Welcome New 2023 Biology and Society Graduate Students!

The Center for Biology and Society is delighted to welcome a new group of graduate students to the 2023 academic year. Read about their research interests, backgrounds, hobbies, and much more!

PhD Students

Daniel Affsprung

I am a first-year PhD student studying the History and Philosophy of Science. I finally made my way here after starting as an undergraduate student of English Literature and eventually finding STS through my master's work at Dartmouth College in Cultural Studies. I am interested in social and historical explanations of the automation of human actions, not only how these have become possible but why they are desired. I work with Dr. Benjamin Hurlbut on these questions, and on others as a graduate fellow of the Beyond Secularization project in the Center for the Study of Religion and Conflict.

Nicole Brewer

I am a first year PhD student in the History and Philosophy of Science program. I’m working with Dr. Manfred Laubichler to study the science of science from a complex systems perspective. Specifically, I’d like to better understand the developmental lifecycle of scientific standards as they appear and evolve in the academic literature. I’m interested in exploring related hypotheses through natural language processing, network analysis, high-performance computing, and mixed methods from social science.

I have a B.S. in Mathematics with Computer Science from Purdue University. Upon graduating, I joined research computing as a research software engineer. I facilitated domain scientists developing software applications as research outputs to ensure that their work was accessible and reproducible. As such, I’m interested in exploring how narratives around reproducibility motivate the development of computational standards of practice.

baylee edwards

Baylee Edwards

I am a first year Ph.D. student in the Biology and Society - Biology Education Research program. I earned my bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Biology and Society from ASU in spring 2021 and spring 2022, respectively. Now, as a Ph.D. student, I am continuing to work with Dr. Sara Brownell to explore how students and instructors perceive the relationship between religion and science and the impact that those perceptions have on students’ experiences in biology courses. In addition to my research, I work as a curriculum developer for ASU’s introductory biology courses, and I co-instruct a small-enrollment course called The Embryo Project Writing Seminar. Throughout the rest of my time at ASU, I hope to continue working alongside instructors, education researchers, and curriculum developers to create more inclusive college biology courses that prioritize and support students’ learning.

Livia Cruz

I'm a Fulbright-CAPES fellow and an international first year PhD student from Brazil. I have a bachelor in Biology and a master in Ecology. For the last couple of years, I've been studying local perceptions on climate change, gender equality, and community-based conservation initiatives in the Brazilian western Amazonia. During my PhD, I am interested in studying community management arrangements for Amazonian species of ecological, cultural and economic relevance.

Nolina Doud

I am a PhD student in the History and Philosophy of Science program. I did my undergraduate studies at Soka University of America, a small liberal arts school in Southern California, before moving to the Netherlands to acquire my MSc in philosophy of science, technology, and society at University of Twente. At ASU, my research explores experiences with wildlife, with particular eye to frequency and medium, and how this relates to emotions, attitudes, and pro-conservation motivations. I am especially interested in how the next generation of conservationists “gets their juice” — what kinds of experiences motivate people to study and work in conservation? This interdisciplinary interest has inspired an interdisciplinary advisory committee with co-advisors Dr. Sharon Hall and Dr. Matthew Chew and committee member Dr. Sara Brownell. I have comparably eclectic hobbies including making art, gardening, cooking, and moth husbandry. 

teal guetschow

Teal Guetschow

I am a first year PhD student in the Biology and Society 4E program. I earned my bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Conservation Biology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Prior to coming to ASU, I worked for an environmental consulting company on a USAID project aiming to improve biodiversity conservation while also achieving development outcomes through the use of innovative and adaptive approaches.

I am working with Dr. Ann Kinzig and Dr. Jesse Senko to explore the intersection of conservation and development. Specifically, I am interested in the conservation of the leatherback sea turtle through the lens of individual species conservation at nesting beaches and bycatch reduction within fisheries management, informed by strong social components to ensure long-term effective solutions that sustain or enhance traditional livelihoods, food and nutritional security, and ecological outcomes.

Like most others in this program, I am an outdoor fanatic, but also a mid-century furniture restoration enthusiast!

Josh Hoskinson

Josh Hoskinson is a first-year PhD student in the Biology and Society program working with Beckett Sterner. He is broadly interested in how worldviews, belief systems, and knowledge systems affect science education in formal and non-formal education spaces. For his intended doctoral dissertation, he is interested in the experience of religious students in evolutionary biology courses through investigating relationships between the cognitive and affective aspects of evolution learning and acceptance. He is also interested in best practices on teaching the evolution of biological complexity, complex systems, and macroevolutionary processes. He comes to Arizona State University with an MA in Teaching and Teacher Education (Science Education) and an MS in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, both from the University of Arizona.

Tasneem Mohammed

Tasneem is a first-generation and transfer student born in Phoenix Arizona, originally from Palestine. She received her Bachelor's degree and Master's degree in Biological Sciences through ASU’s accelerated 4+1 program. Tasneem is a recipient of the NSF GRFP as well as the Graduate College Fellowship. She is continuing her studies in the Cooper Biology Education Research lab as part of ASU’s Biology and Society Ph.D. program. Tasneem will continue studying the relationship between mental health and science students' cultural backgrounds. Namely, she hopes to illuminate how science students navigate personal cultures that differ from the culture of academic science and the impact that can have on undergraduate and graduate mental health. She plans to leverage her research findings to create accessible resources and services for students who are underrepresented and underserved in science. After graduate school, she plans to pursue a career as a tenure-track discipline-based education research faculty member with the intent to create more inclusive education spaces for all students. During her free time, Tasneem enjoys spending time with her family and traveling.  

Jynx Pigart-Coleman

I am a first year PhD student in the Biology Education research track of the Biology and Society program. I graduated from ECU with my B.S. in Biology and Psychology with a concentration in Molecular Biology. I combined my personal hobby of videogames and my research interest of mental health to produce an undergraduate thesis with Dr. Matthew C Whited on the potential benefits of social support in cooperative multiplayer videogames on college student mental health during COVID-19. Currently, I am working with Dr. Katey Cooper in preparing a qualitative study on anxiety for publication, and expanding my own NSF-GRFP accepted research proposal for a longitudinal study that examines depression over time in graduate students.

Becca Tiernan

I am a first-year PhD student in the Biology and Society 4E program. Before coming to ASU, I worked at citizen science non-profit that connected conservation researchers with public volunteers, including programs dedicated to experiential research opportunities for high school students. I then spent several years working at the American Academy of Arts & Sciences as a member of the Science, Engineering, and Technology team where I spent the majority of my time supporting a project on international scientific collaboration, including the challenges and the opportunities that such collaboration presents.

I have a B.S. in Natural Resources Conservation from UMass Amherst and in August 2022 I graduated from ASU’s School for the Future Innovation of Society with my Master’s in Science and Technology Policy. During my MSTP degree, I conducted research on the perspectives and ongoing discourse surrounding the international governance of biodiversity data.

In my PhD, I will be working with Dr. Jim Collins and Dr. Nancy Grimm and exploring how trends such as urbanization and globalization impact composition and integrity of ecosystems and their resident communities. My ultimate goal will be to develop better strategies and approaches for adapting to global change (i.e., climate change) in ways that promote health of human and non-human populations alike.