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Student Profiles

"King helped me truly find my voice and purpose in this world.”
Austin Pantaleo, DMAD Student
Traditional Students

STEM Student Profiles

Building on previous work in Dr. Vaughan and Dr. Fitsanakis’ labs, Alex investigated the neuroprotective ability of nicotine to prevent neurodegeneration development due to pesticide exposure in microscopic nematodes as a model to understand Parkinson’s Disease development in humans.

Alex is a Burke Fellow, NIMBioS presenter and SOT UDP Awardee. She is also a member of the women’s soccer team.

A May 2019 graduate, Amanda participated in a summer research experience at Northeast Ohio Medical University in Dr. Vanessa Fitsanakis’ research lab and continued her work at King under the direction of Dr. Kelly Vaughan. Using microscopic nematodes (worms) with a mutation that alters molecular components, the possibility of pesticides used in farming and agricultural settings influencing Parkinson’s disease development was assessed.

Amanda is a Burke Fellow, SOT research presenter, and a SOT undergraduate travel award winner & NIMBioS presenter. Amanda is also the 2018-2019 president of King Women in STEM and is in the process of interviewing for doctoral programs.

Austin developed his project with the Virginia Department of Fisheries with guidance from Professor Josh Rudd. The impacts of salinity levels and exposure to Mussel glochidia (baby mussels) was studied. In the future, the interactions of road salt alternatives will be investigated on this organism.

Austin is a Burke Fellow, and he is continuing his research this academic year. Austin is a NIMBioS presenter, is a member of the band, and is applying for graduate programs.

Working with Dr. Bill Linderman in the Research in Mathematics course addressed questions in Ramsey theory, a sub-discipline of Graph Theory. In a sense, the Ramsey number is a threshold that guarantees a particular structure or order out of chaos. They were able to determine the Ramsey numbers for families of trees with large diameter, which means that the greatest distance between two points in the graph is large. Their work is in development for publication and Elijah presented his research at the JMM in January 2020.

Elijah was a NIMBioS attendee in 2018. He is also a nationally ranked member of the men’s wrestling team and is applying to graduate school.

A Fall 2019 Graduate, Jerryn was a History major / Biology minor. She was selected as King University’s Fall 2019 Student Convocation Speaker and has received offers from several NASA sites for internships. She will be interning for 16 weeks at Johnson Space Center in Houston working on projects in the International Space Station Program Science office, in outreach, and on a comprehensive history of the program on the 20th anniversary.

Jerryn has been accepted to Auburn University doctoral program to study the history of science. Jerryn was featured in the Bristol Herald Courier Hometown Stories (front page) on December 23, 2019.

A May 2019 graduate, Jess utilized microbiology and water quality testing techniques to test the health of on-campus waterways to better understand the possible implications on student health. Jess worked under the direction of Professor Josh Rudd.

Jess is a Ledford Scholar, was a captain of the women’s swim team, and was SGA vice president. Jess is currently pursuing her Masters of Public Health in Epidemiology at ETSU.

Working under the supervision of Dr. Kothapalli, Keely and Tyler, using x-ray diffraction technology, invested the pressure dependence of the structure of skutterudites—a CoAs3 based mineral found in Norway. Skutterudites exhibit interesting behavior, including magnetism and superconductivity, and have been studied for their electric properties. This work aims to elucidate the pressure dependence of its structure.

Keely and Tyler are Burke Fellows and attended NIMBioS in 2018.

A May 2019 graduate, Tyler researched applications of the Monte Carlo method for problem solving. Working with Dr. Linderman on a question that arose during a class project, Tyler was able to develop a Monte Carlo method to solve the problem “What is the chance that a dart thrown at a dartboard will hit a triangle of arbitrary size given two points of the triangle lie on the dartboard’s edge, given the third point lies somewhere within the circumference of the dartboard, given that the dart is guaranteed to hit somewhere on the dartboard.” The solution generated by this work has been selected for publication in an upcoming issue of Mathematics Magazine.

Tyler is a NIMBioS presenter.

Kelly’s project, “the effects of BPA exposure (a component in plastic products) and its replacement BPF”, was assessed on the reproductive potential of a model organism and was developed in the lab of Dr. Kelly Vaughan. Results of this study will help elucidate if bisphenol compounds are safe for human exposure.

Kelly has also participated in a summer research experience at Northeast Ohio Medical University in Dr. Vanessa Fitsanakis’ research lab. Using a microscopic soil nematode, the connection between pesticide exposure and neurodegeneration—specifically in nematodes with a mutation in the cell death pathway—was investigated.

Kelly is a two-time Burke Fellow and a two-time Eastman-NETSACS award winner. She is continuing her research this academic year and working toward her Honors in Independent Study in Biology and is an UMBC & NIMBioS presenter. Kelly is a Pfizer SOT Undergraduate Travel Awardee, the 2019-2020 president of King Women in STEM, and has been accepted to multiple doctoral programs.

Lauren invested the connections between core instability and prior lower extremity injuries (or no prior injuries) in college athletes. She is a Ledford Scholar and developed her project under the direction of Dr. Scott Landis.

Lauren was accepted to multiple Physical Therapy doctoral programs and will be attending Emory and Henry.

Using a microscopic soil nematode and information from previous investigations, Macarena investigated the pathway for lipid accumulation after exposure to non-nutritive sweeteners in the lab of Dr. Kelly Vaughan.

Macarena is a Burke Fellow and is continuing her research this academic year and working toward her Honors in Independent Study in Biology. She is an UMBC & NIMBioS presenter, a Pfizer SOT Undergraduate Travel Awardee, and is also a captain of the women’s swim team. Macarena has been accepted to multiple doctoral programs.

Using bacterial strains with gene deletions, Morgan investigated the relationship between gene mutation and antibiotic resistance using microbiology techniques.

Morgan participated in a federally funded (NSF) Summer Research Experience for Undergraduates and was a (REU) participant at Texas A&M University. Morgan is an UMBC & NIMBioS presenter and is a member of the women’s golf team.

A May 2019 graduate, Nastasha built on a previous student’s project to examine the effects of exposure to non-nutritive sweeteners (like Splenda) on lipid accumulation in the model organism C.elegans in the lab of Dr. Kelly Vaughan.

Nastasha is Burke Fellow as well as a presenter at the Eastman-NETSACS and NIMBioS. She is working in the medical field and is in the process of applying for Medical School after being wait-listed last year.

A May 2019 graduate, Noah—using computational physics and processes—assessed the efficiency of mathematical models to illustrate disease mechanism and outbreaks, specifically the SIR model. In addition to developing a model, a comparison between the SIR and other disease models was made. He worked with Dr. Chip Fay of Emory & Henry College.

Noah is a Burke Fellow and two-time NIMBioS presenter and is currently teaching mathematics and coaching at Tri-Cities Christian.

Adult and Graduate Students

“I felt like King met all the needs for an adult learner that was trying to reintegrate into the world of academics while simultaneously working and taking care of children”
Emily Pritt, Adult Undergraduate Program (AGS), Business


Audrey Arndt
Audrey Arndt
Martinsville, Va.
Interdisciplinary Studies/Elementary Education
Chase Arndt
Chase Arndt
Chattanooga, Tenn.
Chemistry and Youth Ministry
Johanna Morales
Johanna Morales
Bristol, Va.
Warren Payne
Warren Payne
Knoxville, Tenn.
Business and Economics