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Biology - Alumni

Our alumni are accomplishing many things as they pursue their careers. Please visit Alumni News below to see what people are up to.

Our alumni are important to us in the Department of Biology. To help us stay in touch please make sure we have your current contact information. Contact us at 912.344.2566 or drop us a note at biology@armstrong.edu to give us an update about what you doing. 

Alumni News

Jeff Graham 1990:  Just completing my 23rd year of teaching most all sciences in high school but mostly Biology and AP Biology.  Was selected Chatham County Teacher of the Year in 2003.

Chris Rustin 2000:  After graduating from Armstrong, I became an Environmental Health Specialist for the State of Georgia working at the Evans County Department of Public Health.  I transferred to Effingham County Department of Public Health and became to County Environmental Health Manager.  I obtained my Masters in Safety and Environmental Compliance from Georgia Southern University in 2004 and transferred to Chatham County Department of Public Health and was promoted to Director of Environmental Health.  In 2008, I accepted a promotion and moved to the State Department of Public Health to become the Deputy Director of Environmental Health for the State of Georgia.  I recently graduated from Georgia Southern University's, Jiann-Ping Hsu College of Public Health with my Doctor of Public Health.

Damon Moore 2002:  After graduating from Armstrong, I worked a brief time with Chatham County Mosquito Control then moved back home to Bradenton, Florida where I worked in environmental consulting for eight years, assisting clients with environmental restoration, planning, permitting, mitigation, and compliance issues related to protected habitats and wildlife.  In 2011 I was hired by Manatee County's Natural Resources Department.  My primary function with a fantastic group of people is working on habitat restoration and enhancement projects in Manatee County's Preserves.

Crystal Bass 2006:  After earning my Bachelors of Science in Biology at AASU, I worked for almost 4 years (over 400 days at sea) as a Marine Fisheries/Marine Mammal/Protected Species Observer for the National Marine Fisheries Service. While employed as an observer, I also had the opportunity to work with NOAA and BP to monitor the cleanup efforts in the Gulf of Mexico after the BP Deepwater Horizon Mississippi Canyon 252 oil spill.  Currently I am earning my Masters of Science in Marine Biology at Nova Southeastern University.  For my thesis research, I will be studying the vocalizations of bottlenose dolphins in the context of mirror exposure and a mirror self-recognition test involving a novel marking method.  Most recently, I was selected to be a participant in the SeaBass Bioacoustics Summer School Program at Penn State.  After completing my Masters, I plan on continuing my education with a Ph.D. focusing on the bioacoustics of marine mammals.

Scarlett Fuller 2006:  After graduating my husband and I moved from our house in Richmond Hill to northeast Georgia and settled in Habersham County where I worked at Tallulah Gorge State Park for a season then was offered a full-time position as the City of Gainesville’s brand new Water Conservation Specialist (that’s Gainesville, GA not FL) during the historic 100 year drought of 2007 on Lake Lanier. After 3 years in this capacity, I set my sights on a Master’s degree and was offered a Graduate Research Assistantship at UGA working with Dr. Marsha Black at the College of Public Health, Environmental Health Science Department. There I spent 2 years researching pharmaceutical contamination of oysters in Coastal Georgia. We detected ibuprofen and the leading ingredient in birth control, ethynylestradiol, as well as triclosan in oyster samples off the coast of Brunswick. Once I finished my Master’s of Science degree from UGA, I took a position as Watershed Coordinator for Hiwassee River Watershed Coalition based out of Murphy, NC, but my work was focused on Lake Chatuge in Hiawassee, GA. There I implemented a $289,000 Lake Chatuge Watershed Action Plan funded by GA EPD’s 319 Grant Program.
I left Hiawassee and headed west to Thompson Falls, Montana…extreme north WEST Montana. We spent the most amazing year surrounded by the Rocky Mountains and making new friends. There I took a part-time job working for Monarch School in Heron, MT, a therapeutic boarding school for teens.  When a family emergency abruptly called us back East, we settled back down in Habersham again and built a little house on some acreage and had our son, Xavier. I worked part-time at the Soque River Watershed Association, again supporting another amazing local non-profit in their efforts to preserve and protect GA’s streams and rivers. 

Wil Griffen 2007:  Beginning in the fall 2012, I will be teaching Environmental Science and Biology II at Effingham County High School in Georgia.

Matt Richardson 2007:  After graduating I traveled a little bit. I went from the American virgin islands to Cape Cod to Alaska. I returned to Savannah where I was the local service manager for a corporate lawn care company "Trugreen" which mainly focused around horticulture and the mixing of fertilizers/chemicals to achieve desired results amongst other responsibilities. I currently work as a commercial route manager for the corporate pest control company "Orkin". Also I am at the beginning stages of possibly buying into a franchise to start my own business in interior landscape designs...

Erin Brown (Formerly Erin M Lorenz) 2008:  I was accepted into the College of Veterinary Medicine's Class of 2015 at The Ohio State University.  I am currently in the third quarter of my first year and loving every minute!  While my interests are fluid as I go through the program, I am now focusing on food animal medicine especially bovine.  Since joining the CVM at Ohio State, I have become a Student Ambassador for the college as well as the treasurer for the Alpha Chapter of Alpha Psi Fraternity, a veterinary professional fraternity that focuses on community service.  My favorite experiences so far in the program include: ultra-sounding sheep for pregnancy, palpating cows, and going to my first OSU football game in the Horseshoe!

Mario Muscarella 2008:  After graduation from Armstrong I took a position as a research technician at the University of Georgia Marine Institute working with Drs. Melissa Booth and Mary Doherty.  During my two years as a technician I worked on many projects including those for the Sapelo Island Microbial Observatory and the Georgia Coastal Ecosystems LTER.
I am now a Ph.D. student in the lab of Dr. Jay Lennon at the Kellogg Biological Station at Michigan State University in the departments of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics and Ecology, Evolutionary Biology and Behavior.  Microbial ecology is a diverse field and requires a broad background.  My current research involves the role of heterotrophic microbial communities in aquatic ecosystems.  More specifically, I am interested in how microbes are using terrestrial derived carbon resources.  My goal is that this research will help link microbial diversity (community assembly and functional potential) to ecosystem processes such as carbon cycling greenhouse gas emissions and food-web dynamics.

Sheree Sheppard 2008:  After graduating from Armstrong with my BS in Biology, I continued to pursue a career within my educational field.  For the past 4+ years, I have worked for the Armstrong Liberty Center as a biology and math tutor, a biology lab technician, and a Biology 1107 and 1108 lab instructor.  During this time, I have also worked as a camp counselor with Savannah State University with their Marine Science Department (Coast Camp / NOAA).  And for the past year I have worked with University of Georgia as a research assistant with the Marine Science Extension program, which entails a partnership with the Liberty County Department of Environmental Health.  I have recently accepted a position with the Glynn County Department of Environmental Health as a Environmental Health Specialist.  I will miss my Armstrong family!!  I have learned and experienced a lot attending and working for Armstrong.

Thomas Hamlin 2009:  Shortly after earning my Bachelor of Science in Biology at Armstrong, I accepted a job as a Private Lands Biologists for the US Fish and Wildlife Service, which I did for one year and I an currently the Complex Biological Science Technician for the US Fish and Wildlife Service in Louisiana.  I work on the Southwest Louisiana Refuge Complex which consists of Cameron Prairie NWR, Sabine NWR, and Lacassine NWR.  I am also working on my Masters in Wildlife Science with an emphasis in sustainable military land mangement from Texas A & M.

Misty Lycett nee Gooding 2009:  After graduating from Armstrong, I took a temporary teaching job in New Orleans, LA.  I got married in June 2010 to H.K. Lycett.  After my temporary assignment I started working at South Georgia College in the STEM Center preparing study guides for Biology students.  I also now hold an associates degree in middle grades education.  I just had the honor of doing a six-month professional internship for the Walt Disney World Company in Orlando, FL.  As a Conservation Educator Presenter at Disney's Animal Kingdom, I talked with guests about the animals, ran ineractive kids discovery clubs, as well as promoted wildlife conservation.
I am looking forward to the next adventure my life is going to take me, while at this moment I don't know where that will be.  I know that wherever it is, its bound to be one filled with fun, teaching, and science.

Scott Morgan 2009:  I am currently attending the Mercer University School of Medicine at the Savannah campus.  As part of the class of 2014, I am in my second year getting prepared to take step 1 of the USMLE the summer.  After that I will move on to my 3rd and 4th year hospital rotation before graduating and starting in a residency program.

Jaimi Paschal 2009:  I am currently working as the Dean of Student Services at a junior college in California and I am set to graduate with my Masters Degree in Organizational Leadership in July 2012.

Lora Walczak 2009:  I've been working at the Cytogenetics Laboratory at Georgia Health Sciences Medical Center in Augusta, Georgia for 3 years.  I have been the Senior Technologist for 1 year now.  I co-authored an abstract on the impact of shortened hybridization times for PML/RARA fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) to get results faster for critical treament related decisions.

Jullian Bradley (Carter) 2010:  I graduated from Augusta University (formerly Medical College of Georgia) in 2015 with a Ph.D. in Biomedical Sciences. My thesis was on the effect of nutrient stress-sensing molecules in anti-helminth immunity. I have since taken a post-doctoral position at VCOM (I get to teach 10 hours of medical school classes as well as research! The perfect mixture! =p) My work here is looking at the effects of Ebola virus glycoprotein on different immune cells. I have 5 co-author publications and I’m working on my first first-author publication.  

Lucia 'Tiffany' Burgess 2010:  After graduating with my Bachelors from Armstrong in 2010, I attended Georgia Southern University and graduated with my MS in Biology (focusing on behavioral endocrinology of ring-tailed lemurs, Lemur catta). This research examined the relationship between androgens (male sex hormones) and female social hierarchy in lemurs, leading to the realization of estrogen’s acute affect on primate social-dominate behavior in both sexes. Currently, I use my behavioral and academic background to aid in providing quality customer service as an auto sales associate at Franklin Toyota in Statesboro, GA. I appreciate my hometown education and pledge to be an Armstrong Pirate for life! Live strong for Armstrong!!

Jodi Wilson nee Champion 2010:  I have recently been hired on with the Effingham County Board of  Education.  I will be teaching 9th grade Biology and 11th grade Environmental Science at Effingham County High School here in Georgia.  I am so excited to begin this chapter in my life.  Without all the help and encouragment from my Armstrong professors, I wouldn't be celebrating today.  I have so much gratitude and respect for them all!

Michael Baran 2011:  As of April 1, 2012 I am Officially a West Coast Groundfish Observer contracted by the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS).  The week before St. Patrick's day a three week training began in Newport, OR.   There was a total on nine of us, and two of the of the nine were Armstrong Alumni.  Myself and Eric Moore (although he graduated several years before me).  Upon completion of a grueling four hour fish test we each collected sampling, survival and, rain gear and headed off to our assigned home ports.  Mine is the ever-so-small town of Port Orford, OR (population 1200).
The fieldwork training of the course prepared us to take random samples of discard from each gear typed vessel.  Whether it be rod and reel, longline, pots, or trawl.  In the randomly selected sample of discarded fish we must identify each down to species level all while attaining lengths and weights.  The data collected onboard is then entered into a database and used down the line to help NMFS determine limits for individual species.
I would have never made it this far without the faculty and staff of the Armstrong Biology Department.  Thanks to each and everyone of them for their care and support in and out of the classroom.

Justin Colwell 2011:  I'm currently a project coordinator in the Hope Clinic laboratory of Emory University.  I've been here since 2012.  It is a leading translational vaccine research clinic.  I work in the lab processing whole blood samples, isolating plasma, serum, and peripheral blood mononuclear cells so that they can be frozen and sent off for testing.  I'm also getting my MBA from Georgia State University.

Amber Cordry 2011:  Teach For America members work relentlessly to increase educational trajectories, influence educational legislation, and bring equity to low-income communities so that all children may have the ability to cultivate their own, personal brilliance and achieve at the highest levels.  As a 2012 Teach For America Newarks Corps member teaching tenth grade high school biology, I will be an advocate for these children - helping them to close the achievement gap and beat the culture of low expectations on the path towards educational equity. http://www.teachforamerica.org

Nikita Desai 2011:  I was accepted to the University of Incarnate Word Rosenberg School of Optometry in 2012 in San Antonio, TX and recieved a $2000 scholarship for my academic excellence.   I have now completed my first year at the school of Optometry.

Kian Morris 2011:  After a tour in Iraq in 2003, I returned to Savannah and was fortunate enough to get accepted in Armstrong.  I am currently in the Physician Assistant program at Nova Southeastern University in Jacksonville.  I graduate in 2013 and am hoping to work in oncology surgery.  Some of the happiest times in my life were spent in the classrooms of Armstrong.

Guulianna Calvo 2012:  Thank you so much for all your help!!  I was accepted into the Epidemiology Masters in Pulic Health program at University of South Florida.

Michael Fogam 2012:  I am currently attending the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine for a one year Masters in Physiology program.

Blake Jones 2012:  After earning my Bachelors of Science in Biology at AASU, I was accepted to dental school at Georiga Regents University in Augusta, Georgia to purse my DMD starting in the fall 2013.  Post-graduation in May, I took a teaching position at Calvary Day School teaching Biology, Anatomy and Physiology, and Health; until the start of class in the fall. 
I can not speak more highly of the Armstrong Biology Department.  The education is second to none and they do an unbelievable job of preparing students for their desired profession.  They also take time to invest in the lives of each of their students, which has had a tremendous impact in my life.  I am very thankful for my time spent at Armstrong and for everyone who I shared those memories with.

Archana Patell 2012:  I have been accepted into the Master's in Biology Program at Indiana University - Prudue University Indianapolis (IUPUI).

Teffany Reaves 2012:  After graduation in May, I set off to Vero Beach, Florida for an internship at Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute working with dolphin photo-ID to observe the population in the Indian River Lagoon.

Samantha Schwartz 2012:  I accepted a job offer for a research position in the Biochemistry Department at Emory University in Atlanta.  My research will focus on the regulation of protein synthesis by the double-stranded RNA-activated protein kinase PKR.  This research is funded by a grant and will last a minimum of two years - then I am off to graduate school!

Christine Bottomley 2013:  After learning about ecological issues while majoring in Biology at Armstrong, I knew I wanted to work in the field of environmental protection.  I recieved a full scholarship to Vermont Law School to pursue a JD/MELP (Juris Doctor/Masters in Environmental Law and Policy) and will begin classes in August 2013.

Lakir Patel 2013:  The reason I chose Armstrong was because I wanted to attend a university where I can have day-to-day interactions with professors and have hands on experience in the labs.  While at school I participated in several organizations such as Phi Iota Alpha Fraternity.  I also was one of the founding members of Armstrong's Pre-Pharmacy Club.  I got the opportunity to intern in the pharmacy at St. Joseph's Hospital and have also been working at Wal-Mart as a Pharmacy Technician. This fall I will start school at Saint Joseph School of Pharmacy located in Hartford, CT.

Adam Parker 2013:  I was awarded the Noyce Masters Scholarship to pursue my graduate degree in Fall 2013.  Since late 2015 I have been working at Forge(x) Corporation and am currently the Executive Vice President of Operations.  Fairly soon our CEO will be training and promoting me to CFO if all goes well!  I was recently made a co-owner of our businesses as an equity shareholder.  We own and operate 5 local Savannah businesses:  The Guild Hall - a “gamerspace” where gamers, nerds and geeks can come spend their spare time, The Chromatic Dragon - a “gamerpub” where we serve delicious food and drink in addition to complementary video games and board games, Jolly Goblin Games - downtown Savannah’s only friendly local game store, 8-Bit Donuts (will open late Q1 2017) - a 1980s themed donut/coffee shop and retro arcade, and finally Savannah ToGo - a restaurant delivery service.  Our businesses have been growing rapidly and The Chromatic Dragon has been a HUGE success.  We will be expanding to other markets in the United States starting as soon as this year.
My time spent at Armstrong has benefited me greatly in this position.  All of the data collection and analysis skills I learned from the biology and chemistry departments that are so crucial to the sciences have been invaluable to my success.  Even without formal training in business all the skills I’ve learned at ASU have helped to get me where I am today.

Morgan Sapp (Greenlee) 2013:  I work at a microbiology company in Marietta as a lead laboratory technician. We test medical devices and pharmaceuticals both before and after they have been sterilized. We ID the organisms that grow on them and figure out how to kill them.

Hunter Seabolt 2013:  I am currently pursuing my M.S. at Georgia Southern, researching the systematics and evolutionary history of ticks.

NEWS:

Read More Armstrong to Host Robert I. Strozier Faculty Lecture by Dr. Paul Dunn on Sept. 22

(September, 18, 2017) – Armstrong State University will host a free lecture by Dr. Paul Dunn, an assistant professor of biology. The lecture, "Change Can Kill: What Barnacles Can Teach Us About Dying Young," will explore the mystery of why so many living organisms die young, despite the clear disadvantage of doing so,using barnacles as model organisms. This event is free and open to the public.

Read More Armstrong Student Selected for National Society of Black Engineers Scholarship

(June 21, 2017) – Armstrong State University Cell and Molecular Biology major Chelsea Sawyer has been selected to receive a scholarship from the Savannah Coastal Empire Professional Chapter of the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE). 

Read More Turtles Go Wild: TERPS Students Release Diamondback Terrapins on Tybee Island

(May 18, 2017) –Armstrong State University student members of the Terrapin Educational Research Program of Savannah (TERPS) recently gathered on Tybee Island to release 17 diamondback terrapins into the wild. The state-protected turtles hatched from eggs rescued on Highway 80 last summer.

Read More Armstrong Biology Senior Selected for National Science Foundation Summer Research Opportunity at UC Berkeley

(April 6, 2017) – Rising Armstrong State University senior Haley Breanne Kodak has been selected as one of 10 students to participate in the National Science Foundation Research Experience for Undergraduates program at the University of California (UC), Berkeley. From June 4 through Aug. 11, Kodak, a first-generation college student and Biology major, will live on campus at UC Berkeley and work on an individual biology research project with a faculty member.

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