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 Student Profiles

  • 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.

  • Lianna Dang

    Lianna is a PhD student in Chemistry from Shawnee, Kansas. She completed her undergraduate degree at the University of Kansas, where she was a Barry M. Goldwater Scholar, and came to UW–Madison on an Advanced Opportunity Fellowship as part of the Letters and Science Community of Graduate Research Scholars (C-GRS).

  • Elliot Vaughan

    Elliot is a PhD student in geography, with a minor in soil science. He studies how human land use along with soil and environmental properties contribute to the amount of carbon stored in the soil.

  • Miles Wilkerson

    Miles is a PhD student in the Department of History, studying the Atlantic slave trade from a disability studies lens. His work will connect the history of corporeal, cognitive, and sensory impairment from the slave castles of the West African shore to colonial North America and the Caribbean.

  • Margarethe McDonald

    Margarethe is a PhD student in Communication Sciences and Disorders studying child language development. She focuses on the effect of native and non-native accents on child production and perception of a second language.

  • Ellen LeClere

    Ellen is a PhD candidate in the Information School investigating the ethical issues surrounding large-scale digitization of Civil Rights Movement-era materials by archivists.“Digitization projects are rapidly becoming the standard for access among cultural heritage institutions, but the work is relatively understudied in terms of how it conflicts with archival subjects’ expectations of privacy,” she explains.

  • Juliette Bruce

    Juliette is a PhD student in the Department of Mathematics. She is interested in using algebraic techniques to study the geometry of systems of equations with multiple variables, or polynomials.

  • Lucian Rothe

    Lucian Rothe is a PhD candidate in German, with a minor in Second Language Acquisition. He studies how foreign language learners perceive and imagine teachers and native speakers of different foreign languages.

  • 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.

  • Archiving today’s culture for tomorrow’s researchers, through podcasts

    When Samuel Hansen started producing podcasts about mathematics and science, it was possible for a small, independent podcast like Hansen’s to rank in the country’s top 60 most popular shows. Now, the top charts are dominated by network-produced podcasts, a change that has taken place in the last 10 years alone – but not the last the world of podcasting will see. To preserve podcasts as they are now, and archive the changes within them, a project at UW–Madison is dedicated to making today’s podcasts available well into the future.

  • Taking a hands-on approach to catalyst research

    To Keishla Rivera-Dones, chemical engineering is about more than dealing with chemical reactions; it’s about understanding the building blocks of everything. A PhD student at UW–Madison in the Dumesic and Huber Research Groups, Rivera-Dones works with supported metal catalysts and applies them to promote and improve the efficiency of chemical reactions.

  • Looking for links between language and action

    Say you’re given a list of six random words. You hear them once, and after a short delay, you have to repeat as many as you can remember. Your recall ability is based on what’s known as your working memory span. But it’s limited by constraints that vary from person to person and may be based on an individual’s experience with language.

  • Applying machine learning models to improve dairy farm management

    As new technologies have opened doors for dairy farms to harness more data from their herds than ever before, farmers around the state have embraced these innovations. That leaves farmers with vast amounts of data – on cows, herds, farms, the market, crops, and soils – but, as of yet, no way to integrate the entirety of that data into farm management.

  • Helping the average person teach a robot new tricks

    Imagine a future where robots at home are more than just disc-shaped vacuum cleaners – a future where they are autonomous agents that can perform our everyday tasks. Though we may not always realize it, these tasks require a lot of physical responsiveness to the environment that is natural for humans but a core challenge of robotics.

  • Building a better water quality measurement platform

    With a background in engineering and environmental science, alumnus Paul Schramm had the perfect mix of skills to work on a water quality measurement project that brought new possibilities into the field of limnology.

  • Exploring an antiviral factor that helps, rather than hinders, influenza

    Mitch Ledwith is motivated every day by the excitement that comes with new, and sometimes unexpected, discoveries. As a PhD student in Cellular and Molecular Biology and a research assistant in the Mehle lab, Ledwith has been a firsthand witness to just one of those exciting discoveries on the University of Wisconsin–Madison campus, through a project funded by a UW2020 grant.

  • Luke Loken

    Luke Loken is a hydrologic research technician for the USGS Wisconsin Water Science Center and concurrently pursuing a PhD in Freshwater and Marine Sciences in Emily Stanley’s lab at the Center for Limnology. He and his colleagues at the University of Wisconsin developed a new tool to better understand aquatic ecosystems.

  • Eun Ha Namkung

    Eun Ha Namkung is a PhD candidate in the School of Social Work and graduate assistant at the Waisman Center. Her research interests center around the dynamics and consequences of family caregiving over the life course. Most of her recent work examines families of an adult child with intellectual and developmental disabilities or serious mental illnesses.

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