The Quantitative and Evolutionary STEM Training (QuEST) Program provides doctoral students with the skills, knowledge, and competencies needed to solve environmental and global health problems in an ever-changing workforce and research environment.

The UVM NSF Research Traineeship (NRT) program is an innovative and evidence-based model for transforming STEM graduate education training. Emerging infectious diseases, antibiotic and pesticide resistance, reduced crop yields caused by climate extremes and shifts, and the loss of biodiversity affect environmental and global health and food security. In each case, identification of successful solutions to these global challenges requires a fundamental knowledge of evolutionary principles. QuEST trains these problem-solvers.

QuEST Logo

Our mission is to foster an interconnected diverse academic and social community of scientists through collaboration and communication who work together across disciplines using quantitative tools to solve environmental and global health problems locally, nationally, and internationally.


Research activities are intersectional and explore new directions centering around three topical areas: evolutionary and ecological impacts of rapid environmental change, global change and disease dynamics, and modeling for prediction. Study systems will reflect the research expertise of over 30 faculty across eight academic units at the University of Vermont and will span diseases, pests, and species invasions in the plant, insect, marine, amphibian, and human systems. Learn more about QuEST research.

QuEST Faculty

The QuEST program is unique among other interdisciplinary, big-data programs across the country in our emphasis on evolutionary training, modeling for prediction, and culturally sensitive teamwork. Meet QuEST faculty.


Meaningful internships drive career connections. QuEST internships are designed to develop a continued partnership with industry and non-academic institutes and centers. Students will identify possible internship partners by end of the first year. Then during their second year include the internship as part of a dissertation research proposal incorporating deliverables resulting from their work. Learn about internships.

Program News

Csenge Petak has received the 2021-2022 Dr. Roberto Fabri Fialho Research Award, given annually to a University of Vermont doctoral student to support their research in areas related to ecology, evolution, population genetics, or animal behavior.

Hannah Shafer submitted a Sustainable Campus Fund Innovation Research proposal and was recently awarded $10K to fund the Functional Diversification of FLOWERING LOCUS T (FT)-like Genes in Pooideae Grasses project.

Bren Case publishes peer-reviewed abstract "Spatial epidemiology and adaptive targeted sampling to manage the Chagas disease vector Triatoma dimidiata", B. K. M. Case, Jean-Gabriel Young, Daniel Penados, Carlota Monroy, Laurent Hébert-Dufresne, Lori Stevens, June 2, 2022.

Sam Rosenblatt shares modeling collaborations from last summer's applied internship with Dr. Ross A. Hammond and the Center on Social Dynamics and Policy at Brookings Institution in Washington, DC.

QuEST Trainees and Leadership enjoyed a hike on April 22, 2022 celebrating Earth Day, reflecting on another successful year of Seminar and being in community with four cohorts!

UVM SACNAS' members, Aura Alonso-Rodríguez, Bailey Kretzler and Natalia Aristizábal, present their research @ UVM's Student Research Conference on April 21, 2022

UVM’s Society for the Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS) has been Recognized as an Official Chapter!

Liza Morse has been awarded this years 2021-2022 Thomas J. Votta Scholarship announced on January 14, 2021 by UVM's Graduate College.

Jessica Cole presents on December 1, 2020 from 1:00 - 2:00 p.m. at RSENR's Fall Seminar Series: Learning from Early Career Scientists

Dr. Lisette Torres-Gerald visited on November 20, 2020 to discuss disabilities and its intersections impact respresentation in STEM

Dr. Lorraine Cordeiro visited on November 6, 2020 to share her research and best practices on community-engagement for development of human capital in health and education

Dr. Sarah Myhre visited on October 9, 2020 and discussed cultural shifts, the impacts in George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery murders and responses of universities to COVID-19

Congratulations to Erika Bueno and Dr. Yolanda Chen on receiving the prestigious HHMI Gilliam Fellowship!

Erika Bueno presents at the #EntSoc19 PBT graduate student competition and receives 2nd place on November 20, 2019

Dr. Melissa Nolan shares her research in Chagas Disease and Applied Entomology on Friday, April 5, 2019

QuEST Program Highlights & Reception held on December 7, 2018, 5:00 p.m. in Davis Center's Livak Fireplace Lounge

Dr. Sarah Myhre visited on December 7, 2018 to discuss Communication and Leadership Skills in a Hot and Dangerous World!

Dr. John Vandermeer visits on November 30, 2018 to discuss Reflections on Mathematical Modeling in Ecology.

Easton White joins QuEST on November 15, 2018