Mikus Abolins-Abols, PhD ’17 Evolution, Ecology, and Behavior, and Natalie Christian, PhD ’17 Evolution, Ecology, and Behavior, were married in September of last year. Abolins-Abols, who was a member of Distinguished Professor Ellen Ketterson’s lab, is now a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in the Department of Animal Biology, where he works with Professor Mark Hauber. Christian was a member of Distinguished Professor Keith Clay’s lab. She, too, is a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, working with Associate Professor Katy Heath from the Department of Plant Biology. Christian received a USDA NIFA Postdoctoral Fellowship, for which she is co-advised by Assistant Professor Posy Busby at Oregon State University.
Jennifer Burnett-Zieman, BS ’02 Biology, BA ’02 Economics, LAMP ’02, moved to Malawi this spring to take on the role of chief of party for the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID)-funded VectorLink Project, which focuses on malaria prevention. Prior to this promotion, she headed the monitoring and evaluations division for Abt Associates’ SPOPS Plus Project, the flagship private-sector health initiative of USAID. This project is a five-year, $150 million initiative that strives to improve health outcomes on a global scale by strategically engaging the private sector to increase access to priority health products and services. Read more about the SHOPS Plus Project at: https://www.shopsplusproject.org/. The College of Arts and Sciences recognized Burnett-Zieman’s work with the Outstanding Young Alumni Award presented at its 2018 alumni awards dinner held in February. Throughout her career in public health, she has supported disease eradication, malaria prevention, health-system strengthening, and private-sector focused projects. Read more about Burnett-Zieman in the spring 2018 issue of The College Magazine (https://magazine.college.indiana.edu/20-under-40/20-under-40-2018.html) where she was named a member of IU Bloomington College of Arts and Sciences’ inaugural 20 Under 40 class.
Baindu L. Bayon, BS ’03 Biology, PhD ’17, was also named a member of IU Bloomington College of Arts and Sciences’ inaugural 20 Under 40 class. She recently received a doctoral degree from the IU School of Medicine with a focus on the neurogenetics of Alzheimer’s disease and regulation of beta-secretase. She’s earned a myriad of awards throughout her already distinguished career, including IUPUI’s William M. Plater Civic Engagement Medallion and being named to the Indianapolis Business Journal’s Forty Under 40 list. Bayon serves on the board of directors for Adult & Child Health and has served as a mentor with the Hoosier Health Academy, College Prep Academy, and the National Organization for the Professional Advancement of Black Chemists and Chemical Engineers. She lives in Indianapolis.
Allyson E. Claybourn, BS ’05 Biology, is associate general counsel with Berry Global, Inc., a Fortune 500 global manufacturer and marketer of plastic packaging products, headquartered in Evansville, Ind. In her role, she manages domestic and international products liability, personal injury, and commercial disputes; ensures compliance with various domestic and international regulations and corporate policies; negotiates contracts; and identifies opportunities to reduce costs and improve outcomes. In 2015, Claybourn was elected chair-elect of the Young Lawyers Section of the Indiana State Bar Association. She lives in Newburgh, Ind.
Idelle A. Cooper, PhD ’08 Evolution, Ecology, and Behavior, returned to IU Biology in March 2018, to give a talk, “Causes and consequences of sexual dimorphism in damselflies," through the department’s Evolution, Ecology, and Behavior Seminar Series. She is an assistant professor of biology at James Madison University. Before joining the JMU faculty in 2013, Cooper was an NSF-BEACON postdoctoral fellow at Michigan State University’s Kellogg Biological Station, working in the lab of Professor Tom Getty. Prior to that, she was a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Wisconsin-Madison (2008-2010), working with Assistant Professor of Zoology Janette Boughman. Cooper resides in Harrisonburg, VA.
In a July 2017 episode of WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment) Monday Night RAW, a former Indiana University wrestling star was thrust into a major on-screen role thanks to WWE Hall of Famer and Olympic gold medalist Kurt Angle. The show’s on-air general manager, Angle had, for weeks, been teasing a big reveal that he would make during the show. When the time came, he introduced the world to his secret son and out trotted WWE superstar Jason Jordan. The bizarre announcement was also a big hit on social media as Jason Jordan’s name quickly became a trending topic on Twitter. For Jordan, a Tinley Park, Ill., native whose real name is Nathan A. Everhart, BS ’11 Biology, being brought into the fictitious storyline is a big opportunity at solo success within the WWE. After wrestling at IU for four years, including a senior season that saw him go 35-0 in the regular season and become the No. 2 collegiate wrestler in the country, Jordan joined the WWE in 2011. He currently lives in Windermere, Fla.
In February, Pauley T. Gasparis, BA '07 Chemistry, BS ’07 Biology, MD ’12, received the American Medical Women’s Association’s Susan L. Ivey, M.D. Courage to Lead Award. The award acknowledges Ivey’s dedication to the welfare and success of women physicians in training. Gasparis received the award for her exceptional leadership skills and coordination of projects that further the mission of AMWA. She is an Indianapolis radiologist and faculty co-adviser for the AMWA pre-med branch at IUPUI.
Nicole M. Gerlach, PhD ’10 EEB, worked at IU as a postdoctoral research associate and lab manager for two years after earning her PhD. She has been a lecturer at the University of Florida in Gainesville since 2013. Gerlach teaches a variety of classes there—including Integrated Principles of Biology I and II, Evolution, Vertebrate Biodiversity, and Introduction to Animal Behavior, as well as an online introductory biology course for non-majors. She was the recipient of the University of Florida’s Online Education Excellence Award, Undergrad High Enrollment in 2014. Gerlach also received UF’s College of Liberal Arts & Sciences 2016-2017 Teacher of the Year Award. She has a long-time interest in teaching going back to her days at IU, where she was the 2010 recipient of the Department of Biology’s Outstanding Associate Instructor in Biology Teaching Award.
Jacob R. Hopkins, BS ’16 Microbiology, received the IU Department of Biology’s Outstanding Honors Thesis Award for research conducted in Professor James Bever’s lab before he graduated. He published an article, “MycoDB, a global database of plant response to mycorrhizal fungi,” in a 2016 issue of the Journal of Scientific Data. Jacob is a PhD candidate in the Department of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology at the University of Kansas, working with Assistant Professor Benjamin A. Sikes. His research interests include population biology, restoration ecology, mycology, fire regimes, and plant-soil feedbacks. Jacob is the recipient of a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowships Program grant.
In November, Hall, Render, Killian, Heath & Lyman, the largest health care-focused law firm in the nation, announced that attorney Abigail L. Kaericher, BA ’10 Biology, had joined the firm’s Washington, D.C. office. She practices in the area of healthcare law with a focus on government relations and antitrust. She is active in the firm’s lobbying activities, representing the interests of healthcare clients. In addition to her bachelor’s degree from IU, she received a master’s degree from Purdue University School of Science in 2012 and a JD from St. Louis University School of Law in 2017. Kaericher is admitted to practice in Indiana and is under supervision of John Williams, a member of the D.C. Bar. She is a member of the American Health Lawyers Association and Indiana State Bar Association.
Verena Lucke, BA '17 Theatre, BS '17 Biology, with a focus on stage management and a certificate in underwater resource management. She received a Sears Crowell Scholarship that enabled her to attend the Underwater Science field school in the Dominican Republic last year, where she dived on shipwreck sites to further study their biological makeup and community interactions. Lucke is an early career scientist currently working on fisheries research in the Great Lakes with the University of Vermont. She opted not to start graduate school directly following her undergraduate education; instead, Lucke will use her time away from academics to pursue internships, apprenticeships, and jobs in both of her fields of study. After this gap year, she plans to earn a Ph.D. in marine biology or biological oceanography. Lucke’s goal is to run a research laboratory of her own, combining her passion for research with her love of marine sciences while keeping the performing arts an active part of her life.
“I got married in Bloomington last year,” writes Cameron G. Norman, BS ’10 Biology, OD ’14, of Flora, Ind. He adds, “The ceremony was in Beck Chapel and the reception in the Tudor Room. My Purdue grad wife wanted to get married in beautiful Bloomington!” Norman is an optometrist in the Frankfort and Delphi, Ind., offices of Norman and Miller Eyecare.
Evelyn C. Rynkiewicz, PhD ‘13 Evolution, Ecology, and Behavior, after receiving her doctorate in Ecology, earned an NSF Postdoctoral Research Fellowship at the University of Edinburgh. In 2015 she accepted a position as a postdoctoral research scientist at Columbia University. Rynkiewicz was offered a temporary full-time faculty position with the Department of Science and Math at the State University of New York’s Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) in 2017. She accepted FIT’s offer, welcoming the opportunity to get back into the classroom and to build science literacy and interest in non-science major students. In May of 2018, Rynkiewicz accepted a tenure track position there as an Assistant Professor of Ecology. She says, “I will continue to teach, mentor, and do research in this unconventional setting!” Rynkiewicz lives in New York with her husband, IU alumnus Brian Page (PhD ’13), and their toddler, Bruce.
Ren-Jay Shei, BS ’11 Biology and Kinesiology, MS ’13, PhD ’16, is a postdoctoral scholar with joint appointments in the Division of Pulmonary, Allergy, and Critical Care Medicine and the Gregory Fleming James Cystic Fibrosis Research Center at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. His current projects involve interrogating the basic molecular defects in cystic fibrosis as well as exploring novel therapeutics such as next-generation gene therapies. Shei lives in Birmingham with his wife, Amy (Dickman), BS ’12, who is a clinical inpatient dietitian at St. Vincent’s Hospital in Birmingham and is also the newly elected treasurer of the Birmingham District Dietetics Association.
Ari Stoner, BS ’16 Biotechnology, is a laboratory researcher in Dr. Max Siebold’s lab at National Jewish Health in Denver, Colo. While at IU, Ari conducted research with Drs. James McKinlay and Clay Fuqua. He co-founded the TedxIndianaUniversity student organization, serving as the group’s executive producer.