August and September 2023 Newsletter

A Closer Look #234

A group of graduate students standing on the steps at the Annis Water Resources Institutes.

Students listed top left to right: Kaylynne Dennis, Mitchell Olszewski,

Jillian Greene, Victoria Vander Stelt, Renee Tardani, and Michael Trapp.


Graduate students are an integral part of our mission at the Annis Water Resources Institute (AWRI). We welcome these new graduate students joining us this fall.

Kaylynne Dennis grew up in Muskegon, Michigan and completed her B.A. in Zoology with dual emphases on Marine Biology and Ecology, Evolution, and the Organismal body from Michigan State University. She is now pursuing her M.S. degree in Biology with an emphasis on Aquatic Sciences in Dr. Biddanda’s lab and will be studying plankton metabolism in Muskegon Lake.

Jillian Greene is from Holland, Michigan and graduated with her B.S. in Environmental and Sustainability studies with an emphasis on Water Resources from GVSU in December 2022. After graduation, she did a project term with the NASA DEVELOP program in Laramie, Wyoming remote sensing and modeling sources of sediment plumes in the Shoshone River. She is now pursuing her M.S. in Aquatic Science and will be working with Dr. Sean Woznicki using satellite remote sensing and modeling of aquatic ecosystems.

Mitchell Olszewski is a native of Grand Rapids, Michigan, and earned his B.A in Biology and Environmental Studies from Western Michigan University. After completing his degree, he went into the workforce at Professional Lake and Land Management as a Herbicide Applicator for Invasive Species and a Right-of-Way Manager for Invasive Species. He then took another job as a Freshwater Specialist at Cygnet Enterprises, where public organizations and private citizens come and ask for advice on how to counteract aquatic invasive species. He is pursuing his M.S. degree working with Dr. Kevin Strychar and will be using biological markers to test E. coli sources, and sinks.

Renée Tardani has been a lifelong resident of Muskegon County and obtained her B.S. in Biology and Biomedical Sciences from Grand Valley State University in 2018. Prior to joining AWRI, she spent time working in clinical and laboratory settings. In 2020, she began working in the Partridge Lab on hemlock woolly adelgids as a call-in technician and has worked at AWRI in both the Rediske and Partridge Labs as an adjunct research technician. Her graduate thesis with Dr. Charlyn Partridge focuses on molecular assessment of cyanobacteria population dynamics in recreational waters in Muskegon County.

Michael Trapp grew up in Grand Rapids, Michigan and earned his B.S. with a focus in Biology and Studio Art from Western Michigan University. After obtaining his degree, he worked for the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife Division conducting research on wild juvenile salmonids within the Grande Ronde River Basin. He returned to Michigan to study a variety of threatened and endangered fish species for The Little Traverse Bay Bands. Michael is currently pursuing his M.S. with an emphasis in Aquatic Sciences and will be working with Dr. Mark Luttenton investigating brook trout and brown trout survival in the Au Sable River.

Victoria Vander Stelt was raised in Spring Arbor, Michigan and earned her B.S. in Biology from Spring Arbor University. While an undergrad, she worked as a research assistant at the Au Sable Institute of Environmental Studies. Her research focused on oil well pad reforestation and Kirtland’s Warbler nesting habits. After graduation, Victoria was a research assistant at the Annis Water Resources Institute in the Ruetz Lab working on the Great Lakes Coastal Wetland Monitoring Project and surveying habitat for potential Arctic Grayling reintroduction. Most recently, she worked in John Ball Zoo’s Research and Conservation Department conducting studies on a variety of species including the Spotted Turtle and Poweshiek Skipperling. She is currently pursuing her M.S. degree working with Dr. Mark Luttenton on the North Branch of the Au Sable River studying resident trout populations. 


Page last modified November 7, 2023