabeth is a Ph.D candidate in Microbiology and Molecular Genetics. She earned her B.A. in Biology and History at UNC-Chapel Hill.  Her graduate thesis examines how pregnancy impacts the development of protective antibodies after influenza infection. She enjoys teaching in the classroom and laboratory and mentors undergraduate students each semester in influenza research and vaccine development.

Elaine Liu

Elaine Liu earned her B.A. in Chemistry from Oberlin College in Ohio.  During her undergraduate career she earned the ACS Undergraduate Award in Inorganic Chemistry.  Her undergraduate thesis led to a first author publication in Crystal Growth and Design.  Elaine began her graduate work at Emory University in August 2016.  Her research focuses on understanding the cobalt-carbon interactions in catalytic C-H activation, which will help improve catalyst applications.

Connor Morozumi

Connor received a B.S. in Health Science and a B.A. in Environmental Studies with Honor’s from the University of California, Santa Cruz. He obtained a M.S. in Wildlife Science from Oregon State University in 2015 and is currently a Ph.D. student in Population Biology, Ecology, and Evolution.  His current work is focused on how climate change affects plant-pollinator interactions.

Anna B. Morris

Anna earned her B.S. in Cell and Molecular Biology from Auburn University.  After beginning her Ph.D. in Immunology at Emory, she quickly coauthored a publication from her rotation work, and is now pursuing research in the Emory Transplant Center. There, she is studying novel T cell cosignaling pathways to regulate allograft responses in transplantation.

Ian Pavelich

Ian received his B.S. in Biomolecular Engineering from the Milwaukee School of Engineering, and is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Biomolecular Chemistry from Emory University.  Ian's research focuses on how bacteria adapt to antibiotics, studying a recently identified pathway that promotes tolerance rather than resistance.

Jessica Petree

Jessica graduated magna cum laude from UGA with a B.S. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. Her research interests include manipulating nucleic acids through synthetic biology and nanotechnology.  For her PhD project, she combined these concepts to develop a nanomachine capable of RNA gene therapy.  Future studies will include work with CRISPR.

Samantha Schwartz

Samantha received her B.S. in Biology with high honors from Armstrong State University in Savannah.  She is in the Biochemistry, Cell and Develomental Biology program.  Her thesis research will be to elucidate molecular mechanisms of RNA-mediated regulation of an innate immune protein.  She is also the recipient of a Ruth L. Kirshstein NRSA Fellowship from NIH/NIAID.

Alyssa Scott

Alyssa majored in Biology at Marist College with minors in Psychology and Environmental Science.  She received the Intern of the Year and Excellence in Science awards upon graduation. She is currently a second year Ph.D. student in Genetics and Molecular Biology and is studying the epigenetic causes of autism.

Kaitlyn Stanhope

Kaitlyn earned her B.A. in Community Health from Brown University.  Next, she served in the Peach Corps in Peru and then earned a M.PH at Emory.  She currently a Ph. D. student in Epidemiology, her work focuses on characterizing the relationships between stress, discrimination and perinatal outcomes in Hispanic women and immigrants.

Morgan Vaughn

Morgan Vaughn earned her B.S. in Biochemistry from Berry College. As an undergraduate, Morgan's research primarily focused on enzyme pathways involved in antibiotic production. Her doctoral research continues this focuses on understanding the role of protein motions in enzyme catalysis. Morgan was awarded the Laney Graduate School's Woodruff Fellowship for her outstanding academic achievements.

Aaron Wallace

Aaron  earned a B.A. in Biology from University of California, Berkeley.  He earned MPH/MBA degrees from Emory University and received the Gangarosa Award for Excellence in International Health. He then worked at the US Centers for Disease Control, leading studies evaluating global vaccine-preventable disease control strategies.   He is a PhD student in Epidemiology with continued interest in vaccine-preventable diseases.

Alynda Wood

Alynda earned her B.A. in Neuroscience from Hampshire College in Massachusetts.  Alynda is currently enrolled in Emory University’s Neuroscience Ph.D. program.  Her research focuses on the neural mechanisms of sensorimotor learning in songbirds.  She has co-authored publications in Learning & Memory and the Journal of Neuroscience, and received a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship. 

Georgia Institute of Technology Scholars
Osvaldo Broesicke

Osvaldo earned his B.S. and M.S. in Civil Engineering from the University of Texas, El Paso. He is now pursuing his Ph.D. in Environmental Engineering . Within his research group in the Brook Byers Institute for Sustainable Systems, Osvaldo works to understand the linkages and relationships between the nutrient-energy-water-transportation (NEWT) nexus, in order to make more resilient and sustainable cities.

Calvin Clark

Calvin earned his B.S. degree in Civil Engineering from Brigham Young University.  His Ph.D. research focus is on user preference of bicycle infrastructure, working to improve the information base that goes into policy and engineering decisions in planning of bicycle facilities. He is a recipient of the Presidential Fellowship from the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering.

John Connelly

John earned his B.S. in Applied Mathematics-Economics from Brown University. He began his post-graduate studies at the Georgia Institute of Technology in 2015 with a President’s Fellowship. His current research focuses on improving the theoretical framework for efficiently solving time-dependent integer programming problems.

Michaelanne Dye

Michaelanne earned her B.A. in Spanish from the University of Georgia and her M.A. in Cultural Anthropology from Georgia State. As a Ph.D. candidate in Human-Centered Computing  Her research bridges social computing and information communication technology and development (ICTD). Michaelanne’s research goal is to inform the responsible design of information-focused interventions that hold meaning and value for new adopters.

Matthew Fahrbach

Matthew earned his B.S. in Computer Science and Mathematics from the University of Kentucky. He is currently a Ph.D. student in Computer Science, and his research focuses on the design and analysis of Markov chain Monte Carlo algorithms for problems in statistical physics and machine learning.   He was awarded a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship.

Michael Griffin

Michael earned his B.S. in Bioengineering from the University of Pittsburgh. Now, he is in pursuit of his Ph.D. in Bioengineering and M.S. in Mechanical Engineering in the BioFluids and Medical Device Research Group. His thesis work is focused on the assessment of high shear platelet thrombosis, which leads to heart attacks and strokes.

Pravara Harati

Pravara received her B.S. in Industrial Engineering from Georgia Tech. Currently she is a Ph.D. student specializing in Statistics. Her research focuses on estimating local-level supply and need of healthcare services and exploring interventions to help areas with low access to care. She has co-authored papers in the American Journal of Public Health, Health Services Research, and Public Health Reports.

Anna Liu

Anna graduated with honors from the California Institute of Technology with a B.S. in Bioengineering. She completed a corporate internship with HCA and two Caltech SURFs, one in photoelectric semiconductors and the other in 3D-printed tissue engineering. Upon entering the Georgia Tech Bioengineering Ph.D. program, she was awarded an NSF IGERT. Her work, developing an enabling microfluidic platform for cancer immunotherapy, earned a grant from the Coulter Translational Partnership.

Connie Liu

Connie earned her B.S. in Aeronautical/Astronautical Engineering from the MIT.  She received her M.S. in Aerospace Engineering from the Georgia Tech and is currently a Ph.D. candidate investigating the physics of rapid ionization and recombination in plasmas. Connie is also a recipient of the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship.

Mark Mikhaeil

Mark is a graduate of The University of Texas at Austin with a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering. His Ph.D. research is on hydrodynamics, fluid instabilities, and turbulence in inertial confinement fusion applications. It has resulted in articles in three publications and an internship at Los Alamos National Laboratory.

Daniel Moreno

Daniel received his B.Eng. in Mechanical Engineering from Cooper Union. As an undergraduate,  During his M.S. degree, completed at Georgia Tech, Daniel developed and modeled a novel fuel cell design to reduce temperature variations and improve system performance. Daniel is currently a Ph.D. student in Mechanical Engineering performing experimental and computational research on ion transport in flow batteries for grid energy storage.

Jeffery Noble II

Jeff earned his B.S. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.  Ne is purshing his  Ph.D  in Bioengineering as a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow.  His research focuses on exploring the immunogenic applications of engineered virus-like particles.  His projects include designing anti-parasitic vaccinations.

Samantha Petti

Samantha earned her B.A. in Mathematics from Williams College in 2015. Later that year she began the Algorithms, Combinatorics, and Optimization Ph.D. program at Georgia Tech with a President’s Fellowship. Her research focuses on developing a model to approximate large networks efficiently.

Anna Skipper

Anna received her B.S. in Environmental Engineering from Georgia Tech with Highest Honors.  Her research  focuses on the biomechanics of zooplankton, with a particular focus on their sensory capabilities. The end goal of her research is to  develop bio-inspired sensory arrays capable of detecting very small changes in hydromechanical cues, with possible applications towards experimental work as well as robotics.


Yael Toporek

Yael earned her B.S. in Biology from Georgia Tech and received the President’s Undergraduate Research Award. Yael is a second-year PhD student working on biological remediation of contaminated soil and groundwater via the microbially-driven Fenton reaction, and has second-authored one paper on previous work involving bioremediation of radioactive iodine-contaminated soil.

Xenia Wirth

Xenia completed her B.S.  and M.S. degrees in Civil Engineering at Georgia Tech.  She worked at Ecole des Ponts Paris Tech in Paris, France deriving a Statistical Mechanics Adsorption Model as part of the Georgia Tech Gateway to France program. Xenia is currently working on the productive re-use and geologic disposal of coal and biomass fly ashes.

Morehouse College Scholars
Jeffrey Butler

Jeffrey Butler is a senior Applied Physics and Mechanical Engineering major. His research interest is in Applied Physics, more specifically in the use of Terahertz.  He is a thrower for the Morehouse College Track and Field Team and an executive board member for Sustainability for Students, SOS.

Khensu-Ra Love El

Khensu-Ra is a senior physics major at Morehouse College with a minor in mathematics. He is working on a project to develop mathematical models to determine the optimal combination of cancer treatments to minimize the size of tumors. After completing his undergraduate studies, Khensu-Ra plans to pursue a Ph.D. in applied physics.


Darryl Hill

Darryl Hill is a junior biology major. His research interests pertain to the underlying etiology of familial diseases, particularly prostate cancer. Darryl has spent the past two summers as a FYRE student at Vanderbilt University and a Summer Honors Undergraduate Research Program scholar at Harvard Medical School and the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute through the Leadership Alliance.

David Holden

David Holden is a junior Applied Physics major. His research interest are in civil engineering, nanolithography, and engineering design. Currently, his work is focused on developing optical termite prevention devices for government assisted communities.  David serves as a mentor in the Cultivating Moral Cosmopolitan Practitioners Program for minority students in STEM fields.  This past summer, David conducted research in autonomous robotic structures at the University of Michigan.

Roy McReynolds III

Roy is a Senior biology major, neuroscience minor. He is working on the development of a standard operating procedure for a 3D bioprinter to facilitate the printing of hydrogels and cartilage chondrocyte cells. After completing his undergraduate studies, Roy plans to pursue a Ph.D. in regenerative medicine.

Jared Mitchell

Jared is a senior physics major. Motivated by a summer experience at the University of Pennsylvania, he has decided to pursue a career in sustainability and environmental justice. Jared is exploring methods to improve efficiency in concentrated solar power and to harness hydrogen at the Carbon-Neutral Energy Solutions (CNES) Laboratory at Georgia Tech.


Logan Northcutt

Logan Northcutt is a senior chemistry major interested in biomedical engineering. This past summer at Cornell University, he studied the role of glucose in the production of glycosaminoglycan. Ultimately, this research will be utilized to create better meniscus replacements.  He is currently researching chondrocyte cell behavior in hydrogels under normal and hypoxic conditions.

Darian Nwankwo

Darian is a sunior computer science and mathematics double major. He is currently doing research in the area of mathematical biology to improve the distribution method in which several drugs collaborate to attack cancer cells. After completing his undergraduate studies, Darian plans to pursue a Ph.D. in applied mathematics.


Nicholas Porter

Nicholas Porter is a junior Dual-Degree Engineering major. He has done research at Morehouse College for two years concentrating in Computer Science research. His research interests include applied physics and computer science.  As a member of the Morehouse robotics team, he is deeply engaged in the study of robotics.

Keith Strozier

Keith is a senior dual degree engineering and applied physics major. He is researching ways to extract cellulose from different grasses for the production of biofuels.  In the future, Keith plans to pursue a Ph.D. in chemistry and to become an innovative chemical engineer.


University of Georgia Scholars
Erin Baker

Erin graduated with a B.A. in Biology for St. Petersburg College in Florida. She was awarded the Excellence in Biological Research Award for her undergraduate research in mitotic arerest in sea urchin oocytes.  As a Ph.D. student in Genetics, Erin was a 2016-17 NIH training grant recipient.  Her thesis research explores the molecular mechanisms underlying the fetal to adult transition in thymic epithelial cells.

Kate Birdwhistell

Kate obtained her B.S. in Chemistry from Loyola University, New Orleans.  As an undergraduate, she was awarded the ACS Award for Outstanding Student in Organic Chemistry.  She is currently in a dual DVM-Ph.D. progam.  She has authored articles in the Journal of Knee Surgery and co-authored publications in the American Journal of Sports Medicine and Froniers in Veterinary Science.

Chris Cleveland

Chris earned his B.S. in Biology from the University of North Carolina at Asheville. He went on to complete his M.S. in Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences at the University of Georgia. Upon completion of his M.S. in 2015, Chris began managing a project investigating the role of paratenic hosts in Dracunculus medinensis, the Guinea Worm. Working with The Carter Center, Chris is now pursuing his Ph.D. in Wildlife Ecology, focusing on the Guinea worm, paratenic hosts, and eradication efforts in Africa.

David Cobb

David earned his B.S. in Biochemistry and Molecualr Biology from Mercer University.  He is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Cellular Bioloby.  His work is focused on the malaria parasite as it replicates inside of human red blood cells.  He works as a Teaching Assistant to help undergraduates learn biology.

Grace Cushman

Grace earned her B.S. in Psychology from Washington and Lee Unversity.  She then worked at Brown University and Bradley Hospital where she studied biological and behavioral markers of pediatric psychiatric illnesses.  She is pursuing her doctoral degree in the Psychology department and her work is focused on improving short and long-term disease-related outcomes in pediatric patients with a chronic medical illness.

Sarah Elliott

Sarah earned a Chemistry B.S. and a Physics B.A. from Bethel University.  She is a Ph.D. candidate in Chemistry with a Graduate School Assistantship and Coulson Fellowship.  Her research explores atmospheric and combustion systems and is published in the Royal Society of Chemisttry Advances and American Chemical Society Photonics.

Marcus Goudie

Marcus received his B.S. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Michigan, and received his M.S. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Pennsylvania. His current work focuses on developing new biomaterials to prevent infection and clotting caused from medical devices, focusing his attention on artificial organs for long term patient support.

Stephanie Halmo

Stephanie earned her B.S. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from UGA.  She then taught science in rural South Carolina with Teach for America.  She is a Ph.D. candidate in the Biochemistry and Molecular Biology department.  She has found a way to combine her passion for science and education by pursuing both glycobiology and discipline-based education research.

Stephanie Herrlinger

Stephanie received her B.S. in Molecular Genetics from the University of Rochester. In her first few years of her Ph.D. in Interdisciplinary Neuroscience, she has contributed to four publications, all of which have focused on the study of brain development and causes of Microcephaly, including the Zika Virus. Stephanie has an intense passion for understanding the brain and its diseases.

Danielle Lambert

Danielle earned her B.S. in Psychology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She went on to receive her M.P.H from Emory University Rollins School of Public Health. After completing her degree, Danielle continued working at Emory as a research coordinator on several faith-based HIV prevention interventions. She is currently a Ph.D. student in Health Promotion and Behavior, assessing HIV/STI prevalence and substance use among juvenile justice involved adolescent couples.

Meghan Logun

Meghan earned her B.S. in Biology with a minor in Anthropology from Emory University.  She recieved a M.S. from UGA where she became interested in the role of brain extracellular matrix in glioma invasion.  Meghan's current research focueses on biomaterials for clinically relevant models of glioblasoma multiforme and diagnostic device development.

Ashley Rasys

Ashley attended the University of Massachusetts and later tranferred to UGA.  While still an undergraduate, she was accepted into the College of Veterinary Medicine where she then joined the DVM/PhD program.  Since joining the Department of Cellular Biology, she has pursed work on eye and fovea development in the Anolis sagrei—a new lizard model system for developmental studies.

Cecilia Sanchez

Cecilia earned a B.S. in Ecology & Evolutionary Biology at Yale University, then spent a year working at the Australian Animal Health Laboratory in Victoria, Australia. She is now a Ph.D. candidate at the Odum School of Ecology,  studying the impacts of urban development on Australian bat nutrition, health, and infectious disease. She founded Women in Science (WiSci) at UGA and was the group’s president for two years.