Stupka Scholars

Meet This Year’s Stupka Scholars!

Scroll down to see a list of all Stupka Scholars.


Caroline Meis

Caroline Meis is a sophomore majoring in biochemistry with minors in Spanish and pharmacology/toxicology. Caroline joined Dr. Dipa Sashital’s lab in 2022 and studies how CRISPR-Cas systems differentiate self from non-self. She currently serves as Publicity Chair of the Stupka Committee. Outside of BBMB, Caroline enjoys playing piano, reading books, and playing tennis on the Iowa State Competitive Club Team. After graduating from Iowa State University, Caroline plans to attend graduate school to pursue a Ph.D. in Medicinal Chemistry.

Avani Laharia

Avani is a junior majoring in biochemistry. She is the merchandise chair of both the Stupka Planning Committee and BBMB Club. She has been working in Dr. Dipali Sashital’s lab as an undergraduate researcher since her freshman year. Her project studies retron systems, a type of bacterial defense system against bacteriophages. After graduating from Iowa State, she plans to attend medical school.

Braden Lewis

Braden is a junior majoring in biochemistry and minoring in microbiology. He is currently the Alumni Chair of the Stupka Symposium Planning Committee. He also acts as Outreach Chair in the BBMB Club, a Peer Mentor for the BBMB Learning Community, and a teaching assistant in the BBMB teaching labs. He works as an undergraduate research assistant in Dr. Aubrey Mendonca’s lab studying the effects of atmospheric cold plasma in food decontamination. Braden plans to pursue a Ph.D. after graduation and eventually run his own lab as faculty.






Past and Present Stupka Scholars


NameYear*Degree(s)/institution(s) (if not ISU)Current position
*Fall of academic year "Stupka Scholar” title was conferred
Claire Kruesel2006B.S. Biochemistry, B.S. GeneticsBBMB Undergraduate Program Coordinator, ISU
M.F.A. Creative Writing and Environment (Poetry)
Mara (Determan) Alexeev2007M.D. University of IowaBiomedical Informatics Research Fellow, Harvard
M.P.H. UC-Berkeley
Luke Helgeson2008Ph.D. University of OregonScientist, SystImmune, Redmond, WA
Mina Farahbakhsh2009Ph.D., M.D. University of KansasPediatric Residency, Children’s Mercy Hospital, MO
Dayna Peterson Forbrook2010Ph.D. Arizona State University
Jacqueline Souleyrette Rivas2011Ph.D. University of Texas S.W. Research Scientist, Kita Pharma, Santa Monica, CA
Craig Brown2011M.D. University of ChicagoGeneral Surgery Resident, University of Michigan
M.Sc. Public Health
Johanna Jass Bailey2011B.S. BiochemistryField Research Lead, Global Citrus, Elemental Enzymes, FL
M.P.H. University of Missouri
Mollie Tiernan Schubert2011B.S., M.S BiochemistryStaff Scientist, Integrated DNA Technologies, IA
Samson Condon2012Ph.D. UW-MadisonPostdoc, UW-Madison
Alana Jackson2012M.D. University Minnesota-DuluthPrimary Care Physician, Confluence Healthcare, WA
Kinsey Cornick2013D.O. Des Moines UniversityFamily Medicine Resident, Lincoln Family Medical Group, NE
Jennifer Kaczynski Meyer2013B.S. Biochemistry, GeneticsGenetic counselor, Minneapolis, MN
M.S. Genetic Counseling UW-Madison
Kristen McKibben2013Ph.D. University Pennsylvania School of MedicineSr. Scientist, Novartis Institutes for Biomedical Research, Cambridge, MA
Denis Tamiev2014B.S., Ph.D., BiochemistryPlatform Scientist, Enveda Biosciences, Boulder, CO
Zachary Young2014B.S. Biochemistry, Mechanical Engr.Senior Researcher, OK Medical Research
Flora Yen Wheat2015D.D.S. University of IowaGeneral Dentist, Ankeny Smiles, IA
Adrienne Smith15,16B.S. 2016In memoriam
Morgan Barrett Ewing2016B.S. Biochemistry, B.S. GeneticsDNA criminalist, Crime Laboratory, MO State Highway Patrol
M.S. Forensic Science, U New Haven, CT
Natalie Whitis2016B.S. BiophysicsPh.D. candidate, UCSF
Lauran Chambers2017B.S. BiochemistryMedical school, A.T. Still University of Osteopathic Medicine, MO
Alexander Donelson 2017B.S. BiochemistryPursuing graduate training
Drew Tonsager2017B.S., M.S. BiochemistryPh.D. candidate, Biochemistry, CO State University
Matthew Cook2018B.S. BiochemistryPh.D. candidate, Molecular Biophysics & Biochemistry, Yale University
Jacqueline Ehrlich2018B.S. Agricultural BiochemistryGraduate training, Cornell University, NY
Emily Knuth2018B.S. Agricultural BiochemistryGraduate training, UW-Madison
Bailey Mooney2018B.S. Biochemistry, GeneticsMedical school, UCLA
Spydel Nardy2019B.S. BiochemistryGraduate training, University of IA
Kayla Uthe2019B.S. BiochemistryCardiology research, Mayo Clinic, MN
Sarah Zelle2019B.S. Biochemistry, GeneticsGraduate training, Vanderbilt University, TN
Madeline Farringer2020B.S. BiochemistryGraduate training, Harvard, MA
Jacob Schmieder2020B.S. BiochemistryGraduate training, Mech. Engr., ISU
Richard Weerts2021B.S. BiochemistryEntering medical school in fall 2022
Paiton McDonald2021B.S. Agricultural BiochemistryCo-Chair ’22
Tulika Sharan 2021B.S. BiochemistryCo-Chair ’22
Liam Campin2021B.S. Biochemistry
Kevin Beaghan2022
Michelle Morford2022