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Welcome New Biology and Society Graduate Students!

The Center for Biology and Society is excited to start off the 2018 academic year with a new group of graduate students. From conservation to health policy and disease—read more about their research interests and backgrounds.

Anna graduated from ASU in 2017 with a degree in microbiology, an enthusiasm for philosophy, and a great love of drawing; she found a place where she could explore it all at the Center for Biology and Society. Entering into her second year, Anna studies the history and philosophy of microbial biofilms by analyzing the ways scientists depict them, be it with conceptual illustrations or laser scanning confocal micrographs. Anna has taught microbiology lab and scientific illustration for the Embryo Project Encyclopedia, an online reproductive health and sciences encyclopedia for which she is currently a managing editor. After earning her PhD, she hopes to become a farmer or a professional race car driver, whichever comes first.
Jada is a MSc candidate in Biology (Biology and Society) at Arizona State University. Jada is not new to ASU — she received her Bachelor of Science in Biology (Neurobiology, Physiology, and Behavior) at ASU, and now she is in the 4+1 Accelerated Master’sprogram. As a pre-med and master's student, Jada is interested in how medicine and disease processes help shape the human society. Jada worked as an intern for World Health Organization’s Special Programme for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases (TDR), which has furthered her interests in tropical diseases and medicine. She plans to do further investigations on the societal interaction with Zika virus, specifically through established protocols regarding epidemics through local and national agencies. Outside of ASU, Jada have successfully completed a vehicular internship with Phoenix Fire Department, and now she is working as a paramedic. 

Katie Surrey is a first year PhD student in Bio and Society working in Professor Leah Gerber's lab in SOLS. She is from Boston, MA and recently made 3-day cross country road trip with her rescue dog Casey, to relocate to AZ. She graduated in 2014 from Connecticut College with a B.A in Environmental Science and up until recently was working as the Adoption Supervisor at the Animal Rescue League of Boston, an animal shelter in downtown Boston. She is an avid hiker, runner, animal-nature lover, reader, traveler, movie-watcher and is a certified scuba diver. Her aim is to study the intersection between Animal Behavior and Conservation, with the goal of creating effective, mutually beneficial policies that help manage human-wildlife conflict. 

Erin received her Bachelors degree in Integrative Biology and her Masters degree in Geology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She comes to ASU from Washington D.C. where she was working as an ORISE fellow at the Environmental Protection Agency. As a member of the Ocean and Coastal Management Branch her work focused on coral reef protection as well as vessel, marina and port-related pollution. She is interested in continuing to study how local and global stressors influence marine ecosystems and the communities that depend on them.

Dina is originally from Kazan, Russia. She received her Bachelor's of Sciences in Health Sciences from ASU in May 2018. Dina first got involved with the Embryo Project Encyclopedia in 2016 and is now very excited to be its new Managing Editor. Dina is very interested in global health and health policy. She hopes to study the comparison of health information that is readily available throughout the world and evidence-based health information.


Rainey Horwitz is continuing her Biology and Society education at ASU through the Masters program. Rainey began working with Dr. Maienschein and the Embryo Project in Spring semester of 2016. This semester will be Rainey's sixth as an Embryo Project writer and second as an editor. Her research surrounds the history of women's reproductive healthcare in the US. Specifically, she has investigated the prevalence of non-medically trained people throughout history that were very active in women's health prior to the emergence of modern, regulated, and what some would consider more legitimate reproductive healthcare. As a graduate student, she plans to grow her undergraduate project and further examine the origins of some of the stigma and negative social views associated with women's reproduction, menopause, menstruation, and sexuality in the U.S. When she is not writing articles and growing her project, she enjoys working her two service industry jobs, as well as  working with a character performance company as a singing Disney Princess for birthday parties!

Liz Dietz graduated from Williams College in 2015, where she was pre-med and earned a degree in comparative literature. She realized that critiquing the practice of medicine would be far more fun than studying it outright, and spent the intervening years working at The Hastings Center, a bioethics research institute in upstate New York. At ASU, she will study ethical issues in healthcare access through queer and feminist lenses, with additional research into foods of the American Southwest. 

Levi grew up on a small farm in rural Virginia where he cultivated a passion and interest in the natural world. Before coming to ASU, Levi studied Environmental Science and Anthropology at the University of Virginia. Levi is in the 4E track in Biology and Society, where he studies the interaction between people and the environment.

Alejandro Bellon is joining the Ecology, Economics and Ethics of the Environment PhD tract after having studied biology and economics for his bachelors.  He is interested in researching how incentives and information affect human interactions with and attitude towards wildlife.  He has some experience trying to understand interactions between economically marginalized human communities and nearby wildlife, specifically in southern Mexico, and looks forward to deepening his understanding of related subjects through the resources, opportunities and people of U.

After many years of working as a visual artist, Linda returned to college to study plant conservation and public policy. After graduation she worked as assistant to the Mayor of Phoenix and as support staff in other city departments before returning to ASU to pursue her PhD. Her current area of research is on the application of conservation and environmental research in the policy-making process. She is married with cats and spends most of her free time gardening and trying to train the cats to do housework.

Sanghamitra's work lies at the intersection between History of Science and Science and Technology Studies. She has a deep interest in culture, and her research asks questions about how different cultures across the world act and react in relation to Science and Technology, particularly in the global south. She has a passion for travelling, and is especially interested in experiencing local and indigenous cultures and cuisines. She loves writing fiction, and hopes to publish her book someday.