Engineering Summer Intern and Research Assistant- Kuipers and Associates 2008-2010
•Sampled contaminated residential soils in the Anaconda Deer Lodge Superfund Site.
•Prepared a Superfund site database on residential soil contamination levels and remediation activity.
•Involved in the development of a new sampling and remediation method that satisfied permissible level of contaminants.
•Developed and organized a research repository for superfund documents.
•Performed well water sampling in the impacted Remedial Design Unit 15 including heavy metals, coliform, and nitrate testing.
Undergraduate Researcher- Creighton University 2009-2010
•Independent research under the guidance of James E. Platz Ph.D. on the chemical compound Atrazine, an herbicide, linked to breast and prostate cancer as well as a cause of the unusual finding of widespread frog hermaphroditism in the mid-western states.
•Determined the compound’s presence in water and soil core samples from western Nebraska using an ELISA assay.
Terristrial Ecology Teaching Assistant-Creighton University 2009-2010
Teaching assistant to the introduction to the interactions of organisms and the environment, especially the biology of populations, communities, and ecosystems. My role was to prepare each laboratory session and provide an extra teaching resource for students in the classroom and during the laboratory portions of the course. I was in charge of external thermal data collections and analysis to provide data to students.
Clark Fork Watershed and Education Program Volunteer Student Research and Teacher- Summer 2008
•Selected to collect water quality data in both a contaminated section and a reclaimed section of Silver Bow Creek in Butte, Montana.
•Involved in fish shocking and species identification on several sites.
•Collected species recovery data using a quality biotic index with macro-invertebrates.
•Taught junior high and high school students how to perform proper techniques for water quality testing. We collected stream samples for conductivity, dissolved oxygen content, pH, stream flow, and presence of heavy metals such as copper and nitrates. The aim of the program was to introduce young students to science and environmental stewardship.
Bacterial biofilms are surface-adhered communities of bacteria associated with clinical infections. Pseudomonas aeruginosa is a model organism for biofilm formation because of its ubiquity in the environment, robust metabolism, and amenability for laboratory work. Understanding how P. aeruginosa colonizes different surfaces is essential because of its pervasiveness in the environment and growth on a variety of surfaces such as soil, water, medical plastics, metals, and industrial pipes. While it is known that P. aeruginosa utilizes both its flagellum and type IV pili (TFP) to form biofilms, little is known about how actual biofilm assembly occurs after the first few cells attach to surfaces. Such knowledge would be applicable to both promote “good” and prevent “harmful” biofilm growth. My research focuses on how motility impacts biofilm formation of P. aeruginosa and the conditions required for bacterial walking. Understanding why P. aeruginosa forms a biofilm and how bacterial motility controls surface colonization can be used in aspects in the commercial, medical, and environmental fields. Currently I am looking at the effects of calcium on TFP motility and biofilm formation.