WARF-Funded Graduate Students

The Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF) plays an essential role in supporting the innovative research and graduate education that are cornerstones of the University of Wisconsin–Madison. WARF invests in graduate education through University Fellowships and Advanced Opportunities Fellowships/Graduate Research Scholars. The following profiles illustrate the diverse and important ways that WARF contributes to graduate student success at UW–Madison.

WARF-Funded Student Profiles

  • Alexander Cole

    PhD student, Physics
    Alexander Cole is pursuing a PhD in physics, performing research at the intersection of string theory, cosmology, and data science. Cole is interested in connecting string theory to our universe.

  • Samuel Porter

    PhD candidate, History
    Samuel writes in his dissertation about the long process of Japan’s military demobilization after World War II. He argues that demobilization was protracted and incomplete, and that public hostility toward servicemen as well as occupation policies in Japan prevented veterans from successfully reintegrating into society once they were home.

  • Jorge Guerrero

    PhD student, Molecular and Cellular Pharmacology
    Jorge came to UW–Madison for graduate school with a SciMed GRS Fellowship and joined Nathan Sherer's lab to study HIV transmission. He focuses on how dendritic cells - one of the first types of cells that HIV encounters when it enters the body through a mucus membrane - aid or prevent the transmission process.

  • Priyadarshi Amar

    PhD student, Political Science, Agricultural and Applied Economics
    Priyadarshi's interest combines political economy and development economics, specifically in South Asia. He plans to write his dissertation on the role of colonial interventions in explaining contemporary political outcomes and attitudes of lower sociopolitical castes.

  • Aruna Kallon

    PhD student, Educational Policy Studies
    Aruna’s research will focus on the effects of free secondary education on the quality of education in Sierra Leone. He will examine what is free in this free education package, how educators and students make sense of it, how the program will be sustained, and what will indicate success.

  • Kip Hutchins

    PhD student, Anthropology
    Kip's studies cultural anthropology. His dissertation uses participant-observation and interviews to explore the practices, transmission, and institutions surrounding urtyn duu (long-song) and a musical instrument called the morin khuur (horsehead fiddle).

  • Galen Poor

    PhD candidate, History and History of Science, Medicine & Technology
    Galen studies Chinese history and the history of science. His dissertation describes how ancient China’s four great inventions – paper, printing, gunpowder, and the compass – were drawn into modern Chinese nationalism.

  • Rachelle Turnier

    PhD student, Geoscience
    Rachelle studies the crystallization of gem corundum, more commonly known as ruby and sapphire, to help determine the geochemistry of gems from different deposits. Her work may help identify a gem's country of origin, helping hold the industry to fair prices and ethical mining practices.

  • Marin Skidmore

    Marin is a PhD student from Germantown, Wisconsin. She began her program in Agricultural and Applied Economics in 2016 with support from a University Fellowship.

  • Lucas Nell

    Lucas Nell is a PhD candidate in the Department of Integrative Biology studying population genomics and evolutionary ecology. He is fascinated by how ecological processes, such as population dynamics and species interactions, interact with genomic processes.

  • More WARF posts

UW2020 Graduate Students

The UW2020 initiative encourages collaborative, innovative approaches to some of the biggest questions faced by researchers today. Graduate students play a key role in these grant projects, adding insight, creativity, and expertise to their research teams. These features explore how UW–Madison graduate students working on UW2020 projects are contributing to their fields, their communities, and the world.

UW2020 is underwritten by the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF) with combined funding from other sources.

UW2020 Graduate Student Profiles

  • Project creates a digital space for visually-focused humanities scholarship

    A digital humanities platform at UW–Madison is developing a tool that makes visually focused objects such as medieval manuscripts available online. Digital Mappa is headed by Martin Foys in the English department along with colleagues at the University of Pennsylvania, and is funded in part by a UW2020 grant from the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF). The platform allows users to build projects in a digital space, with the ability to link documents to one another, make comments, highlight interesting points, and collaborate with others.

  • Collecting data on kids’ environments and health

    Researchers use all sorts of methods to collect their data. For one project on campus, that method takes the form of a cute, animal-shaped backpack. Graduate student Amy Schultz specializes in environmental epidemiology, which studies how environmental factors affect human health at the population level. She is a leading research assistant on a project called CREATE: Cumulative Risks, Early Development, and Emerging Academic Trajectories.

  • Translating raw data into insight

    Niko Escanilla was drawn from his background in mathematics to graduate study in artificial intelligence and machine learning because he was looking for a discipline that could be applied in real world and clinical settings. As a graduate student in Computer Sciences, Escanilla had the chance to put those techniques to work as a research assistant on a UW2020-funded project, assessing variables that can predict the risk of breast cancer.

  • See all UW2020 Grad Student Profiles

What are UW2020 grants?

The goal of UW2020 is to stimulate and support highly innovative and groundbreaking research at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. This initiative seeks to support research projects that are high-risk, high-impact, and transformative as well as those that require the acquisition of shared instruments or equipment that will open new avenues for innovative and significant research.