Three Hollins students will join GCC faculty for undergraduate research in summer 2022

May 5, 2022

The Hollins Partnership program, initiated in 2017, provides summer research experiences with Global Change Center faculty at Virginia Tech for select Hollins undergraduate students, with the explicit goal of identifying possible mentor-mentee connections/relationships for their future graduate training. Students will gain summer undergraduate research experiences through the Fralin Life Sciences Institute’s Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) Program, in conjunction with University-wide activities organized by the Virginia Tech Office of Undergraduate Research. The program has been on hold since 2020 due to the pandemic, and we are excited to resume this unique graduate student recruitment and training opportunity on campus again in 2022.

Join us in welcoming the following Hollins students to Virginia Tech this summer for undergraduate research experiences with GCC faculty Drs. Chloé Lahondère (biochemistry), Lisa Belden (biological sciences) and Ashley Dayer (fish and wildlife conservation)!

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Aqsa Fazal

Aqsa is a rising senior majoring in chemistry with a concentration in biochemistry and a minor in biology and physics. She will be working Dr. Chloé Lahondère‘s Lab on a project dealing with mosquito-borne diseases. More specifically, she will focus on Culex territans mosquitoes which feed primarily on amphibians and will study the pathogens they carry and transmit to these animals. Aqsa is excited to grow her research experience and skillset at Virginia Tech this summer to aide in her ambition to pursue graduate studies in the future.

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Olivia Sacci

Olivia is a rising junior, biology major, and chemistry minor on the pre-veterinary track at Hollins University. Building on experience working with amphibians in both a clinical and zoological setting, her  research with Dr. Lisa Belden will focus on the symbiotic microbial communities that reside on amphibian skin as well as the microbiome-parasite interactions in honey bees. With aspirations to enroll in a dual DVM/Ph.D. program after her undergraduate studies, Olivia is excited to grow her skillset to support veterinary-based research.

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Jessica Willebeek-LeMair

As a rising senior majoring in Environmental Science, Jessica has recently spent the spring 2022 semester studying abroad in Tanzania through the Hollin’s Field Studies program. She is very excited to work in Dr. Ashley Dayer’s Human Dimensions Lab this summer where she will assist in utilizing data from wildlife viewer surveys to write scientific reports.  In addition to growing data analysis and scientific writing skills, this research opportunity will provide Jessica a different social perspective on environmental conservation issues relevant to the Appalachian region. 

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