2015–2016 Bouchet Scholars

2015–2016 Bouchet Scholars

Catasha Davis


Catasha R. Davis holds a B.A. in Afro American Studies and International Studies from UW–Madison. She has also completed a master’s degree in Afro American Studies. Catasha holds an M.A. in Journalism and Mass Communication where she is currently a Ph.D. candidate. Her research interests are in the areas of media effects, race, health communication, health disparities and social marketing. Catasha uses her background in critical/cultural studies to inform quantitative research on the relationship between race, stereotypes and health disparities. Her dissertation research examines the way media can be used to mitigate health disparities associated with stigma experienced by Black gay men.

In addition to teaching courses in afro american studies and journalism, Catasha has worked as project assistant for Dr. Shawnika Hull and community partner Diverse & Resilient on a social marketing campaign called Acceptance Journeys in Milwaukee, WI. Acceptance Journeys aims to increase acceptance of gay men by reducing the social stigma they face in their communities.

Throughout graduate school, Catasha has worked in service to the Madison community and her department. She was a mentor with Big Brothers/Big Sisters, and at a local middle school in Madison. In her department, she started a professional development series in order to aid her fellow graduate students in accessing the resources necessary to succeed in graduate school and beyond.

She plans to pursue a career in research and teaching while working on social marketing programs with government and non-profit agencies.

Charee Peters


Charee Peters is a graduate student pursing a Ph.D. in astronomy at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. Her research focuses on energetic phenomena in the universe that change in brightness over time, known as transient and variable events.

Transient events mark a discrete episode, wherein the brightness of a source changes on timescales of about hours to days and fade out over time. Examples of transients include supernovae, i.e., the explosive deaths of stars, and tidal disruption events, e.g. when a star is ripped apart by a black hole. Variable sources refer to objects that have regular changes in brightness, such as active galactic nuclei, the steady accretion of matter onto a super massive black hole at the center of a galaxy. Differentiating between the types of sources can be a difficult task, especially when the time scales and amplitudes of brightness on which the changes occur are similar.

Charee’s thesis work includes answering questions concerning the variability of these events in radio wavelengths using a new survey called CHILES. As a Yankton Sioux tribal member, Charee was brought up to be proud of her heritage. She strives to create and support inclusive environments for underrepresented people in the fields of physics and astronomy. In her free time, Charee also plays roller derby for the Mad Rollin’ Dolls under the name SiouxperNova (#185).

Jalissa Wynder


Jalissa Wynder is a doctoral candidate in the Molecular and Environmental Toxicology (METC) graduate program. Her research focuses on the role of environmental estrogens in prostate disease.She completed her bachelor’s degree at Southern University A&M College in 2013 where she majored in chemistry. She is a member of Dr. William Ricke’s laboratory where she investigates the role of environmental estrogens in benign prostate hyperplasia. Her career goal is to pursue a career as an expert researcher in a state public health and environmental laboratory. She is also interested in serving as a mentor to students with interests in environmental related public health issues. Through her prospective career as expert researcher she plans to be the “voice” for individuals who come from areas negatively impacted by environmental toxins.

While at UW–Madison Jalissa has been involved in the METC’s student led committee (SLC) where she serves as Personal and Professional Development Officer and she participates in the Science and Medicine Graduate Research Scholars program for underrepresented graduate students. Outside of UW–Madison, Jalissa volunteers at the Dane County Boys and Girls Club and serves as graduate student representative in the Society of Toxicology’s (SOT) food safety specialty section.

In her spare time, she loves to bake, run, and paint. She is well-known for her energetic personality and passion for research.

Maichou Lor


Maichou Lor is a Ph.D. candidate in the School of Nursing at University of Wisconsin–Madison. She has distinguished herself as one of a very small group in the Early Entry Ph.D. program.

Her research focuses on reducing health disparities of non-English (NES) speaking older adults. Specifically, Maichou’s work focuses on the development and implementation of innovative, culturally and linguistically appropriate care practices aimed at improving quality of care and quality of life for NES immigrant older adults, beginning with Hmong older adults.

Maichou has received a number of awards including the UW–Madison Louise Troxell Award for Outstanding Upper-class Woman, Mary Keller Research Award, and Signe Cooper Writing Award. She also received a wide range of research funding including the University of Wisconsin Carbone Cancer Center, the School of Nursing Eckburg Research Award, and the National Institute of Health. She has published in multiple journals including nursing, pharmacy, and public health on issues regarding cancer prevention, interpreter services, and health literacy.

Maichou is a co-founder of the Multicultural Student Nursing Organization, dedicated to improving the experiences of students and care of culturally diverse populations across care settings at the University of Wisconsin–Madison School of Nursing. She currently serves as a board member on the Wisconsin Center for Nursing, an organization focused on assuring that the nursing workforce for the people of Wisconsin is adequate, well-prepared and diverse.

Sarah Franco


Sarah Franco is a doctoral candidate in the Cellular and Molecular Pathology (CMP) program at UW–Madison. She completed her bachelor’s degree at the University of New Mexico (UNM) where she majored in Biology. Following her graduation, Sarah participated in the Post-Baccalaureate Research and Education Program at UNM conducting research on pre-mRNA splicing. This experience and her impassioned interest in human health led her to apply to the highly translational CMP program where she is currently working with Dr. Craig Kent and Dr. Bo Liu in the Department of Surgery on the investigation of basic, translational, and clinical aspects of vascular disease. Her research examines the molecular mechanisms of vascular disease with the goal of identifying new therapeutic targets to prevent restenosis.

As a first-generation college student and Hispanic scientist, Sarah is dedicated to improving the inclusion of underrepresented students in science. She is serving as the graduate co-president of the SACNAS UW–Madison Chapter, whose goal is to help foster opportunities in STEM for underrepresented students. She actively participates in community outreach events in hopes to encourage individuals from diverse backgrounds to pursue higher education and careers in science.

Sarah is highly interested in biology education and hopes to pursue an academic career that not only allows her to continue her research but that also focuses on developing strategies and pedagogical tools in an effort to help create a climate in which individuals from a variety of backgrounds, cultures, and personal experiences are welcomed and can succeed.

Yashdeep Phanse


Dr. Yashdeep Phanse is a postdoctoral research associate in the Department of Pathobiological Sciences at UW–Madison. He received his Ph.D. in immunobiology from Iowa State University (ISU). Prior to moving to the U.S. he completed his master’s and bachelor’s degrees in biotechnology and biology, respectively from Devi Ahilya University, Indore, India. His interdisciplinary research work in immunology and nanobiotechnology in the lab of Dr. Lyric Bartholomay at UW–Madison focuses on novel nanoparticle approaches to design therapeutics for protecting shrimp, a major food source in developing countries, against pathogens. Another area of his research focus is developing next-generation tools to control mosquito-borne diseases through vector control. While pursing his Ph.D. in the labs of Drs. Michael Wannemuehler, Bryan Bellaire and Balaji Narasimhan, he worked on developing single dose nanovaccines for human and veterinary applications.

Dr. Phanse has published 14 peer reviewed articles and he is a grant recipient and member of ISU Nanovaccine Initiative. His honors include Research Excellence Award (ISU), Wayne and Keren Freese Scholarship, Vivrekar Award for outstanding undergraduate student, membership in “AAAS/Science Program for Excellence in Science” and Sigma Xi. He is a consulting editor for International Journal of Nanomedicine and he is a reviewer for several international journals.

While at ISU, he was an elected member of the ISU Graduate Council representing and advocating for postdocs. Currently, Dr. Phanse also serves as the co-vice president and international postdoctoral chair of the UW–Madison Postdoctoral Association arranging seminars and other events beneficial to the UW–Madison postdoctoral community.

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