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FAU Graduate Students Making Waves

Ramon Garcia Areas, Ph.D. Candidate, Integrative Biology

International student, Ramon Garcia-Areas, is one of the top student researchers at FAU. Ramon began his journey with the University as an undergraduate, earning a degree in biology. He’s now a Ph.D. student in the Integrative Biology program, performing breast cancer research. Ramon’s research focuses on understanding new genes that have not yet been studied. Ramon and his advisor, Dr. Vijaya Iragavarapu-Charyulu, established the first partnership with the Lynn Cancer Center at Boca Raton Regional Hospital.

Ramon is also a student leader – not only is he a college representative for the Graduate and Professional Student Association (GPSA), but he was vital in instituting valuable programs such as the Graduate Research and Inquiry Program (GRIP) Grant.

As a student researcher, Ramon saw first-hand the lack of funding for graduate student research. Together with fellow graduate student, and former Director of the GPSA, Aloha Balza, they submitted a proposal for the creation of GRIP to Graduate College Dean, Dr. Deborah Floyd, who advocated for the development of the program. GRIP allows graduate students to apply for funds for scholarly research projects. And according to Ramon, “is a way for FAU to invest in FAU.”

Chad Coarsey, Graduate Student, Bioengineering

Steven McPhee

Graduate students Charles Weinthal and Chad Coarsey were featured in the Sun Sentinel after developing a prosthetic hand for Chad with a 3-D printer at substantial cost savings compared to professional prosthetic hands. Both Charles and Chad presented the 3-D printed hand in a class on bioengineering, with the project title being, "Let's Give Chad a Hand."

Chad also recently won an award for his research at Graduate and Professional Research Day and was the recipient of a GRIP Grant this spring for his research project titled, "Development of Automated Microfluid Platforms for Ebolavirus Detection at Point-of-Care Settings." 


Steven McPhee, Graduate Student, Department of Anthropology

Steven McPheeSteven McPhee is currently a graduate student in the Department of Anthropology working in FAU’s Primate Molecular and Behavioral Ecology Lab. His research focuses on the lesula monkey, a newly discovered species in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and the effect that unregulated bushmeat hunting is having on its populations.

Time in forest yields valuable research on cryptic primate species

For Steven McPhee, an FAU graduate student who has traveled to 26 countries across six continents in recent years, his three-month stay in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) last year would prove to be an experience unlike any he has ever known. [Read More]

Gisla Bush, Master of Urban and Regional Planning Candidate

Gisla BushAt 19, Gisla Bush is currently the youngest student in the Master of Urban and Regional Planning program at FAU. Gisla aims to give back to the community by being an advocate for change in underprivileged neighborhoods and communities, ultimately working towards becoming the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development at the federal level.

In addition to being a full time student, Gisla works as a Planning and Zoning assistant for the City of Pompano Beach. In conjunction, she serves as Chief of Staff of the Florida Atlantic Planning Society, and remains an active member of her community by tutoring high school students. Upon completion of her master’s, Gisla plans to obtain a Juris Doctor degree.

Jessica Klassen, Ph.D. Candidate, Biological Sciences

Jessica KlassenJessica Klassen, a Ph.D. candidate who works in the Avian Ecology Laboratory, does research focusing on conditions that influence the type of prey consumed by wading birds. Her research provides a missing link in Everglades restoration planning by distinguishing between available aquatic prey, and those more likely to support a breeding colony. [Read More]

Melannie Pineda and Jillian Hardin, Ph.D. Candidates, Experimental Psychology

Melannie Pineda and Jillian HardinMelannie Pineda and Jillian Hardin, both Ph.D. students in Nancy Jones’ WAVES Emotion Lab, never imagined that their research in experimental psychology would include blowing bubbles and making silly faces at babies.  But, as researchers in the WAVES Emotion Lab, their job is to understand the factors that contribute to the development of socio-emotional wellness during infancy and childhood. They are helping Dr. Jones investigate the physiological and behavioral underpinnings of affective development. [Read More]

Shelly Greif, Ph.D. Candidate, Nursing

Shelly GreifShelley Greif is a PhD candidate in the Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing and a pediatric nurse working with children who have had traumatic brain injury (TBI) and their families. Her research focuses on understanding the challenges faced by parents caring for their children after TBI. The results of this study will help nurses understand families’ experiences in managing the care and community reintegration of their children and support family management of their children’s care.

Danilo Freitas, Master of Accounting Candidate

Danilo FreitasDanilo Freitas, Accounting Scholars Program student and Master of Accounting (MAC) candidate, passed the CPA exam. Also, as part of the Financial Analyst Program, he and his team members placed second in the state of Florida in the CFA competition. Danilo has accepted a forensic accounting position with PricewaterhouseCoopers here in Florida.  


 Last Modified 8/21/15