Welcome New 2023 Biology and Society Graduate Students

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

PhD Students

Photo of Eboni Andersun

Eboni Andersun

I am an incoming PhD student in the Biology and Society program on the history and philosophy of science track. In May 2023, I earned a BS from ASU in Biology and Society, along with a minor in Anthropology and certificate in Evolutionary Medicine. Currently I am working with Jane Maienschein and I am interested in investigating sexually transmitted diseases, including the sociocultural elements of those diseases and the evolutionary mechanisms that sustain disease transmission, along with health disparities among black women. I am excited to delve into the intersection of the biology of sexually transmitted diseases and their history, stigma, and social impact. Once I earn my doctorate I hope to work for the CDC or a non-profit to destigmatize and bring awareness to the impact of STDs as well as initiate public health interventions. In my free time I enjoy reading thrillers, attending fitness classes, and exploring Phoenix's local attractions.

Photo of Jonathan Kim

Jonathan Kim

I am a first year PhD student in Biology and Society program studying neuroscience and neuroethics. I first studied the foundations of neuroscience and psychology in my undergraduate program at the University of Cincinnati. I went on to study genetics and epidemiology at the University of Michigan School of Public Health while the COVID pandemic occurred.

I work under Dr. Krystal Tsosie and have been working for her at my previous job. Before coming to ASU, I worked at the Native BioData Consortium on the Cheyenne River Indian Reservation in South Dakota where my work focused around genomics and indigenous data sovereignty. I hope to continue my interests in the intersection of neuroscience, neuroethics, and indigenous data sovereignty.

Photo of Deanna Larson

Deanna Larson

I am a PhD student getting my degree in Biology. I am currently an instructor for ASU and wanted to further my interests in Biology Education. My background is in medicine by way of prosthetics and orthotics for the pediatric population and athletes. I studied at Northwestern’s Feinberg School of Medicine where I knew early on I loved to teach. I am a mom of two gorgeous kiddos and love to hear them laugh. In my spare time (when I have any) I can be found creating something in my garage.

Photo of Cole Nichols

Cole Nichols

I am a first-year PhD student in the History and Philosophy of Science here at the Center for Biology and Society. I am broadly interested in critical perspectives in the history of reproductive medicine. I have come into the program straight off my undergraduate degree (also from the School of Life Sciences at ASU). As an undergraduate, I worked with the Embryo Project under Dr. Jane Maienschein as an editor for our online encyclopedia, and plan to continue serving as an editor and writer for EP as part of my graduate studies. I look forward to learning with everyone here at the Center.

Photo of Alice Sansonetti

Alice Sansonetti

I am a first-year PhD student in the Biology and Society 4E program. I completed my Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Biology from ASU in Spring 2021 and 2023 respectively. My career and research goals are based on ecology and ecosystem conservation, especially ecosystem and inter-species interactions. I hope to explore opportunities for transdisciplinary research and the socio-economic facets of conservation.

I am co-advised under the Conservation Innovation Lab and the Cadillo Lab working on carbon sequestration studies in tropical peatlands as it relates to climate change, biodiversity conservation, and opportunities for community-based conservation.

Masters Student

Photo of Ilani Higgins

Ilani Higgins

Hello, my name is Ilani Higgins! I am a first-year master’s student here at ASU. This is technically my fifth year here as I have also completed my bachelors here as well. While being here at ASU I have not only learned more about biology but I have also been afforded the opportunity to explore my passions in healthcare. As a masters student, I am working under the guidance of Dr. Rachel Gur-Arie of the Edson College of Nursing and Health Innovation and Dr. Karin Ellison of the School of Life Sciences on a research project to better understand what attitudes, behaviors, and beliefs ASU nursing students have towards birth control interventions, and how their personal experiences and education influence those perceptions. Outside of school, you can catch me reading or watching old episodes of Private Practice in my spare time. I also enjoy going to dog parks with my dog Bella who is a fluffy 12-year-old ball of sunshine!