Participants

Residents

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Jennifer Diemunsch
Discipline: Mathematics
Jenny Diemunsch earned her bachelor's degree in Mathematics and Education from the University of Dayton in 2009, and is currently pursuing her PhD in Mathematics at the University of Colorado Denver, focusing on graph theory. She loves studying math because she loves solving puzzles and problems using what she has learned throughout her years of learning. She grew up in Springboro, Ohio (near Dayton), spending summers in the pool, riding roller coasters, and water skiing. She loves living in Colorado because of all of the outdoor activities like camping and hiking. She has an older brother and sister, as well as two nephews, ages two years and 8 weeks. She also loves playing tennis and running. Her favorite food is ice cream... any flavor! She loves spending time with family and friends when she can, welcoming visitors to Colorado and making trips to Ohio.
Reid Messersmith
Discipline: Chemistry
Originally from Chicago, Reid received his Bachelor's in Chemistry in 2010 from Pepperdine University. He is now pursuing a Masters in Chemistry from the University of Colorado Denver. Reid's interest in chemistry started in middle school where he really enjoyed laboratory work. In particular, his favorite was an exercise where a "sludge" that contained solids which needed to be filtered was separated using the different densities of oil and water. By high school, he knew that he wanted to work with chemistry for the rest of his life. As an undergraduate, Reid was fortunate to learn from multiple professors with a variety of specialties which has given him a diverse perspective on the various fields of chemistry. While in university, novel chemistry experiments which no-one had ever performed before, as well as the skills required to execute them, presented an exciting challenge for him. Reid's current research, at CU Denver, is at the edge of material science and biochemistry. Specifically, he evaluates the binding interaction of c-reactive protein with cell mimics. Cell mimics are useful because they decrease the complexity of the system of study; proteins are important for a variety of cellular activities. The binding interaction can be observed through the fluorescence of c-reactive protein. Hopefully, an increased understanding of c-reactive protein, which plays a role in inflammation, will help lead to a cure for cardio vascular disease. In his free time, Reid enjoys hiking, biking and exploring Colorado. In the past, he had the opportunity to live in Lausanne, Switzerland for a summer and his favorite food is pizza. This will be his first year as a GK-12 fellow and he hopes he might spark an interest in chemistry for one of his students, just as it was ignited in him while he was in middle school.
Catherine Erbes
Discipline: Mathematics
Cathy Erbes was born and raised in New Mexico, but to escape the heat she decided to go to college in Minnesota. She received her Bachelor's Degree in Mathematics in 2005 from Carleton College, and then got a Master's Degree in Mathematics from Indiana University in 2007. After spending a few years working in the "real world," she realized that the world of mathematics and academia was where she really wanted to be, so she enrolled in the Ph.D. program at University of Colorado Denver. Her research area is Graph Theory, in particular problems relating to degree sequences of graphs. When not studying, Cathy enjoys reading, running (she completed her first marathon in 2008, and has run several half marathons since then), crochet, and playing board games with friends and family.
Tim Morris
Discipline: Mathematics, Physics
Tim was born in Illinois but his earliest memories are of life in Zambia (a country in Africa) where he lived until he was six. While other members of Tim's family experienced a culture shock moving to Zambia, Tim experienced a "technology shock" when his family moved back to Illinois as he saw for the first time such technological marvels as escalators and drinking fountains. His new technologically advanced toys fascinated him so much that he frequently ruined them by taking them apart to see how they worked. As he got older, he even learned how to put some of them back together. The curiosity, however, stayed with him and led him to get his bachelor's degree in physics from Illinois State University. He has held many jobs varying from camp counseling to engineering assistant to truck driving. Tim then returned to Illinois State University to get his master's in mathematics. He currently is studying to get his PhD in mathematics from UC Denver. Tim is enjoying life in Colorado as it allows him to pursue his hobby as a landscape photographer and also gives him the opportunity to hike and enjoy nature.