Current CMB GAANN Teaching Fellows:

2016/17 Fellows

Kaitlin Doucettekaitlin

Kaitlin Doucette is originally from Big Lake, Minnesota.  She attended college at Winona State University in Winona, MN while consistently working two jobs during her entire undergraduate career.  She graduated from Winona State in 2014 with a double major in biochemistry and Spanish, and has always been interested in using her knowledge of other languages to expand her teaching abilities beyond the English language.  She has worked for the last year as a graduate teaching assistant and is currently enrolled in the Cell and Molecular Biology PhD program  pursuing research in the Crans lab in the Department of Chemistry at CSU.  Her interests in research include studying drug interactions at membrane interfaces to elucidate mechanism of action, and the study of interactions of small peptides at molecular membrane interfaces.


Alissa Williams

headshotJPGI grew up in Grand Rapids, Michigan, but I did my undergraduate work at Wofford College, which is in South Carolina. At Wofford, I majored in biology and computer science, as well as completed a minor in mathematics and an emphasis in computational science. During my college years, I interned at four different laboratories, and gained experience with both wet bench work and computational work. As a first year in the CMB program, I hope to find a lab where I can utilize both of these skill sets. Further, my experience as a teaching assistant at Wofford, as well as my close relationships with my professors there, has led to my desire to one day teach at the college level. I am excited about the opportunity to develop my teaching skills as a GAANN Fellow.


K.A. Leddy

leddyOriginally from New Mexico, Leddy is entering her second year PhD studies in the CMB Program. After receiving a B.S. Biology and B.A. Chemistry from the University of New Mexico, she moved to Montana where she plans to continue her research after graduating from Colorado State University. Her research focuses on the application of bioinformatic and molecular techniques to the field of forest pathology. Leddy collaborates with the U.S. Forest Service studying white pine blister rust disease, an invasive fungal pathogen of North American pine trees. She hopes to foster this collaboration and work with the ecologically precious forests of Montana and Idaho along with the federal government to help educate the public about forest ecosystem health, recreation and management. Her ‘knack’ for teaching has shown true in her hobbies; roller derby and rock climbing, as well as her career; teaching laboratory assistants and undergraduate lab courses. She plans to hone her teaching abilities at CSU and help translate these skills from academia into government agencies focused on public education.


Stephanie Morphetkrisen-brown-headshot

After waiving formal high school instruction, Stephanie Morphet obtained her GED and began her collegiate career at the age of 16. Five years later, she graduated from the University of Colorado in Colorado Springs with a B.S. in human biology and a B.A. in psychology, both with university honors. She is currently a second year PhD student in the Cell and Molecular Biology program at Colorado State University. Stephanie works in the lab of Dr. John Belisle, developing a point-of-care diagnostic for tuberculosis that utilizes lipids of the host and pathogen as biomarkers. Stephanie has taught professionally since 2008, including undergraduate laboratory courses at Colorado State University. She has also written state-approved science curriculums for middle school and high school students. Stephanie aspires to a career in research focused on interventions for infectious disease, and coupled to the education of future scientists. Ms. Morphet is a representative of the Native American Cultural Center at Colorado State University within the organization Graduate Students of Color. Graduate Students of Color works to maintain and increase diversity on the Colorado State University campus. Stephanie is also a volunteer with the local homeless population in Fort Collins, and a mentor to at-risk students in Fort Collins and in Colorado Springs.

Kelly Hassellkelly-hassell

Kelly Hassell, originally from NW Philadelphia, PA, completed her MS in Biology at Rutgers University, New Jersey.  For several years, after completing her MEd in Multicultural Education, Kelly taught various science courses and coached sports; lacrosse, soccer and softball, at the K-12 level.  Kelly also has years of experience in laboratory research and is currently enrolled in the Cell and Molecular Biology PhD program and pursuing research in the Hamilton/Miller Lab in the Department of Health and Exercise Science.  Kelly has interests in researching the chronic diseases associated with aging in the human body as well as researching and developing non-traditional teaching strategies for STEM disciplines at the collegiate level.  Kelly’s future aspirations include securing a tenured-track academic research/teaching appointment, where she can continue to research and publish her biological and educational findings as well as mentor students, future scientist and educators along the way.


Kate Rockenbach

I was raised in Utah, and after high school decided to study Microbiology at University of Pittsburgh.  As a student, I became increasingly aware that some professors were not trained to be teachers, and were blind to our needs as students.  During my undergraduate studies I worked weekly with high school students in a lab setting to help educate them about biological systems and what it means to do research.  Through this experience I found that I had a passion for teaching all along, and I decided to develop the skills needed to be a great professor. Since joining the CMB program here at CSU, I have been performing research in the Sloan Lab, and additionally I have been working to obtain my teaching certification from CSU.  I currently am a teaching assistant, and lead recitation for an upper level Genetics course. I hope in the future to use what I have gained from my experiences as both a teacher and a student to make difficult biology concepts accessible to more students.  I also enjoy my research, and hope I will be able to find a position in the future that encompasses both my passion for quality teaching and research.

Vanessa SelwynIMG_06291

Vanessa Selwyn graduated from New Mexico State University with a B.S. in biology and a B.A. in psychology, both with university honors.  She spent a few years teaching Biology, Chemistry, and Physical Science at an impoverish predominantly Hispanic underprivileged high school while gaining a M.A. in Curriculum and Instruction.  Facilitating the Research Initiative for Scientific Enhancement (MBRS-RISE) summer Medicinal Plants of the SouthWest workshop, for underprivileged minority undergraduates, renewed her passion in research.  She entered the Molecular, Cellular, and Integrative Neurosciences program at Colorado State University and then transitioned into her current program: Cell and Molecular Biology.  Her research is focused on understanding prion strains; she works in the lab of Dr. Glenn Telling.  In addition to her experiences teaching, she continually finds opportunities to do outreach to local high school students, and teach at the undergraduate level.  Vanessa aspires to a career as a research professor; this will allow her to combine her passion for research with her passion for teaching.  Furthermore, Ms. Selwyn is a representative of El Centro (the Hispanic Cultural Center) at Colorado State University within the Graduate Students of Color Advisory Council; as a founding member, she continually woks to increase diversity while promoting cultural understanding between graduate students and Colorado State University.


2015/16 Fellows

Melissa Edwardsmelissa-edwards

I am originally from Columbus, Ohio. In fact, I was born on the OSU campus hospital so one could say I was destined to spend my life in college. During my undergraduate studies I struggled with some of the rigorous pre-med science courses and not just because the content was difficult but also because the professors did not seem to be engaged in teaching the material. I was encouraged to change my major after getting a “C” grade so I did; my senior year I switched from biochemistry to an anthropology major. I felt the need to study human culture; maybe I’d find out why a student was pushed away instead of embraced by teachers and counselors. I knew then I wanted to teach, I was truly inspired by my difficulties in college to become a great science professor, one with passion who sees potential in everyone no matter their grades. After a hiatus, I went on to pursue my Master’s and from there I stumbled upon CSU’s CMB program and decided that I could and would get my doctorate and become the teacher I always knew I wanted to be. I have tutored throughout my training, have veteran teachers in my family, and I have spent more than half of my life in classrooms. My current research has me studying the role of a unique histone methyltransferase in hematopoietic derived malignancies and I’m experiencing new challenges every day that prepare me all the more for a professorial position. I am eagerly awaiting the completion of my studies and training to continue my academic journey by helping others pursue theirs.

Victoria Harcy



2014/15 Fellows

Kathy Cosenzakathy-cosenza-headshot

I grew up on a small farm on the Oregon coast. I first attended graduate school to obtain an MS in physical therapy, but then discovered that I loved teaching. I taught high-school math for two years while completing a teacher-in-residency program in Colorado, and then began teaching biology, and anatomy and physiology as an adjunct at Front Range Community College. While there, I discovered that my favorite class to teach was the entry-level biology/chemistry class to prepare students to study anatomy and physiology. I loved the transformations that I observed in students. They often came into class fearful of science, and by the end of the semester, they had developed confidence in their ability to understand the biology by applying the underlying chemical concepts. I also discovered that I loved the cell and molecular details. I joined the PhD program in Cell and Molecular Biology at CSU in order to become a better biology teacher. While here, I have studied the signaling pathways involved in atrophy and growth in crab muscles, in response to the molting hormones, ecdysteroids. This semester, with the GAANN fellowship, I am co-teaching an entry level biology class for non-majors with 130 students. After graduation this summer, my goal is to work full-time teaching biology at a community college.

Kristen Brown

I came to Colorado from Virginia where I first studied physics. My background consisted of solely computational work before I joined the CMB program. I want to obtain a solid foundation in experimental biology in order to bridge the gap between experimental and computational biology. I hope to do the same with teaching and mentoring students in biology who wish acquire computational and quantitative skills. Since coming here I have been able to work on several integrative projects that use computational tools to study biological problems from the biologist’s perspective. Currently, I am working toward a Ph.D. in Tai Montgomery’s lab studying the microRNA pathway in drug resistance and development using both molecular biology and computational tools.