The Graduate College

Student Highlights

Find out more about our highlighted graduate students, listed below in alphabetical order.

Lauren Arms  |  Catherine Bliss  |  Ingrid Curril  |  Sukumar Kandasamy  |  Jonathan Maddison

Lauren Arms

Ph.D., Neuroscience

Lauren Arms After spending the first 18 years of my life in the same small town in Connecticut, I decided to explore the southern region of the country for its sunshine and hospitality. I attended James Madison University in Harrisonburg, VA, where I shuffled through several majors including chemistry, psychology and pre-vet until I realized my passion for research. I worked in an undergraduate neuroscience lab studying the role of the vagus nerve in learning and memory. After graduation I worked as a veterinary technician for one year where I gained more exposure to the medical field and acquired a greater perspective for the impact of molecular mechanisms on the whole animal. Although work was rewarding, I was eager to return to school.

The Neuroscience program at UVM offered all that I was looking for in a graduate program: friendly faculty and students, an integrative program with research that strongly supports the medical field and an intimate environment allowing for personalized attention. I am now a student in Margaret Vizzard's lab studying pro-inflammatory mediators of the immune response and their impact on bladder dysfunction.

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Catherine Bliss

Ph.D., Mathematics

Catherine BlissAfter graduating from the University of Vermont with an M.S. in Mathematics, I traveled overseas to teach Mathematics for five years. I then earned an M.A. in Marine Affairs and Policy from the University of Miami. My work focused broadly on human-environmental coupled systems, with specific projects in fisheries socioeconomics, environmental education, and sustainability. After working with sea turtles in Costa Rica for two years while teaching undergraduate mathematics courses online, I decided to return to Vermont to pursue my doctorate in Mathematics.

I'm delighted to be back at UVM and to be a part of the exciting work in the Department of Mathematics and the Center for Complex Systems. I chose UVM for two reasons. First, the mathematics professors at UVM have high standards while at the same time being approachable. Second, I was attracted to the Center for Complex Systems and the opportunity to engage in interdisciplinary research projects. I am pleased to have been awarded a Complex Systems Graduate Research Assistantship. My main areas of focus include complex systems, asynchronous and synchronous text-based communication, and contagion on social networks. I am also interested in spatio-temporal dynamics in ecosystems.

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Ingrid Curril

Ph.D., Cell and Molecular Biology

Ingrid CurrilI was born in Lima, Peru. My father is a geology professor and my mother is a botanist, so the "scientific environment" has always been very familiar to me. I started my Bachelor's Degree at the National Agrarian University in Lima and then had the opportunity to move to Florida where I completed a Bachelor's Degree in Ecology and also obtained a Master's Degree in Biology at Florida Atlantic University. In the fall of 2005, I entered the University of Vermont's Cell and Molecular Biology (CMB) graduate program.

I chose UVM because the CMB program has a multidisciplinary structure that gives me the opportunity to learn from different areas of research ranging from cell biology, biochemistry, immunology, environmental pathology, plant biology, microbiology, and many other research fields. One of my favorite things about this program is the feeling of team work and the collaborative nature of interactions between professors and students from different areas of expertise. Another great aspect is obtaining training in grant writing and presentation skills, which are probably crucial for my future career. And UVM is located in beautiful scenic Vermont which gave me the chance to experience the four different seasons and Ben & Jerry's ice cream for the first time in my life!

Currently, I work in the lab of Dr. Jeff Spees and am performing my doctoral research in the area of adult stem cell biology and regenerative medicine. My research focuses on repair of the lung after injury and I am being supported by a Vermont Lung Center training grant.

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Sukumar Kandasamy

PhD, Animal Science

Sukumar KandasamyI received my Bachelor's Degree in Veterinary Science in 2002 from Tamilnadu Veterinary and Animal Sciences University in India and completed a Master's Degree in Animal Biotechnology from the same university in 2004. I then worked as a Research Assistant for two-and-a-half years on a research project funded by the Indian Veterinary Research Institute's Department of Biotechnology.

In the fall of 2006, I joined UVM as a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Animal Science. The availability of good training for graduate students, both in research and teaching, as well as the ongoing research being conducted related to important problems of animal science inspired me to choose UVM. My research focuses on the study of immune response of cows to mastitis infection and exploring the host pathogen interaction in mastitis infection.

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Jonathan Maddison

MPA, Community Development and Applied Economics

Jonathan MaddisonThe first tree I planted was in Salt Lake City, Utah. I was an undergraduate enrolled in a service learning class taught by the kind of professor you really don't forget. This class helped me realize that I wanted to study community development and, after doing some research, I decided to transfer into the Community Development and Applied Economics (CDAE) program at UVM to complete my B.S.

My family has lived in Vermont since I was eleven, when we moved here from South Florida. It means a lot to me to be in a place I call home, especially given the nature of my work: community development. So, after graduating with my degree in Community and International Development in the spring of 2009, I decided to continue my studies at UVM and pursue a Master's Degree in Public Administration (MPA).

On joining the MPA program, I was selected to be a Transportation Research Scholar and for the past year I've worked with Richard Watts and Tom Macias at the Transportation Research Center. We research informed decision making regarding tailpipe emissions and, among other things, are studying how the news media reports on the topic of tailpipe emissions.

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