Current Undergraduates:

Bethany Johnson earned a degree in filmmaking before coming to CCNY to study Biology. She started in the lab in Spring 2019 and is working to improve and expand Wallace software. Bethany is also conducting Honors Research which is focused on combining ecological niche models (ENMs) and remotely sensed forest cover data to improve IUCN red list assessments for Handleyomys chapmani, a rodent that is tightly associated to Mexican cloud forests.


Courtni Holness is an Environmental Engineering major and has an extreme passion for the Earth and the environment. Courtni joined the lab in Spring 2019 and worked with Erica Johnson to test the utility of ecological niche models to predict the distribution of Mexican cloud forests and pine oak forests. Courtni was also awarded the Colin Powell Climate Policy Fellowship where she learned how science can influence climate change policy. She is currently a policy intern at Carbon 180, an NGO focused on developing innovative solutions to reduce carbon emissions.  

Past Undergraduates:


Sarah is a biology major focused on ecology and conservation. She joined the lab in the spring of 2017. During the spring semester, she assisted Beth Gerstner with her research using ecological niche models to predict how the distribution of the olinguito will shift as a result of climate change and deforestation. Sarah worked closely with Jamie Kass on his research that exploring whether including biotic interactions will improve the predictive power of ecological niche models. She also worked with Jamie to develop ecological niche models for two species of South American spiny pocket mice, Heteromys australis and H. teleus.


Jenna Rios worked in the lab in Fall 2016 with Lazaro Guevara on an analysis on how two common Global Circulation Models are used in phylogeographic research on mammals in North America.


Dave Gillman started in the lab in Fall 2015, with immersion into GIS and spatial ecology.  Beginning in Spring 2016, he began research with Jamie Kass on the distributions of spiny pocket mice in South America. He graduated in the summer of 2016.


Maria Gavrutenko began research in the lab in the fall of 2013. Maria grew up in Russia. At, CCNY, she was a biology major and conducted Honors thesis research in the Anderson lab. Maria's thesis estimated current and future suitable areas for the Malagasy rodent Gymnuromys roberti, based on climatic data and land-cover information.  She eventually intends to go on to do a Ph.D. in ecology, with emphasis on applied questions regarding conservation biology or other human impacts on the environment.  Currently, she is beginning a master's project in botany, working with Fabián Michelangeli (New York Botanical Garden) and Amy Berkov.

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Babatunde (Junior) Alade began research in the lab in spring 2013. From New York, Junior is a dual major in mathematics and economics. He enjoys puzzles, and in our lab has explored the intracacies of ecological niche modeling in R. During the summer of 2013, Junior participated in a Research Experiences for Undergraduates internship (funded by a supplement to our NSF grant), working closely with Peter Galante on the automation of model-selection techniques for Maxent.  Their manuscript was selected as Ecography's Editor's choice (Galante et al. 2018).


Robert A. Boria began research in the lab in the summer of 2010.  He worked with recent-graduate Mariya Shcheglovitova and master's student Aleks Radosavljevic to model the potential distributions of two species of small mammals in Madagascar, with funding from the Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation during Summer 2010. Those preliminary analyses formed a key part of the proposal that was funded by NSF.  Subsequently, Robert conducted research with Ph.D. student Eliécer Gutiérrez, again as part of the LSAMP program. Their paper made the cover of Ecography (Gutiérrez et al. 2014). During summer 2011, Robert also conducted fieldwork in Costa Rica led by Mariano Soley-Guardia (Ph.D. student). Robert went on to do a master's thesis in the lab and is currently pursuing his Ph.D. at the University of California Merced.


Jaiho Chang (2009- 2010)

Jaiho (Jay) Chang began research in the lab in the summer of 2009.  He worked on several projects. The first was to help georeferencing occurrrence records of Heteromys from Colombia, to provide occurrence data for future GIS-modeling research.  Jay helped Ph.D. student Eliécer Gutiérrez with analyses examining the completeness of our field inventories in Venezuela. Later, he worked with master's student Aleks Radosavljevic studying the distributions of putative hybrid species of legumes in the Guianas. Jay (now Dr. Chang) graduated from CCNY in June 2010 and subsequently attended veterinary school at the University of Wisconsin, Madison.


Sam Glickman (2009- 2010)

Sam Glickman worked in the lab starting Spring 2009.  A biology major planning to specialize in veterinary science with "exotic" animals, Sam conducted Honors research in avian phylogenetics supervised by Dr. Jeff Groth at the American Museum of Natural History.  His Honors thesis (for which I served as his CCNY mentor) was titled "Molecular phylogeny of the motmots (Aves: Coraciiformes: Momotidae) based on the complete mitochondrial ND5 gene." In addition, he worked in my lab, assisting with many projects. Sam was awarded the 2010 William Stratford Prize from the Department of Biology at CCNY (for the graduating senior or master's student demonstrating the greatest proficiency in research in environmental science). He will be remembered by all his labmates as the best data-proofer ever. Sam graduated from CCNY in June 2010 and later attended veterinary school at Cornell University.


Judith Rivas (2009- 2010)

Judith Rivas began research in the lab in the summer of 2009.  She gained several types of research exposure. First, she helped georeferencing occurrrence records of Heteromys from Colombia, to provide occurrence data for future  niche-modeling research.  Later, she worked with Ph.D. students Mariano Soley-Guardia and Eliécer Gutiérrez collating and interpreting distributional and natural history data on small mammals in northwestern South America. After graduation, Judy planned to pursue applications for professional schools in the health care field.


Jhanine Rivera (2009- 2010)

Jhanine Rivera began research in the lab in the summer of 2009.  She conducted extensive research investigating the benefits of considering natural history information when modeling species' potential distributions with Maxent (working with graduate students Aleks Radosavljevic and Mariano Soley-Guardia). In Summer 2010, Jhanine was selected for an internship with the USGS studying shorebirds in Nebraska. Later, she intensified her research here via a Research Experiences for Undergraduates supplement to our Heteromys NSF grant. She graduated from CCNY Summer 2010 and continued to work with Mariano on the natural-history-meets-distributional-modeling project, on which she is now a co-author (Soley-Guardia et al. 2014). Jhanine subsequently enrolled in the Physician's Assistant program at CCNY.


Darla Thomas (2008- 2009)

Darla Thomas was an undergraduate in the lab from Spring 2008 to Fall 2008.  She graduated from CCNY with a degree in Biology.  A native of Oakland, California, Darla worked on a GIS project associated with our Heteromys NSF grant and Venezuelan field program.  Darla was selected as an Undergraduate Diversity Scholar; this funded her travel to Evolution 2008, where she presented a poster on her GIS research entitled "Do small mammals inhabit novel climatic conditions on the Península de Paraguaná in northwestern Venezuela?"  She also won a travel award from the International Biogeography Society to attend and present this work at the biennial meeting of the Society in Mérida, Mexico in January 2009.  She continued this research as part of a larger effort led by Mariano Soley-Guardia, which is now in review.  Currently, Darla is a student in the New York College of Podiatric Medicine.


Mariya Shcheglovitova (2007- 2010)

Mariya Shcheglovitova was an undergraduate in the City College Fellows program who began working in the lab in the summer of 2007.  Mariya, who grew up in New York City, graduated in June 2010 with dual majors in biology and mathematics.  She completed her Honors Thesis in Biology in May 2009: "A jackknife approach to tuning Maximum Entropy models of species geographic distributions with few occurrence records: tests with spiny pocket mice (Heteromys) in South America." Her research originally was aimed at providing conservation assessments for South American species of Heteromys with small ranges.  This led Mariya to the more-general question of assessing uncertainty in model predictions for species with very few occurrence records, research she presented at the Evolution 2008 meetings in Minneapolis and the biennial meeting of the International Biogeography Society in 2009 (funded by an IBS travel award).  The resulting paper is published in Ecological Modelling (Shcheglovitova and Anderson, 2013). Mariya also participated in our fieldwork in Aragua, Venezuela in April 2008.  Mariya was selected for an REU (Research Experiences for Undergraduates) internship at Humboldt State University for the summer of 2008 and awarded the 2009 Gerald Brenner Scholarship from the Division of Science at CCNY (one of the highest honors bestowed by the Division). Later, she was employed at the University of Kansas, where she conducted research in molecular phylogenetics and bioinformatics; and later at George Washington University working on similar research areas.  In 2014, Mariya was awarded an NSF Predoctoral Research Fellowship, which she took to the University of Maryland, Baltimore County for research in wetland ecology.


Nadir Rana (2006- 2007)

Nadir Rana finished his undergraduate degree in 2007.  He worked in the lab in the fall semester of 2006 and spring semester of 2007.  His independent research project entailed using GIS to model the distributions of spiny pocket mice of the genus Heteromys in Ecuador (coordinating with Sean Claxton, above) and Trinidad and Tobago.  After graduation, Nadir began working as a Pathology Technician at New York Presbyterian Hospital.


Ali Raza (2006- 2007)

Ali Raza worked in the lab as an undergraduate beginning in the summer of 2006.  For the fall 2006 and spring 2007 semesters, he conducted an independent research project modeling the distributions of climbing mice of the genus Rhipidomys in northern Venezuela.  Ali was one of the three winners of the 2007 American Society of Mammalogists' Undergraduate Student Research Award.  Selected based on a written application, the award recognizes students for the originality and quality of research that they will present at the Society's annual meeting.  His talk was titled "Effect of study region for GIS models of distributions and niche overlap in Rhipidomys." Subsequently, Ali conducted master's research in the lab, delving deeper into the same critical topic.


Sean Claxton (2006)

Sean Claxton was an undergraduate who worked in the lab in the fall semester of 2006.  He conducted an independent research project modeling the distributions of spiny pocket mice of the  genus   Heteromys in Ecuador.  These species are restricted to forested habitats, and their distributions have been drastically reduced by deforestation.  Sean is currently a NYPD police officer and plans to continue his academic studies.


Israel Gonzalez (2005- 2006)

Israel Gonzalez completed his undergraduate degree in biology at City College in 2006 after conducting research with Rob beginning the fall 2005 semester.  He used Maxent to study the distribution of an Andean shrew, Cryptotis meridensis in Venezuela (continuing a project begun by Martha Perez and Tiffany Johnson).  His methodological research used C. meridensis to assess optimal settings for regularization (a coefficient that penalizes complex models and represents a safeguard against overfitting) in Maxent.  Israel presented this research at the meeting of the American Society of Mammalogists in 2006, and it is now published (Anderson and Gonzalez, 2011).  Israel received the prestigious 2007 Jonas E. Salk Scholarship, an award that is given based on outstanding academic record, quality of research project, and volunteer work.  Dr. Gonzalez completed medical school at Howard University in Washington, D.C.


Martha Perez (2004)

Martha Perez conducted undergraduate independent-study research during the Fall 2004 semester (GIS-based studies of the distribution of an Andean shrew, Cryptotis meridensis in Venezuela).  Undergraduate student Israel Gonzalez continued this research, building on the base that Martha made.  After graduation, Martha became a student at the SUNY/University at Buffalo medical school.


Iván Plácido (2003- 2005)

Iván Plácido pursued studies in biology and business at CCNY.  He worked in the Anderson lab assisting with several research projects from fall 2003 to summer 2005.  Rob will be eternally grateful to Iván for helping set up the lab when he (Rob) first came to City College (couldn't have done it with out you, my friend). Iván is currently an EMT with the FDNY in the South Bronx.

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