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About Sigma Xi » 125th Anniversary » Fresh Faces

Sigma Xi's Fresh Faces

Matthew Anderson (SX 2007)
Dr. Matthew Anderson earned his Ph.D. (Experimental Psychology) in 2004 from Kent State University.  He has edited a book, had several chapters published in edited volumes, and 22 articles that are in press or published in scientific peer-reviewed journals.  Anderson is an experimental psychologist specializing in animal learning and behavior.  The majority of his recent work has examined various aspects of flamingo behavior, including the age-old question of why flamingos stand on one leg.  Anderson and his students have employed observational studies of the captive flock at the Philadelphia Zoo in order to better understand the behavior of this highly social, iconic bird, and to perhaps gain some insight into the evolution and workings of general behavioral processes relevant to many species, including humans.  Students from his lab have presented 18 posters describing their research at the annual Sigma Xi Student Research Symposium that is sponsored by the St. Joseph’s University Sigma Xi chapter.  Anderson will be serving as president of the Saint Joseph's University Sigma Xi Chapter during the 2011-2012 academic year.  He strongly feels that one of his primary jobs as a university professor is the promotion of intellectual curiosity and scientific inquiry in his students, combined with high-quality and ethical scientific research.



Steven Crosby (SX 2007)
Steven Crosby is an Assistant Professor of Pharmacy Practice at Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences. He also serves as a member of the Nurse-Employer Safety Partnership Workgroup, a collaborative endeavor between the Massachusetts Board of Registration in Nursing and the Center for Health Policy and Research at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. In his current position, he has been actively involved in research paradigms focusing on dissolution/disintegration profiles of select pharmaceutical agents.


Dalong Gao (SX 2007)Dalong Gao received his B.E. degrees in mechanical engineering and industrial engineering from Tsinghua University, Beijing, China, in 1999. He also received his M.S. degrees in mechanical engineering, electrical and computer engineering, and his Ph.D. degree in mechanical engineering from Georgia Institute of Technology in 2002, 2003, and 2005, respectively. He is a Senior Researcher at the Manufacturing Systems Research lab of the General Motors Global Research and Development Center, Warren, Michigan. He is a member of ASME and SME. His technical interests include manufacturing processes as well as safe robots and controls. He is leading several major research projects while working with top universities, industries, associations and government agencies. He is also leading the safe robotics initiatives at the Research and Development Center. He authored near 30 internal and external publications. He generated 15 US patent applications. He was awarded the ASME Blackall Machine Tool and Gage award in 2010 and the SME Richard L. Kegg Outstanding Young Manufacturing Engineer Award in 2011. Dalong served for Sigma Xi GM R&D Center chapter since he joined as a full member in 2007 and served as the president of the chapter in the 2010-2011.


Kristian Hargadon (SX 2001)
Dr. Hargadon is an assistant professor of biology at Hampden-Sydney College in Virginia. While a student at Hampden-Sydney College, he collaborated with researchers in the laboratory of Dr. Victor Engelhard at the University of Virginia, where he subsequently conducted his Ph.D. research in graduate school on the induction of CD8+ cytotoxic T cell responses to melanoma. His research during this time resulted in two publications in the peer-reviewed journals, The Journal of Immunology and Immunological Reviews. His work was also presented at a number of scientific conferences, including the International Congress of Immunology in Montreal, Quebec, Canada in 2004. Upon completing his Ph.D., he joined the laboratory of Dr. Thomas Braciale at the University of Virginia for a postdoctoral fellowship. It was his passion for both scientific research and teaching that led him to accept a position at his alma mater in 2009. He has since established his own research program and continues collaborating, mentoring, and guiding undergraduate students. Dr. Hargadons' love for scientific research and his collaboration with both established and aspiring scientists have led to his own success as a scientist and as a mentor to others.


Melissa A. Kenney (SX 2005)
Melissa A. Kenney is an Assistant Research Scientist in Environmental Decision Analysis at Johns Hopkins University in the Department of Geography and Environmental Engineering and an AAAS Science and Technology Policy Fellow hosted by the NOAA Climate Program Office and liaison to the U.S. Global Change Research Program to coordinate the Indicator Framework for National Climate Assessment. She received a B.A. with Distinction in Environmental Sciences at the University of Virginia and a Ph.D. in Water Quality Modeling and Decision Analysis in the Nicholas School of the Environment and Earth Sciences at Duke University. Dr. Kenney's research in environmental decision analysis broadly addresses how to integrate both scientific knowledge and societal values into policy decision-making under uncertainty. This research is inherently multidisciplinary, drawing on the fields of water quality science, decision theory, statistics, and public policy.


Matthew J. Korn (SX 2005)
Matt Korn is a Ph.D. candidate in the laboratory of Dr. Karina Cramer in the Department of Neurobiology and Behavior at the University of California, Irvine. His thesis work deals with neuron-glia interactions in the developing auditory brainstem, including their implications for synaptogenesis and dendritic morphology.  Mr. Korn has published six papers in peer-reviewed journals, has presented his research at more than four scientific meetings, and has been invited to present his work at several research institutions including the NIH.  He has received multiple awards and recognitions including the Howard Hughes Medical Institute Graduate Fellows Award for teaching, the Renée Harwick Advanced Graduate Student Award for excellence in research, the Neurobiology and Behavior Departmental Training Award, and the Dean’s Award for Excellence in Research.  He is very involved with the UC Irvine Chapter activities in promoting diversity, the advancement in science and working hard to promote the public understanding of science through his outreach efforts, teaching and mentoring activities.


Sudarshan Kurwadkar (SX 2010)
Dr. Sudarshan Kurwadkar is an Assistant Professor of Environmental Engineering at Tarleton State University (a member of the Texas A&M University System). He is a board-certified environmental engineer and a licensed professional engineer in the states of Texas, Ohio and Missouri.  In addition to Sigma Xi’s Fresh Faces recognition, he has received the John and Susan Mathes Doctoral Fellowship and the Chi-Epsilon Scholarship for academic excellence. Besides teaching environmental engineering, he is pursuing research in the fate and transport of emerging micro-pollutants such as pharmaceuticals and insecticides. Current studies in fate and transport of neonicotinoid insecticides are largely focused on first generation neonicotinoids. However, Kurwadkar’s ongoing research covers the majority of the widely used neonicotinoids including the third generation neonicotinoids.  Kurwadkar has presented his research at Water Environment Federation Technical Exhibition and Conference, ASA-CSSA-SSSA International Annual meeting, and the 4th International Perspective on Water and Environment Conference. He is actively involved in undergraduate research and promotes environmental engineering education through summer camp activities.



Yan Leyfman (SX 2009)
Even among an elite group of students encountered at Stony Brook University, Yan Leyfman stands out. When Yan saw that Sigma Xi was looking for a new venue to host the Sigma Xi Northeastern Research Symposium, he enlisted the support of university administrators, put together a proposal and assembled a team that ran a very successful conference that showcased the work of top students from across the country in various fields of science and featured presentations by world-renowned keynote speakers, including Drs. Paul Greengard, Grigori Enikolopov and John H. Marburger, III. Dr. Kestutis Bendinskas, NE Sigma Xi Associate Director and Prof. of Chemistry at SUNY-Oswego, reported that “the entire effort and organization was student driven, with Mr. Yan Leyfman leading the effort.”

When Yan wanted to inspire fellow Stony Brook students by exposing them to leading researchers in science, he established, the “USG Lecture Series: Pioneers in the Field” to campus to deliver lectures to students. Yan has a passion for stem cell biology and his contributions to the Botchkina lab have been recognized with co-authored publications and such prestigious research awards as the Parcell Laboratories Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine Award of Harvard Medical School, the Sigma Xi Excellence in Research Award, and the Stony Brook University Undergraduate Recognition Award for Academic & Research Excellence. His research excellence was also recognized by the Barry M. Goldwater Foundation, Council for Undergraduate Research, National Society of Collegiate Scholars, and the New York Times.

Yan graduated from Stony Brook University this past May as Summa Cum Laude with a major in Biology with Research Honors, minor in Chemistry, and was a recipient of the Provost’s and SUNY Chancellor’s Awards for Student Excellence. He plans to continue with his research interests in stem cell biology, and to pursue a medical degree in the near future.     


Roger J. Narayan (SX 2006)
Dr. Roger Narayan is a professor in the Joint Department of Biomedical Engineering at the University of North Carolina and North Carolina State University. He has authored over one hundred publications on processing and characterization of nanoscale and microscale materials, particularly nanostructured materials for biomedical applications. Since 2003, Dr. Narayan has led the development of interdisciplinary undergraduate and graduate teaching programs at Georgia Tech and at the UNC/NCSU Joint Department of Biomedical Engineering.  He is the 2008 North Carolina State University Sigma Xi Faculty Research Award recipient.  Since fall 2009, Dr. Narayan has directed a “Science Saturday” program at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences in downtown Raleigh, NC.  He also serves as an editorial board member for several academic journals, including as editor-in-chief of Materials Science & Engineering C: Materials for Biological Applications.


Tiffany J. Rynearson (SX 2009)
Mrs. Tiffany Rynearson is currently a graduate student at San Diego State University completing her doctoral dissertation in physical analytical chemistry.  She has shown herself to be an exemplary Sigma Xi member through her volunteer activities and outreach efforts with the San Diego Chapter.  She volunteered as a judge at the Greater San Diego Science and Engineering Fair in representation of the chapter.   She went even further to become coordinator of the group’s efforts and eventually served as the official contact for the chapter award choices.  She has already been recognized as an up and coming future chapter officer due to her excellent skills, ideas and persevering outlook.



Joshua Sturmfels (SX 2010)
Joshua Sturmfels graduated Magna Cum Laude from Christopher Newport University in May 2011.  Joshua graduated with departmental distinction from the Department of Psychology and was also awarded the 2010-2011 Joanne S. Squires Award in Industrial/Organizational Psychology. Joshua is now attending the Florida Institute of Technology where he will be working on his M.S. in Industrial/Organizational Psychology.  He wishes to complete the Master’s program and continue his education by pursuing a Ph.D.  Joshua remains an involved member of Sigma Xi by serving on the Qualifications and Membership Committee as its first student member.


Christof Teuscher (SX 2009)
Dr. Christof Teuscher is Assistant Professor in Electrical and Computer Engineering at Portland State University with joint appointments in the Department of Computer Science and the Systems Science Graduate Program. He received his Ph.D. in Computer Science from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Lausanne, in 2004. While there, he received the Cor Baayen Award in 2004 from the European Research Consortium for Informatics and Mathematics. In 2004, he became a postdoctoral researcher at UC San Diego and in 2005 he was awarded a Director's fellowship to study defect- and fault-tolerant nanocomputing architectures at the Los Alamos National Laboratory. His main research focuses on emerging computing architectures and paradigms and is currently funded by two collaborative NSF grants ("Computing with Biomolecules: From Network Motifs to Complex and Adaptive Systems" and "Inference at the Nanoscale").


Lei Yang (SX 2008)
Dr. Lei Yang received the Sigma Xi Outstanding Graduate Student Award from the Brown University Chapter in 2011. He attended the 2010 Sigma Xi North East Regional Research Poster Conference where he won the 1st Place Award. Dr. Yang's research abilities have been noted for his combination of modeling and experiments to understand cell behavior on novel nanostructured materials.



Elsa Youngsteadt (SX 2009)
Elsa Youngsteadt is a programs manager at Sigma Xi, where she co-edits the Science in the News Daily e-newsletter and manages Sigma Xi’s research ethics program. She is also an associate editor with American Scientist and a freelance science writer. She completed a Ph.D. in entomology at North Carolina State University in 2008; her research focused on chemical communication between ants and seeds in Peruvian ant gardens.


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