Helen Fellow Alumni 2015-2016 main content.

Helen Fellow Alumni 2015-2016

Jillian Bellovary

Portrait of Jillian Bellovary, Helen Fellow cohort 1

Jillian Bellovary is an Assistant Professor at Queensborough Community College, as well as a Research Associate in the department of Astrophysics, here at the AMNH. 

As a Helen Fellow, Jillian worked with Dr. Mordecai Mac Low, in the Department of Astrophysics. During her time as a Helen Fellow she investigated whether migration traps exist within the accretion disks of supermassive black holes (SMBHs), and if so whether they are conducive to the formation of intermediate mass black holes.  She also investigated the repercussions of this phenomenon for gravitational wave detection.  Jillian published two published on this topic (including a first-authored paper).  She presented this research at a conference and as a speaker at Columbia University’s theoretical astrophysics seminar.  Jillian was an invited speaker at “Computing the Universe” in Oaxaca, Mexico, and was also invited to give astronomy colloquia at Penn State University and Rutgers University.  She also participated in the Institute for Scientist and Engineer Educator’s Professional Development Program, culminating in the teaching of a 1.5-day inquiry-based workshop on statistics and data analysis at Columbia.

Jillian continues be an active member in the BridgeUP: STEM community, and has collaborated scientifically with subsequent Helen Fellows (Betsy Hernandez and Amy Secunda), and has spoken to some of the Brown Scholar internship groups about science, astrophysics and her own path in life. 

Emily Carlson

Portrait of Emily Carlson, Helen Fellow cohort one

Emily Carlson is currently a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering at Tufts. She joined Dr. Tom Vandervelde's Renewable Energy and Applied Photonics Lab.  Her research focuses on fabricating metamaterials to improve solar cell efficiency. She has been awarded a Provost Fellowship, a unique and prestigious award which recognizes the most promising doctoral applicants to schools across the university.

During her time as a Helen Fellow, Emily worked with Dr. Rebecca Oppenheimer. Her research included data collection at Palomar, data processing at AMNH, and database construction. She is working on a paper that will present the newly discovered binary stars from the Project 1640 survey. She holds a Visiting Scientist position at AMNH with Dr. Rebecca Oppenheimer so that she can continue work on this paper and maintain the database. 

Jordan Koch

Portrait of Jordan Koch, Helen Fellow cohort one.

Jordan Koch is currently working as a research/lab technician at the University of Minnesota in Dr. Emma Goldberg's lab.  Jordan does computational research in phylogenetics, and is also building a database to house data on plant systematics & taxonomy. Prior to that, she worked as a population genomics & bioinformatics research assistant at the John Innes Centre in Norwich, England.  Jordan volunteers as a tutor to high school students in math and science, and is applying to math teaching licensure programs with the hopes of pursuing a career in post-secondary mathematics education. 

As a Helen Fellow, Jordan worked with Dr. Brian Smith to develop models of speciation across a landscape. She organized a cohesive pipeline of Python scripts to compare simulated evolutionary patterns to empirical data on bird speciation. She also helped build a database containing genomic data of all described bird species. She presented this work at the Evolution meeting in Austin, Texas. She now resides in Norwich, England as a computational biology researcher at the John Innes Centre and is continuing to work remotely with Dr. Smith at AMNH.

Mali’o Kodis

Portrait of Mali'o Kodis, Helen Fellow cohort one

Mali’o Kodis is from a small town on the Big Island of Hawaii called Volcano Village. Her childhood curiosity towards the natural world and passion for science research earned her a life-changing trip to the American Museum of Natural History at a young age as the recipient of the Young Naturalist Award. Inspired by the awe-inspiring displays and world-renowned research at AMNH, Mali’o immersed herself in every opportunity to learn about the natural world and earned her BSc in Geology with a focus on Evolutionary Biology from Brown University. Mali’o is currently doing a Master's program in Coastal Science and Policy at UC Santa Cruz.

As a Helen Fellow, Mali’o worked with Dr. Mary Blair and Dr. Eleanor Sterling at the Center for Biodiversity and Conservation. She completed a comprehensive review of modeling techniques with applications towards biocultural conservation, an emerging field within conservation biology that works to understand the complex interactions between humans and their changing environment. Mali’o built an ecological niche model using R to determine prime prospective habitat for a key agricultural crop (taro, Colocasia esculenta) in Pacific Island communities threatened by climate change. Mali’o published a first-authored publication in the the journal “Ecological Modeling” as a result of this research.

Grace Newman

Portrait of Grace Newman, Helen Fellow cohort one

Grace Newman moved to Palo Alto to pursue a career in software engineering, focusing on medical technology. She has worked at the same company for the past two years, a larger startup called Syapse, which builds precision cancer care software.  During that time she has been promoted from a junior to senior engineer, and continues to learn as the company grows.

Grace worked with Dr. Ward Wheeler. Her research was to implement a software suite to construct and analyze phylogenetic trees from both genetic and anthropological data. During her time at the museum, she focused on evolutionary distance algorithms.  She is now a visiting scientist in Dr. Wheeler's lab focusing on GPU computing.  

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