Students

Caitlin Ahrens

Caitlin Ahrens

Mentor: Dr. Vincent Chevrier
Emailca006@uark.edu

Caitlin is a graduate of West Virginia University with B.S. degrees in Geology and Physics with an emphasis in Astrophysics. Caitlin entered the graduate program in Space and Planetary Science in Fall 2015. Her Ph.D. research includes cryo-geology and spectroscopy of Pluto using the Pluto Simulation Chamber and also works on Martian mineral spectroscopy. She is the manager of the Pluto Lab..


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Ellen Czaplinski

Mentor: Dr. Vincent Chevrier
Email: ecczapli@uark.edu

Ellen graduated from Purdue University in 2016 with a B.S. in Planetary Science and a concentration in geology. Her undergraduate research involved creating a global survey of slipface features on martian sand dunes. She entered the Center for Space and Planetary Sciences graduate program in Fall 2016 as a Ph.D. student. Ellen’s current research involves using the Titan simulation chamber to constrain the composition and spectral properties of evaporite deposits on the surface of Titan. In her free time, Ellen enjoys hanging out with her dogs, playing board games, and desserts.


Kendra Farnsworth

Kendra Farnsworth

Mentor: Dr. Vincent Chevrier
Emailkkfarnsw@email.uark.edu

Kendra graduated from Texas A&M University in 2014 with a B.S. in Environmental Geoscience with a track in climate change and minors in Meteorology and Geography. Her background involved studying Paleoclimatology using stable isotopes. Now, she is a PhD student in the Space and Planetary Science department studying the freezing of hydrocarbons under simulated Titan surface conditions. She is the Titan team chair.


Holly Farris

Holly Farris

Mentor: Dr. Vincent Chevrier
Emailhnfarris@uark.edu

Holly is a PhD Candidate who entered the Space and Planetary Sciences program in Fall 2012.  She graduated with a bachelor's degree in Physics from Albion College and is an alumna of the Space Center REU Program 2011.  She is currently working on a project funded by a NASA MFRP grant to study the stability of adsorbed water at the surface of Mars, as well as the transfer of water vapor between the regolith and atmosphere.  Her research is conducted through experiments in a Mars simulation chamber, modeling, and mission data analysis. She also conducts field work in the hyper-arid core of the Atacama Desert, Chile to study microbe survivability through deliquescence-driven brine formation.


Michael Fusco


Michael Fusco

Mentor: Dr. Julia Kennefick
Emailmsfusco@uark.edu

Michael graduated from Colgate University in 2013 with a B.A. in Astrogeophysics. He entered the graduate program in Space and Planetary Sciences in autumn, 2013. Currently, Michael works with the Arkansas Galaxy Evolution Survey (AGES) collaboration. Within this group, his research is centered on the morphology of spiral galaxies, and focuses on selection effects and biases in measuring the galactic logarithmic spiral arm pitch angles.


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Paul Knightly

Mentor: Dr. Vincent Chevrier
Email: jknightl@uark.edu

Paul is a 2013 graduate of Wichita State University with a Bachelor of Science in Geology. He joined the Space and Planetary Sciences program in Fall 2016 as a PhD student after working in industry as an environmental field geologist. His research interests are primarily focused on Mars and studying the morphology of polar landscapes and how water brines impact near sub-surface environments.


Rebecca Mickol

Rebecca Mickol

Mentor: Dr. Timothy Kral
Email: rmickol@uark.edu

Rebecca is a graduate of the University of Colorado at Boulder with a bachelor’s degree in both astrophysics and ecology & evolutionary biology. She entered the graduate program in Space and Planetary Science at the University of Arkansas in Fall 2011. Rebecca has been a TA for the Summer Science Program, and interned at both NASA Goddard Space Flight Center and NASA Kennedy Space Center. Her dissertation research focuses on methanogen growth under martian conditions. She has also been an active member of the space science outreach organization, S.P.A.C.E. Hogs, since its inception. 


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Cameron Nunn

Mentor: Dr. Timothy Kral
Email: cknunn@uark.edu

Cameron graduated from the University of Missouri- St. Louis in the spring of 2016 with a B.S. in Physics with emphasis in Astrophysics. During her undergraduate studies, she helped research organic volatiles in comets by reducing and analyzing spectra, which has astrobiological implications. She is currently working on research concerning Enceladus and its potential for life.


Sara Port

Sara Port

Mentor: Dr. Vincent Chevrier
Email: saraport@uark.edu

Sara graduated from Stony Brook University with a Bachelor's of Science in Astronomy and Physics. She entered the Center for Space and Planetary Sciences as a graduate student in the Fall of 2014 and is pursuing a PhD in Space and Planetary Sciences. She is currently studying the formation of "metal frost" on the highlands of Venus through experiments, radar data analysis, and thermodynamic modeling. She is the current President of the U of A space science outreach organization, S.P.A.C.E. Hogs


Maxwell Silver

Maxwell Silver

Mentor: Dr. Vincent Chevrier
Email: mmsilver@uark.edu

Maxwell is a graduate of Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, Washington with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Geoscience. He entered the University of Arkansas Center for Space and Planetary Sciences in the Spring of 2016. Maxwell's research background includes Holocene climate change analysis utilizing oxygen isotopes found in central Texas speleothems, and the analysis of bathymetric changes and their drivers in Commencement Bay, Tacoma, Washington.


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Rachel Slank

Mentor: Dr. Vincent Chevrier
Email: rslank@uark.edu

Rachel graduated from the University of Texas at El Paso with a Master’s of Science in Geology in 2016. She focused on discovering subsurface cavities on the Moon using thermal inertia. Rachel double majored in Geology and Earth Science at the University of Arkansas in her undergrad and graduated in 2013. She is currently working on studying the stability of adsorbed water at the surface of Mars, as well as the transfer of water vapor between the regolith and atmosphere. Her research is conducted through experiments in a Mars simulation chamber located on campus.


Mathew Sylvest

Matthew Sylvest

Mentor: Dr. John Dixon
Email: msylvest@uark.edu

Matthew is a graduate of Texas A&M University with a Bachelor’s of Science in Mechanical Engineering, focusing on Thermo and Fluid Dynamics. After serving in the US Navy Civil Engineer Corps, he returned to Texas A&M to study Computational Fluid Dynamics. Matthew entered the graduate program in Space and Planetary Sciences Fall 2011 after spending several years as a software consultant.


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Andrea Wallace

Mentor: Dr. Alan Mantooth
Email: akwallac@uark.edu

Andrea graduated from the University of Arkansas with a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering in 2016. She is now a graduate student in the Space and Planetary Sciences PhD program. She works as a research assistant in the Electrical Engineering department. Her field of research is extreme environment electronics and she is currently interested in the development of high temperature electronics for the future Venus missions.


Kim Zoldakblank

Kim Zoldak

Mentor: Dr. Julia Kennefick
Email: kzoldak@uark.edu

Kim is a graduate of California University of Pennsylvania with a Bachelors of Science in Meteorology.  She entered the Space and Planetary Science program in the Spring of 2010.  Her dissertation research has two parts: 1) On the fundamental plane of black hole activity, estimating the masses of black holes at the center of active galaxies.  2) Exploring the energetics of gamma-ray bursts using data from the Fermi Space Telescope.  She is specifically interested in the observational biases in how isotropic equivalent energies are measured and what the true meaning of the energy is.  Kim has interned at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, was a NASA Space Science Student Ambassador from 2010-2012, and is very active in educational outreach across NW-Arkansas.