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NSM Graduate Student Advisory Board

The NSM Graduate Student Advisory Board serves as a liaison between the NSM graduate students and the Dean’s Office. It provides a safe platform where graduate student issues can be discussed freely and where two-way communication between the College and the graduate student community can occur efficiently. Members of the advisory board also help organize events and initiatives to enhance the graduate experience in the College.


Meagan Carney

Meagan Carney
Department of Mathematics

mewoodford@uh.edu

I received my bachelor’s degree from the University of Texas at San Antonio, and I am currently a Ph.D. student in the mathematics department. My research interests include dynamical systems and probability theory and applications. More specifically, the work I am completing with my advisor Dr. Matthew Nicol examines and establishes statistical properties of extreme events in chaotic systems.

Blake Day

Blake Day
Department of Chemistry

bday@central.uh.edu

I am a first-year graduate student in the Department of Chemistry. I received my Bachelor of Science in Chemistry from Oregon State University in 2018. I work with Dr. Jakoah Brgoch, and my research is focused on utilizing data-driven machine learning prediction and first-principles electronic structure to guide experimental synthesis of novel super-hard materials. The current spectrum of synthetic high hardness materials requires resource-intensive synthesis and cost-prohibitive materials, like iridium (which is a fascinating element, but extremely sparse as its presence on Earth is due primarily to meteorites). I am trying to find materials that overcome these barriers in order to make them more feasible to be utilized outside of the laboratory while getting a better understanding of what makes a material mechanically “hard” along the way. Outside of the lab, I look for ways to share my passion for chemistry and materials with others while also finding opportunities where I can grow my educational skills and advocate for sensible innovation in collegiate chemistry curricula.

Spencer Havis

Spencer Havis
Department of Biology & Biochemistry

swhavis@uh.edu

I completed my B.S. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology in 2014 from Benedictine University and decided to further my academic career at the University of Houston. I am now a fifth-year Ph.D. student pursuing my degree in Biochemistry in Dr. Steven Bark’s lab. Working collaboratively with Dr. William Widger and Dr. Mehmet Sen, my research aims to identify the molecular mechanism underlying bacterial dormancy and stress survival. A greater understanding of these processes could provide novel therapeutic targets to combat antibiotic resistance and chronic bacterial infections.

Paolo Parotto

Paolo Parotto
Department of Physics

pparotto@uh.edu

I am from Torino, Italy, where I completed my undergraduate studies and an M.Sc. in physics, before coming to Houston for a Ph.D. I am now in my fourth year working with Professor Claudia Ratti. The field of my research is high energy theoretical nuclear physics, which mainly aims at understanding the behavior of matter under conditions of extreme temperature and/or density. These are the conditions in which the whole universe found itself in the very first instants after the Big Bang (high temperature), or the ones in the interior of ultra-compact neutron stars (high density). Understanding the transition between the high energy phase of matter, called quark gluon plasma, and its ordinary state is still an open question, and is the main goal of my research. A better understanding of this transition could give insight in the evolution of the universe and galaxy formation, and answer some of the most fundamental questions in particle physics and cosmology.

Nikolaos Sarafianos

Nikolaos Sarafianos
Department of Computer Science

nsarafia@central.uh.edu

My friends call me Nikos, and I'm a fifth-year Computer Science Ph.D. student advised by Prof. Ioannis Kakadiaris. I obtained my diploma in Electrical and Computer Engineering from the National Technical University of Athens. My research interests lie in the intersection of Deep Learning with Computer Vision. In the past two summers, I've interned as a research scientist at Amazon, Alexa and Facebook Reality Labs (Oculus Research). I'm a strong advocate for promoting female involvement in Computer Science and have volunteered at the Grace Hopper Celebration for women in computing and as an instructor at Girls Who Code.

Tyson Smith

Tyson Smith
Department of Earth & Atmospheric Sciences

tmsmith14@uh.edu

Since receiving my B.S. in 2005 from Central Connecticut State University, I have spent my time in the geologic engineering and petroleum industries, as well as earning a M.S. from the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill. I am now in the 4th year of my Ph.D. program here at the University of Houston. Under my advisor Joel Saylor, I broadly research mountain growth within the interior of North America (i.e., intraplate deformation), and how that mountain growth affected local and regional drainage networks. My research investigates the sedimentary, stratigraphic, geochemical, and structural record of these phenomena, while employing a suite of field and laboratory tools. In general, learning and sharing drive my passion for geology, and I look forward to a career in the sphere of education and research.