ERC Students

CARERC Students

Claire-Marie Hall
Where you are from: Lexington, KY
What degrees you already have: BSN + Psychology minor
What degree you are seeking: DNP in Executive Leadership Track
Your study interests: Occupational/Environmental Mental Health
Your thesis topic if you have it: N/A
And your goals for the future: I hope to become a leader and champion for improved occupational mental health.    
Callista Vandergriff
Where you are from: I'm from Ada, Oklahoma. 
What degrees do you already have: I have a bachelor's of science in Entomology from Oklahoma State University. 
What degree you are seeking: I'm seeking a Masters of science in Entomology
Your study interests: I'm interested in the surveillance of tickborne pathogens and the role of regulatory hormones in the reproduction and development of Ixodes scapularis. 
Your thesis topic if you have it: I'm working on multiple projects currently, so I haven't yet decided which one will be my thesis topic. 
Your goals for the future: I'd like to continue working with ticks in a PhD program. 
Matthew Russell
Where you are from: Sioux Falls, SD
What degrees you already have: B.S. Water Science, B.S. Environmental Restoration Science, M.S. Natural Resources – Hydrologic Sciences
What degree you are seeking: Ph. D. Biological and Agricultural Engineering
Your study interests: Wetlands
Emerging contaminants: Ecological engineering, Environmental sustainability
Your thesis topic if you have it: Assessing the influence of various agrochemical mixtures in constructed treatment wetland systems. 
And your goals for the future: My goals as a future professional are to facilitate the design and implementation of ecologically derived solutions to solve modern day engineering and natural resource problems. 
Sky Rose
Sky Rose is from Lexington, KY, and has an undergraduate degree in Computer Engineering from the University of Kentucky. He is currently pursuing the M.S. degree in Mining Engineering, researching shuttle car autonomous navigation concepts for application to underground coal mines. The research involves the use of depth cameras for object identification, localization, and path planning for the shuttle car to travel safely to the continuous miner. Sky’s plans after graduation are to use autonomous, or semi-autonomous, navigation methods to reduce miner exposure to health and safety hazards by removing miners from hazardous locations and relocating them to safer locations. 
Zachary Wedding
Zachary Wedding is a master's student in the Mining Health and Safety Core.  Zachary is originally from Buckner, Kentucky, and completed his B.S. degree in mining engineering at the University of Kentucky in May 2022.  After graduation, he decided to continue his education in mining at the University of Kentucky. His research focuses on rock mechanics and geomechanics, and his thesis topic covers the strength of irregularly shaped underground pillars. The stability of underground pillars is critical to the safety of miners.  Zachary plans to enroll in the PhD program in mining engineering and continue his research in rock mechanics and geomechanics.   
Lauren Shields
Lauren Shields is originally from Lexington, KY, and completed her B.S. degree in mining engineering at the University of Kentucky in 2017.  She is currently pursuing the Ph.D. degree in the CARERC Mining Health and Safety Core.  Her research interests include explosives and blasting as well as mineral beneficiation.  Her dissertation topic is modeling underground blast fragmentation for use in the mine-to-mill strategy, which aims to reduce blast hazards and allow for the optimization of both blast design and explosive load.  Her goal is to complete her dissertation and pursue a career as a university professor teaching the next generation of mining engineers.  
William Rud
I am originally from Smiths Station, Alabama where I lived until moving to Auburn for my undergraduate degree. I obtained my Bachelor of Biosystems Engineering from Auburn University where I first started researching within ecological engineering on algal turf scrubber systems as part of my undergraduate research fellowship. I moved to Kentucky to start my master’s degree and research with Dr. Tiffany Messer this year. My research focuses on the fate and persistence of nanopesticides in wetlands and agroecosystems. I plan to continue my education with doctoral degree in ecological engineering focusing on pollution treatment and water quality. Following that I plan to create a career as a professor where I can continue to do research and teach the next generations of scientists and engineers.  In my free time I like to backcountry camping, cooking, and volunteering within the scouting program.
Alonta Linton
I’m Alonta’ Linton first generation college student work to achieve my MPH with EHOS. I’m working toward my last year in my masters program. Currently, interning at SEARHC in Sitka Alaska working to help the community in food, water inspection, and N-95 data collection. I still involved with Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity INC. to promote and services the community in uplifting, empower, social action, education. My end goal is to love my job and be happy!
Amanda Moore
Where you are from: Louisville, KY What degrees you already have: BS Fire Protection Engineering, BS Criminal Justice What degree you are seeking: MS Safety, Security & Emergency Management Your study interests: Fire Protection, Emergency Management, Occupational Safety  Your thesis topic if you have it: Firefighting Foams for Industrial Hydrocarbons: Ensuring the Best Path Forward And your goals for the future: Become a reliable source for fire protection and investigation information for the company I work for globally. 
Jessica Knittle
Where you are from: Williamsport, PA
What degrees you already have: BA Chemistry/Biology
What degree you are seeking: MS SSEM
Your study interests: Health, Safety and Environmental Leadership, HSE Planning & Strategy (Corporate)
Your thesis topic if you have it: Empowering leadership positively influences employee engagement in safety
And your goals for the future: HSE Director and/or Vice President focusing on strategic implementation of HSE Programs (Corporate), Professor at EKU or other University offering remote learning for HSE.
Justin Yount
My name is Justin Yount and I am from Henry County KY. I graduated from the University of Kentucky with a degree in Career and Technical Education in 2019. I taught agriculture at Anderson County High School for four years before deciding to come back to the University of Kentucky to pursue my Masters Degree in Community and Leadership Development. My current study interests involve anything that focuses on making agriculture a safer endeavor. 
Kelly McFarland
Where you are from: Georgetown, KY
What degree you already have: BA in Career and Technical Education 
What Degree you are seeking: MS in Community, Leadership Development 
Your study interests: Mental health within the agricultural industry
Your goals for the future: I would like to stay within agriculture health and safety. I am not sure what that looks like right now, but I am excited to see where I go next.
Katrina Clontz
Where you are from: Mesa, Arizona
What degrees you already have: B.S. Agricultural Technology Management and Education
What degree you are seeking: M.S. Community and Leadership Development
Your study interests: During my past year at the University of Kentucky I have enjoyed blending my background in agricultural education with agricultural safety and health. One area that I have become quite involved in is farmer mental health and suicide. I look forward to expanding my research experience this next year as I finish my program. 
Your thesis topic if you have it: I plan to study the use of Caring Cards on farming communities' mental health and sense of belongingness. Caring Cards have been utilized within veteran communities to increase contact between individuals and have shown to have positive outcomes on mental health and behaviors. If this project shows similar trends, Caring Cards might be a useful way for community members to intervene in areas with poor access to health care. 
And your goals for the future: I hope to graduate May of 2024 and find a position where I can have a positive impact on my community. I hope to stay involved in research and may pursue a PhD in the future.