The International Presidential Fellows program was designed to introduce leading graduate students and visiting scholars to ongoing pathbreaking research at CSU, to develop their leadership potential in the international sphere, and to help build bridges to other researchers across the entire CSU campus. In 2015-2016, there were 25 International Presidential Fellows representing 19 countries at Colorado State University.

Duygu Akalp is a second year graduate student in the Department of Construction Management at Colorado State University. She received her undergraduate degree in electrical engineering from Yildiz Technical University, Turkey. Prior to commencing her graduate studies at Colorado State University, Duygu worked as a senior cost estimation engineer for a leading electrical sub-contractor company in Turkey. Her research interests include strategic decision-making in construction companies, organizational culture, work-life balance, and strategic human resource management practices. Duygu is recently developing a bid/no bid decision making tool which will provide practical solutions to the questions of (i) whether to bid on a project or not and (ii) which project(s) to bid on given a few candidate projects for Colorado oriented companies. In the long term, she would like to expand this idea and create a universal bid/no bid decision tool for international companies.

Hala of Jordan is a Fulbright Foreign Language Teaching Assistant (FLTA) program grantee serving as teaching assistant in Arabic. She finished her undergraduate studies in Spanish and English Language and Literature from the University of Jordan in Jordan. On her third year, she was granted an ERASMUS MUNDUS scholarship to study for an academic year at The University of Granada in Spain; this experience played a major role in building her character, enriching her cultural background, enhancing her communication skills and helping her see the world with new eyes. “Learning about other countries and cultures is best done through lived experience and immersing oneself in the culture”.

Hala earned her Master’s Degree in Translation and Interpretation from The University of Granada in Spain. After getting back to Jordan, she worked at the University of Jordan as a Spanish Lecturer and Research Assistant. The following two years she worked for The European Union as a Language Assistant (Translator/Interpreter *Spanish-English-Arabic* and Project Coordinator) for The European Twinning Project “Strengthening The Capacities of the Audit Bureau of Jordan” through the consortium of Spain, Netherlands and Estonia. She can speak three languages (Arabic, Spanish, English) and is currently building up her knowledge of a forth language (French). She loves music, sports, travelling and sharing her culture and rich experiences with people from different countries.

Mirna is a Fulbright Scholarship master’s degree student in cell and molecular biology in the Chemical and Biological Engineering department. She is from Iraq. Mirna represents the Assyrian ethnicity (a group of people who speak neo-Aramaic language). Her family is originally from the north of Iraq but she studied for her bachelor’s degree in Baghdad in biology (concentration in ecology). She did research on algae diversity in the Tigris River and will be doing research related to the improvement of bio fuel produced from algae in Dr. Kenneth F. Reardon’s lab at CSU.

Mirna had the chance to participate in the Iraqi Young Leaders Exchange Program in 2011 at CSU with a focus on environmental awareness. She went back home and shared what she learned from this program by volunteering in a women’s college giving workshops and lectures about leadership and cultural values between Iraq and America for groups of women that were planning to study abroad. She also worked in the College of Science for Women where she had administrative duties arranging conferences, translating, communicating between the U.S. Cultural Affairs in the U.S Embassy in Baghdad and the College of Science for Women to coordinate activities such as the English Club. Mirna also gave dining etiquette classes and in the college, where she issued her first booklet in dining etiquette.

In her free time Mirna likes learning new languages, taking online courses in social psychology, learning about and analyzing population and individual human behaviors, singing, acting, fashion designing, and culinary arts in general.

Brian graduated from Miami University with a B.S. in Electrical Engineering and a B.A. in Mathematics. It was there that he began his research on the use of Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS) for remote sensing of the Earth atmosphere. Soon after graduating, Brian moved to Colorado State to continue his studies under direction of his mentor Dr. Jade Morton. He is currently pursuing his Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering.

While born and raised in Ohio, United States, the global nature of Brian’s research has him interacting well beyond US borders. In the of summer 2014, Brian lived and worked in Lima, Peru as part of the Jicimarca Radio Observatory International Research Experience program. He works on a research team that deploys GNSS receivers to geographically diverse locations such as Greenland, Singapore, and Hong-Kong, and he recently returned to Peru for a deployment as well as to attend an international summer school on incoherent scatter radar. When he is not traveling, doing research, or in class, he enjoys playing guitar and running long distances.

Anna Carin Carisson joined Dr. P. Shing Ho’s group in the Department of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology in early August as a postdoctoral fellow, funded by the Wenner-Gren Foundation for one year. Her research is focused on studying halogen bonds in proteins. Halogen bonds are interactions between electron donors (e.g., nitrogen, oxygen, and sulfur) and electropositive halogens (fluorine, chlorine, bromine, and iodine). An understanding of biomolecular halogen bonds is particularly important in medicinal chemistry, and in the development of new pharmaceuticals.

Anna grew up in the small town of Degerfors in Sweden. In 2001, she earned her Swedish M. Sc. degree in Chemistry from Uppsala University. As an undergraduate chemistry student, in mainly organic chemistry, biochemistry, and medicinal chemistry, she spent a significant time studying abroad. Anna was an exchange student at the University of Sussex, UK for six months, and carried out her M. Sc. thesis project in organic and medicinal chemistry at Monash University, Australia. Before she started her graduate studies, she worked a few years at the former Swedish pharmaceutical company Biovitrum as a synthetic chemist.

For her graduate studies, Anna investigated halogen bonds, the so called [NXN]+ halogen bonds, in small molecules in solution with Dr. Máté Erdélyi in the Department of Chemistry & Molecular Biology, University of Gothenburg. She also did a six-month research visit at Villanova University, USA, studying the symmetry of halonium ions with Dr. Brian K. Ohta. After earning her Ph.D. degree in Chemistry, with an emphasis on medicinal chemistry, from the University of Gothenburg in 2012, she continued to study the [NXN]+ halogen bonds in the Erdélyi group as a postdoctoral researcher. Since her Ph.D. defense, she has gone on two short research visits, both in Canada; one in biochemistry at the University of British Columbia, and the other in physical-organic chemistry at Queen’s University.

Anna has a genuine interest in chemistry, especially in fields where chemistry meets biology. Working in international environments, travelling all over the world, and learning about other cultures are also her passions. She lives in Fort Collins with her husband and two daughters. So far they all love Colorado, the amazing Rockies, and Fort Collins’s friendly atmosphere.

Danny Colodro graduated with honors from the Universidad Privada Boliviana in La Paz, Bolivia with a bachelor’s degree in Commercial Engineering. She worked for two years as a Business Advisory Consultant at EY. While studying for a post-graduate diploma in Santiago de Chile, she became aware of the opportunities involved in corporate social responsibility and sustainable entrepreneurship. Through this experience, Danny learned how and why individuals and organizations decide to pursue business opportunities with social and environmental components while seeking economic returns. With the knowledge and skills acquired through the Global Social Sustainable Enterprise MBA program at CSU, Danny hopes to encourage people and companies to develop sustainable practices.

Liji Mary David is from Varanasi, one of the oldest cities in the world, in India. She has a doctorate in Physics, 2013, and was an ISRO Fellow at The Space Physics Laboratory, Indian Space Research Organization, India. Her research focused on lower atmospheric trace gases and their chemistry over the Indian sub-continent and surrounding ocean using observational data. Thereafter, Liji joined the Ministry of Earth Sciences in India as a Project Scientist and worked on numerical weather prediction models. She was also selected for the INSPIRE Faculty Award by the Ministry of Science and Technology in India. In the process, she got an offer to do postdoctoral research in Atmospheric Science with Professor A R Ravishankara at Colorado State University and moved to Fort Collins in February 2015.

Liji’s current research involves the modeling of tropospheric ozone using the global three-dimensional chemical transport model over the Indian subcontinent, a region with rapid growth in industrial, urbanization, transportation and agricultural activities. The outcome of this work will be used to recommend implementing environmental policies over the Indian subcontinent and neighboring countries.

In her free time, Liji enjoys spending time with her three-and-a-half-year-old son Ethan.

Trung Do is a Ph.D. candidate in structural engineering in the Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering at Colorado State University. He had 3 years experience teaching bridge design and being a senior project advisor at the University of Danang, Vietnam. He came to the US in 2011 and started his Ph.D. at the University of Alabama as a Vietnamese International Education Development (VIED) Fellow. A year later, he transferred to Colorado State University to continue his degree. Trung is currently serving as the president of the Vietnamese Student Association at Colorado State University (VSA-CSU). His student association has a population of about 50 members, including undergraduates, graduate students, and scholars. As a graduate research assistant, he is working on hurricane surge and wave loadings on elevated coastal structures, a collaborative research project with Oregon State University funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF). His research is also focused on fatigue related problems for wind turbine towers.

Kenny was raised on the small island of St. Lucia and had the opportunity to live in 5 different countries spanning the Caribbean, Europe and North America, becoming fluent in 3 languages and learning a 4th. HIs most recent stop was in Canada where he enrolled in a bachelor’s degree program at Niagara College, studying International Commerce and Global Development. During his time there, Kenny served as an elected member of the student council, was a peer mentor and an international student ambassador. He was active in representing the student community in academic, social and community affairs, and was awarded the Rotary Youth Leadership Award because of his efforts. A month after graduation, he welcomed his first child and began working as a Financial Advisor with one of Canada’s major 5 banks.

Kenny recently joined the GSSE program in the hope to gain the knowledge and skills needed so that he can work with or create an organization that focuses on the economic development of his home, the Caribbean region. Since coming to CSU in September, he has become involved on campus and is currently a member of the Graduate Student Council, a Senator of ASCSU representing the Graduate School and an executive member of the CSU chapter of Net Impact.

Dominik is a graduate student studying Financial Risk Management and a graduate assistant in the Department of Finance & Real Estate at CSU. He grew up and finished his undergraduate studies (Bachelor’s in Finance with the Rector’s Award of Mendel University) in the Czech Republic. Dominik’s bachelor’s thesis was about the differences between the monetary policies in the U.S. and the Eurozone, written in English. He was able to learn about some of the fundamental differences between the financial systems on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean, including different legislation, governing bodies and attitudes.

Dominik studied for one semester in Spain (Cordoba, Andalucia) and worked in Cataluna and Comunidades Valencianas for a total of three summers. He also worked as a lifeguard for two summers in Colorado, USA and participated in the International Spanish Theatre Competition in Moscow, Russia (2011). He can speak three languages fluently and enjoys sharing memories and experiences with people from different countries.

Quy Van Khuc is a Ph.D. candidate in the department of Forest and Rangeland Stewardship. He is originally from Nam Sach, Hai Duong, Vietnam. Quy received his B.A. in Social Forestry in 2006 at Vietnam Forestry University (VFU), and his M.S. degree in Agricultural Economics in 2013 at Colorado State University (CSU). He then received a scholarship from the Vietnam Education Foundation (VEF) to continue in a Ph.D. program in Forest Science at CSU.

As a graduate research assistant, Quy is working on research that integrates ecology, economics, and GIS into forest restoration in Vietnam and the U.S. He is also collaborating with many colleagues in Vietnam, Thailand, Belgium, Canada, and Italy to publish the research outcomes.

Quy is very interested in political, socio-economic, and educational issues. So far, he has written some articles that aim at sharing his point of view on education reform in Vietnam. He is active in social activities held by the Vietnamese Student Association (VSA) at CSU. Quy is also co-founder of the TAD foundation which focuses on educational support for poor children in remote areas of Vietnam. His hobbies are reading, history, literature and composing poems.

Min-Kyung (“Min”) Kim is from Seoul, South Korea. Born in Freiburg, Germany, she lived there until her kindergarten years and went to Korea to receive her primary education in her home country. When she was a junior in high school, her father visited CSU for 1 year as a visiting professor at the Department of Philosophy and that’s how first she came to Fort Collins.

Min is a CSU graduate with a B.A in Communication Studies (08′) and is currently in her second year of an M.A. program in the same department. Her area of interest is in organizational communication and intercultural communication, primarily focusing on the organizational members’ emotional experiences and the role of communication in their organizations. This year she is working on her thesis research about South Korean social workers and how they communicate their emotions and how this influences their communication and organizational experiences. Through this research she hopes to encourage more open dialogue about emotions in organizations to ensure employees’ emotional well-being as well as acknowledging the importance of communication.

Min is also an instructor for Public Speaking for undergraduates at CSU. Teaching and public speaking are her life passions and she loves interacting with students on campus as well as immersing herself in various research that many seminal scholars have conducted.

Prior to her return to CSU, Min worked in various non-profit and private organizations as a PR account executive, working with a number of major global corporations such as LG, SKF, Philips, and Chadwick International. She also taught English to Korean students and served as a simultaneous/consecutive translator in a number of global conferences, events and media interviews.

A wide array of organizational experiences enriched her academic endeavors at CSU and the hands on insights became invaluable assets to her research. With the education she received at CSU, Min hopes to enlarge my professional spectrum as the “cultural broker” in various global organizations. She also wishes that the communicative insights and skills she obtained at CSU can be leveraged further to generate stronger awareness that communication is an essential part of our lives.

Whenever she has free time, Min enjoys playing the violin, swimming, learning foreign languages, and reading for leisure. She is also a huge advocate for animal rights and loves spending time with her golden retriever Sammy whenever she is visiting Korea.

Anita is a Ph.D. student in the department of Bioagricultural Sciences and Pest management, where she also works in the weed science field.

Originally, Anita is from a small town close to Düsseldorf in Germany. She earned her bachelor’s degree in Ecological Impact Assessment from the University of Koblenz in Germany. During her studies, she developed an interest in the interactions of synthetic chemicals and biological organisms. Anita continued on to work for her master’s degree in Environmental Chemistry and Health at the University of Copenhagen in Denmark and wrote her thesis at the University of California, Riverside in the field of aquatic toxicology. Many of her research projects have allowed her to travel to fascinating places like Ecuador, Rwanda and Greenland. Just last year Anita moved to Fort Collins, Colorado to continue her education here at Colorado State University.

Anita’s current research focuses on the evolution of herbicide resistance in weeds. She is specifically investigating the mechanisms of resistance in Indian hedge mustard and Palmer amaranth which cause yield reductions due to crop competition in Australia and the U.S., respectively. Her project aims to find candidate genes that are involved in conferring herbicide resistance with the goal to optimize weed management practices and minimize economic losses for farmers.

Shen Lu is currently a second year master’s student in Food Science, with research focusing on the lipid regulation effects of Fuzhuan, a fermented tea. She started at CSU in 2012 as a transfer student, and graduated with a B.S. in Food Science and Human Nutrition in the spring of 2014. She always loved the beautiful nature and the wonderful people in Colorado, and decided to stay at CSU to pursue her master’s degree, and also contribute back to this community.

Jaruwan is a Ph.D. candidate in the Chemistry Program at CSU under the supervisor of Prof. Charles Henry. Currently, she is conducting research on the development of microfluidic paper-based analytical devices to analyze the composition of particulate matter such as reactive oxygen species and heavy metals. This fabrication takes the advantages of portability and low cost.

Jaruwan graduated with a B.Sc. (Chemistry) and an M.Sc. (Applied Analytical and Inorganic Chemistry Program) from Mahidol University, Thailand. She had the opportunity to do research in cooperation with the National Nanotechnology Center, Thailand. She also received a scholarship from the Development and Promotion of Science and Technology Talent Project to study abroad. This grant lets her increase her experience, open her mind, and broaden her perspective for her science life and is the driving force to encourage her to utilize science to help develop our country. Jaruwan believes that in this era of globalization, science work is global work, and that together we can facilitate development and achieve goals.

She was a volunteer to raise money for the charity for the flooding crisis in Thailand in 2011. Jaruwan enjoys playing Thai music in annual festivals in her hometown and spends her free time taking photos.

Sarah Miller is a Ph.D. candidate in the Bioagricultural Sciences and Pest Management department. Her research focuses on understanding how plants combat drought stress to facilitate the development of water-wise crops in the face of a changing climate and an increasing worldwide population. Sarah previously taught high school science and it was during that period that when she became concerned that many students were unaware of agricultural issues and where their food came from beyond the grocery store. She decided that she wanted to go to graduate school to study agriculture and to improve the awareness of global sustainability issues in this discipline. Currently, she is working with Dr. Courtney Jahn and the Bioenergy Feedstock Improvement Program, which considers the multidisciplinary nature of crop improvement. She uses Sorghum bicolor, a globally important food that is a forage and fuel crop regarded for its drought tolerance, to better understand this whole-plant response. Then she measures above and below ground growth and biochemical characteristics under irrigated and drought-stressed conditions. Miller is particularly interested in the response of root growth, indicative of drought tolerance and water-smart plants. Additionally, she developed a method to characterize root exudates in sorghum (chemicals released by roots to acquire nutrients and interact with soil microbes and soil types) that contribute towards overall plant health. Her goal is to become a professor with a research focus to identify plant traits that lead to more sustainable agroecosystems and to teach future generations about the importance of global agricultural sustainability.

Vine Mutyasira is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics. He is from Zimbabwe, where he received his B.S. and M.S. degrees from the University of Zimbabwe before moving to the United States for his Ph.D. studies. Vine’s research interests center on the interface between agricultural production and natural resources. His current research focuses on sustainable intensification of smallholder farming systems, and seeks to unpack the drivers and process that shape farmers’ incentive to intensify the production in ways that enhance economic, social and environmental sustainability. He also seeks to explore the role of policy and institutional instruments and incentives in nudging farmers towards sustainable paths of agricultural intensification, through increased investments in resource-saving, climate-smart and resilient farming systems.

Evgeniya Pyatovskaya was born and raised in Seversk, Russia. She graduated from a musical and art school when she was a teenager. In high school, Evgeniya became interested in international and intercultural relations. That was the reason she went on to study international relations at the International Relations Faculty of Tomsk State University. She started traveling when She was 19, visiting the USA as part of the Work and Travel Program. During her university years, Evgeniya started teaching English and after graduation, decided to pursue a teaching career. She started as a teacher at an international language school in Tomsk.

Over the last five years she has worked for two state universities and one of the national banks teaching English and doing research on neuro-linguistic programming as a way of teaching a second language. She loves traveling, learning about new cultures and sharing her own culture with the world. She believes that learning languages and learning about other cultures is a great way to establish mutual understanding and preserve peace.


Louis is originally from France, where he completed a B.S. in Earth Science at the Ecole Normale Supérieure (ENS) in 2013, a first-ranked higher education institution in Paris. This curriculum allowed him to collaborate with leading scientists at the National Center for Atmospheric Research when he began his M.S. program at ENS in 2014. His strong interest in atmosphere and climate dynamics qualified him for the Ocean, Atmosphere, and Remote Sensing M.S. program at Pierre and Marie Curie University (UPMC) in Paris.

During his time at UPMC, Louis pursued international collaboration with the department of Atmospheric Science at Colorado State University, where he is currently working towards a doctoral degree. His research interests include tropical cyclones in the frame of the coupled troposphere-stratosphere system and will lead him to cultivate his skills internationally.

Jacob Salcone is working towards a Ph.D. in Human Dimensions of Natural Resources with Dr. Kelly Jones. In June 2015 he joined an interdisciplinary research team funded by the National Science Foundation to evaluate payments for ecosystem service programs in Mexico. For the past two years, Jacob has worked for the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) in Oceania, calculating the economic value of marine and coastal ecosystems to help inform marine resource management decisions in Pacific Island countries. Jacob holds an M.S. in Agricultural and Resource Economics from Colorado State University and a B.A. in International Sustainable Development from the University of California, Santa Cruz. Prior to joining IUCN, Jacob conducted community development research in California and South America and has helped rural communities in the US with water and sanitation planning and development. Jacob is an Americorps VISTA alumni and grew up in the Black Hills of South Dakota.

Maibam Singh is a student from India pursuing his Ph.D. in neuroscience under Dr. Gregory Amberg in the Department of Biomedical Sciences at Colorado State University. He has been a part of CSU since Fall 2013. Singh has an undergraduate degree in pharmacy from Rajiv Gandhi University in Bangalore, India. He also earned his master’s in biomedical sciences from Idaho State University, where he did research on drug-protein interaction in induced drug transport and its role in cancer treatment. Currently, he is doing research to decipher novel molecular pathways that can make neurons in the brain undergo early degeneration and develop neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, etc.

Doing research has been an introspective journey for Singh, as he came to realize during the process how important it is to carefully observe things and ask the right questions, not just in science but in almost every aspect of life. Being able to be a part of the International Presidential Fellows Program and explore ongoing research at the University with Dr. Frank and fellow like-minded students and scientists is an opportunity he is very glad to have. He believes it’s a great venue for networking and potential research collaborations.

Ezequiel Fernandez Tschieder is a second year Ph.D. student in the Graduate Degree Program in Ecology from Argentina. He graduated with a degree in Forestry from La Plata National University and then completed a Master of Science in Natural Resources at Buenos Aires University, Argentina. In his home country, he has a position at the National Institute for Agricultural Technology (INTA), and is an assistant in the Department of Silviculture at La Plata National University that he will resume after completing his Ph.D. As part of his Ph.D., he is working with Dan Binkley and his research is focused on the production ecology and management of forests plantations. Ezequiel is attempting to understand how the resource use, the resource use efficiency, and growth dominance relates to the size of trees and to the structure of the stand in forest plantations. The broad sense of his research is to link the Silviculture with ecological processes.

Dongxiao Yang is a Ph.D. student from China and a visiting scholar in the College of Business at Colorado State University. He majored in statistics for his bachelor’s degree at Shandong University and due to his excellent grades, he was then admitted into the master’s program in financial engineering at Shandong University without an examination. While studying for his master’s at Shandong University, he transferred to Tilburg University in the Netherlands where he received his master’s degree with distinction and honors in quantitative finance in 2014. After that, during his second year in a Ph.D. program in Shandong University as a finance major, he became a visiting scholar at Colorado State University and was awarded the Chinese Government Scholarship in 2015.

Dongxiao’s research interests are theoretical finance. He has one paper with Professor P.M. Kort: “Firms’ Investment Decision under Uncertainty: A Study Based on Dynamic Circular City Model,” accepted by The 10th Conference on Industrial Economics and Economic Theory. He then extended his interests to empirical quantitative finance, using financial models to analyze price movement, especially in the field of price dynamics and volatility of assets. Now he is working with Dr. Hong Miao on a paper titled “Index Futures: An Angel or a Devil? — The role played by the index futures on the Chinese Stock Market.”

Ultimately, Dongxiao would like to study the price movement of financial assets. Also, he is looking forward to building connections between CSU and Shandong University all the time, hoping more Chinese students can have the chance to study in CSU and more US international students can study and become familiar with China.

Dr. Shaozeng Zhang is a Special Assistant Professor in the Department of Anthropology at CSU. Dr. Zhang is originally from P. R. China. He received his B.A. degree in sociology and M.A. degree in anthropology from Peking (Beijing) University, China in 2004 and 2007 respectively, and his Ph.D. degree in anthropology from the University of California, Irvine in 2014. He also worked as a Junior Visiting Scholar in the University of Brasilia, Brazil from 2010 to 2011.

As a cultural anthropologist, Dr. Zhang has been consistently researching environmental issues in global contexts, primarily focusing on grassland desertification in northwestern China and tropical deforestation in Brazil. His recent work was specifically focused on the policy evolution of an environmental financial mechanism REDD+ (Reduction of carbon emissions from deforestation and forest degradation) in Brazil in the context of the ongoing global climate changes and the emerging global carbon markets. In his research career so far, he has developed collaboration with academic and environmental institutions in the U.S., Brazil, Indonesia and China. Dr. Zhang has published his research in multiple languages and in journals such as “Ecology and Society”.