Student Research Highlights

2014 Environment Initiative Undergraduate Summer Fellowship Recipients

Who's for Dinner? Differential Shark Attack Risk Among Bottlenose Dolphins
Chloe Cavanaugh, pre-med Neurobiology major
Faculty Mentor: Prof. Janet Mann, Departments of Biology and Psychology
Chloe is a pre-med Neurobiology major interested in neuroscience, animal behavior, and wildlife conservation. Her current project, which will form the basis of her senior thesis, concerns differential shark predation risk among various dolphin demographic factors such as age, sex, and primary habitat. Chloe plans to continue doing dolphin research after graduation before attending medical school.


Determining what factors affect the rate of decomposition in a coastal salt marsh
Mary Hayes, Environmental Biology major
Faculty Mentor: Prof. Gina Wimp, Department of Biology

Mary is a senior Environmental Biology Major. After graduation she would like to explore all of the options open to environmental scientists. She plans to focus on NGO's, consulting groups and potentially policy work, where she will always be working towards protecting the environment and it's natural resources.


PM2.5 Regulation: A Dynamic Pricing Model
Matthias Nordfeldt, Foreign Service major at SFS-Qatar campus
Faculty Mentor: Prof. Alexis Antoniades, Department of Economics

Originally from Stockholm, Sweden, Matthias has spent significant parts of his life in Washington state and California. A constant theme in Matthias’ life has been his close connection to nature. He grew up fishing, hunting, and practicing landscape photography. These interests, especially hunting, contributed enormously to his interest in the environment, and led him to engage in this research project.

Matthias studied at the Santa Barbara City College in California before he transferred to Georgetown University SFS-Q, and graduated from there with A.A. degrees in Political Science, Economics, and Middle East Studies. His major academic interests mirror those degrees, although he has been more focused on economics since arriving in Qatar.


A Direct Estimate of the Technique Effect
Julia Keiserman, Economics and Computer Science majors, Film and Media Studies minor
Faculty Mentor: Prof. Arik Levinson, Department of Economics

Julia is a rising junior from New York City majoring in Economics and Computer Science and minoring in Film and Media Studies. Under the guidance of Professor Arik Levinson, Julia is researching the effects of environmental regulations on industrial production and pollution. In her free time, she serves as President of the Georgetown Speechwriting Advisory Group and the Director of Operations for Corp Coffee Shop, The Midnight Mug. 


Impact of Plant Functional Diversity on Green Roof Performance
Meaghan Keefe, Environmental Biology major, Bioethics minor
Faculty Mentor: Prof. Matthew Hamilton, Department of Biology

Meaghan is a rising senior in the College majoring in Environmental Biology and minoring in Bioethics.  This summer she will be using her Environment Initiative Fellowship Grant to conduct an experiment on the effects of plant functional diversity on green (vegetated) roof performance.  Her interest in green roofs stemmed from internship position at Anacostia Watershed Society this past fall where she assisted in administering the DDOE Green Roof Rebate Program.  After learning about their benefits, she was curious to explore the less well known ecological aspects of green roofs through research. Meaghan is continuing her internship at AWS this summer and plans to continue her research on green roofs for a RISE thesis in her senior year.  Academically her interests are broad, but she enjoys that working with green roofs encompasses human-environment interaction, biological application, as well as works to combat the growing threat of climate change. She hopes that future career or academic paths might include a similar variety of applications.  Meaghan hails from Albany, New York, and outside of school enjoys hiking, gardening, and generally being outdoors. Meaghan has been a member of the women’s rowing team at Georgetown for the last three years and is looking forward to a great final year of competition. Other hobbies include reading, amateur photography, baking, and ice cream tasting.


Does Environmental Nitrite Trigger Activation of Estrogen-Related Receptor-gamma to Increase the Risks of Obesity?
Michelle Chang, Biology of Global Health, American Music Culture, and Mathematics majors
Faculty Mentor: Prof. Mary Beth Martin, Lombardi Cancer Center

Michelle is a rising junior in the College majoring in the Biology of Global Health and minoring in Music and Mathematics.  Her interest in this project stems from how our normal intake of environmental metals/metalloids affects our health and could therefore increase the risks of obesity at the cellular level.  She will also continue studying this project under Dr. Mary Beth Martin's guidance throughout the school year.  During her free time, she volunteers at the Georgetown University Hospital as a performing violinist and serve as a board member in several clubs such as the Taiwanese American Student Association and END7.