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New Member Training

New Member Training
January 2021

Please join us in welcoming our first group of trainees for 2021 and our newest members to the GEP community:

  • Dr. Austen Barnett, DeSales University
  • Dr. Christine Fleet, Emory & Henry College
  • Dr. Eve Mellgren, Elmhurst University
  • Ms. Holly Paquette, College of Western Idaho
  • Dr. Jamie Dyer, Rockhurst University
  • Ms. Mary Ann Smith, Penn State Schuylkill
  • Dr. Nik Tsotakos, Penn State Harrisburg
  • Dr. Quyen Aoh, Gannon University
  • Dr. Shuying Sun, Texas State University

Special thanks to Dr. Jennifer Mierisch, Dr. Catherine Reinke, and Dr. Alexa Sawa for facilitating their online training!

New Member Training
December 2020

Please join us in welcoming our final group of trainees for 2020 and our newest members to the GEP community:

  • Dr. Christoph Hengartner, Barry University
  • Dr. Jack Vincent, University of Washington Tacoma
  • Dr. Katrina Stewart, West Virginia University
  • Dr. Lyndsay Rhodes, Florida Gulf Coast University
  • Dr. Melanie Lenahan, Raritan Valley Community College
  • Dr. Natalie Minkovsky, Community College of Baltimore County
  • Dr. Tara Pelletier, Radford University
  • Dr. Zeynep Ozsoy, Colorado Mesa University


Special thanks to Dr. Catherine Reinke and Dr. Jamie Siders for facilitating their online training!

Carolinas New Member Training December 2020

“This could not have been more than what I needed” was the comment of Jeffrey French from North Greenville University in South Carolina on the last day of the workshop. Dr. French was one of nine trainees that completed the New Member Training Workshop of the Carolinas Regional Node and his comment could not have been more perfect to encapsulate the feeling that this was a successful workshop. Everyone walked away feeling empowered and with plans to implement. Who was everyone?

  • Dr. Eric Goff, Midlands Technical College
  • Dr. Jeffrey French, North Greenville University
  • Dr. Karen L. Baracskay, Tri-County Technical College
  • Dr. Kristen Delaney Nguyen, Fayetteville State University
  • Dr. Mara Robu, Furman University
  • Dr. Maria Fadri, Wake Technical Community College
  • Dr. Mark Dugo, Johnson C. Smith University
  • Dr. Robert K. Reid, Meredith College
  • Dr. Taek H. You, Campbell University

We were thrilled to have three of our trainees coming from community colleges, contributing to one of the goals of our IPERT grant. One of the institutions is a HBCU and another one an all-women’s college.

This was the inaugural event for the Carolinas Regional Node after the COVID-19 pandemic canceled the one we had planned for Spring 2020. We debated the dates and format and finally settled for the tried-and-true 15 hours over two weeks online training that Drs. Catherine Reinke and Jenny Mierisch perfected over the summer. They both were very helpful providing resources and advice, and Catherine met with us as we were in the planning stages and she also attended some of the training.

We had the privilege of having Dr. Laura Reed do the “Introduction to GEP” on the second day and Katie Sandlin gave the tour of the new GEP website that she and Wilson Leung developed on day seven. Katie also developed a terrific webpage for the training to keep everything organized and accessible at the click of a link. In the colors of the GEP, the training website had the same professional look of our new GEP website. Chinmay Rele created an awesome video for us to use for recruiting new members for the workshop.

The participants were really appreciative of the resources and support, and they bonded together. On our last day, Taek reflecting on the working days together, said: “do you realize that we were strangers just last week and now we are part of this group, supporting each other?” Mark shared a bioinformatics exercise he developed around SARS-CoV-2; we discussed having a symposium-like event next year at the end of the summer with our students; and Kristen also suggested a hackathon type of event for our students. Everyone was feeling energized and we, the trainers, were happy.

Our thanks go to everyone who helped with planning, developing, and executing. Laura, Katie, Wilson, Chinmay, Catherine, and Jenny. We could not have done it without you!


The Carolinas crew: Me (Marisol Santisteban), Indi Bose, Michelle Eller, Cathy Silver Key, Vida Mingo, Scott Tanner, and Catherine Ward.

New Member Training
Fall 2020

Please join us in welcoming our newest members to the GEP community:

  • Dr. Ann Corsi, Associate Professor of Biology at The Catholic University of America
  • Dr. Sarah Justice, Assistant Professor of Biology at Taylor University

We look forward to their participation in the GEP! Special thank you to Drs. Jennifer Mierisch, Norma Velazquez-Ulloa, and Judy Leatherman for facilitating their online training!

Summer Training Session 4

Please join us in welcoming our final group of summer trainees and our newest members to the GEP community:

  • Dr. Douglas Dluzen, Assistant Professor of Biology at Morgan State University
  • Dr. Heidi Bretscher, Post-doc at University of Minnesota Twin Cities
  • Dr. Joe Heras, Assistant Professor of Biology at California State University, San Bernardino
  • Dr. Kelly Ostler, Adjunct Faculty of Biology at Elmhurst University
  • Dr. Nina Peel, Associate Professor of Biology at The College of New Jersey
  • Dr. Solomon Chak, Assistant Professor of Biology at SUNY Old Westbury
  • Dr. Tyesha Burks, Assistant Professor of Biology at Bowie State University

Special thank you to Dr. Jennifer Mierisch and Dr. Norma Velazquez-Ulloa for facilitating their online training!

Summer Training Session 3 Group B

Please join us in welcoming our newest members to the GEP community:

  • Dr. Hemayet Ullah, Associate Professor of Biology at Howard University
  • Dr. Howard Xu, Professor of Microbiology at California State University, Los Angeles
  • Dr. John Stanga, Assistant Professor of Biology at Mercer University
  • Dr. Nicholas Stewart, Assistant Professor of Biology at Fort Hays State University
  • Dr. Nicole Salazar-Velmeshev, Assistant Professor of Biology at San Francisco State University
  • Dr. Rebecca Keener, Post-doc at Morgan State University

We look forward to their participation in the GEP! Special thank you to Dr. Jennifer Mierisch, Dr. Jim Youngblom, and Dr. Aparna Sreenivasan for facilitating their online training!

Summer Training Session 3 Group A

One of the goals of our NIH and NSF grants is to increase GEP representation at Community Colleges and Minority Serving Institutions. All of our Session 3 Group A trainees teach at Community Colleges and five out of seven are at MSIs. Please join us in welcoming our newest members to the GEP community:

  • Dr. Adijat Adebola, Assistant Professor of Biology at Bronx Community College
  • Dr. Chelsey McKenna, Professor of Biology at College of Southern Nevada
  • Dr. Goldie Sherr, Assistant Professor of Biology at Bronx Community College
  • Jennifer Richmond, Instructor of Biology at Modesto Junior College
  • Dr. Monica Hall-Woods, Department Chair and Professor of Biology at St Charles Community College
  • Dr. Raffaella Diotti, Assistant Professor of Biology at Bronx Community College
  • Tealia Slagle, Associate Professor of Biology at Whatcom Community College

We look forward to their participation in the GEP! Special thank you to Dr. Catherine Reinke and Dr. Alexa Sawa for facilitating their online training!

Summer Training Session 2 Group B

Please join us in welcoming our newest members to the GEP community:

  • Dr. Brandon White, Associate Professor of Biology at San Jose State University
  • Dr. Chandrasen Soans, Lecturer Faculty at California State University, San Marcos
  • Dr. Claudia Uhde-Stone, Professor of Biology at California State University, East Bay
  • Dr. Jeroen Gillard, Assistant Professor of Biology at California State University, Bakersfield
  • Dr. Kristopher Blee, Professor of Biology at California State University, Chico
  • Dr. Michele Eller, Assistant Professor of Biology at Southern Wesleyan University

We look forward to their participation in the GEP! Special thank you to Dr. Chris Shaffer, Dr. Judy Leatherman, and Dr. Jackie Wittke-Thompson for facilitating their online training!

Summer Training Session 2 Group A

Please join us in welcoming our newest members to the GEP community:

  • Dr. Alder Yu, Assistant Professor of Biology at University of Wisconsin-La Crosse
  • Dr. Geoff Findlay, Associate Professor at College of the Holy Cross
  • Dr. Karobi Moitra, Associate Professor of Molecular Biology at Trinity Washington University
  • Dr. Lara Goudsouzian, Assistant Professor of Natural Sciences at DeSales University
  • Dr. Nolan Bentley, Postdoc at Texas A&M University
  • Dr. Rama Kothapalli, Assistant Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at University of Oklahoma
  • Dr. Stephen Klusza, Assistant Professor of Biology at Clayton State University


We look forward to their participation in the GEP! Special thank you to Dr. Catherine Reinke and Dr. Joyce Stamm for facilitating their online training!

Summer Training Session 1

Our new member training for Summer 2020 has officially ended for our first group of trainees. Please join us in welcoming our newest members to the GEP community:

  • Dr. Anthony Aragon, Associate Professor of Biology at Dodge City Community College
  • Dr. Ashley Turner, Assistant Professor of Biology at Jacksonville State University
  • Dr. Catherine Ward, Biology Instructor at Durham Technical Community College
  • Dr. Gaia Bistulfi, Chair and Associate Professor of Biology at D’Youville College
  • Jennifer Robichaud, Associate Teaching Professor of Biology at University of Notre Dame
  • Dr. Karen Schmeichel, Professor of Biology at Oglethorpe University
  • Dr. Kayla Bieser, Associate Professor of Biology at Nevada State College
  • Kristin Lewis, Associate Teaching Professor of Biology at University of Notre Dame
  • Dr. Lea Alford, Assistant Professor of Biology at Oglethorpe University
  • Dr. Marie Montes-Matias, Assistant Professor of Biology at Union County College
  • Dr. Melinda Yang, Assistant Professor of Biology at University of Richmond
  • Lieutenant Colonel Dr. Melissa Eslinger, Associate Professor of Biology and Chemistry at Westpoint-US Military Academy
  • Dr. Moses M Darpolor, Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Natural Sciences at Stillman College
  • Dr. Virginia Rebecca Falkenberg, Assistant Professor of Biology at Georgia State University Perimeter College

We look forward to their participation in the GEP! Special thank you to Dr. Catherine Reinke and Dr. Jennifer Mierisch for facilitating their online training.