Past RMNP Research Fellows

Meet Some of Our Past Bailey – RMNP Research Fellows

Nicholas Parker

2023 Research Fellow
Hometown: Stockton, CA
College: PhD student, Colorado State University
Hobbies: Hiking, birdwatching, building Legos, and reading.

Fellowship Goals: Nick is conducting research on white-tailed ptarmigan (Lagopus leucura), an alpine endemic grouse species found across Colorado. Data have been collected on white-tailed ptarmigan populations along Trail Ridge Road since 1966, giving insights into population trends and habitat use. Building on this long-term dataset, Nick is collecting demographic data and working to map current and future ptarmigan habitat across Colorado, including fine-scale mapping of ptarmigan habitat quality within Rocky Mountain National Park. 

Bennett Hardy

2022 Research Fellow
Hometown: Southern California
College: PhD candidate at Colorado State University
Hobbies: Playing and following ice hockey, going to concerts, cooking for friends, especially tacos.

Fellowship Goals: Bennett’s main research goal was to describe and quantify variation in boreal toad response to disease to better inform conservation measures within Rocky Mountain National Park. This goal was accoomplished by demonstrating with field data that 1) Boreal toads in Rocky Mountain National Park are negatively affected by chytrid fungus, and 2) Through my controlled laboratory infection experiment, that boreal toad populations in Colorado (including in RMNP) are more susceptible to chytrid than those in Wyoming. Once the data collection and analysis were completed, Bennett developed a final report for Rocky Mountain National Park, including a draft for a scientific publication. These outlets will communicate his research to local conservation managers and national and international scientists.

Comments: “I like working with RMC/applied for the fellowship because I am interested in learning how NPS-associated non-profits contribute to natural resources conservation. A unique perspective and mission that we’re not exposed to enough in academia.”

Hilary Rinsland

2021 Research Fellow
Hometown: Hampton, VA
College: B.S. (Biology) University of Richmond
(In progress) M.S. Northern Michigan University

Career Goal: Hilary is seeking a research position that combines her love for fieldwork, molecular techniques, and citizen science within an organization that supports research, with an emphasis on the conservation of species that are disproportionately being affected by climate change. She also would love to teach – either through training volunteers or teaching undergraduate biology courses.

Fellowship Goals: Collaboration! Her goal is to work with the Colorado pika project and ROMO research staff and volunteers to continue long-term pika surveys in the Rocky Mountain Front Range. For her project, Hilary hopes to determine if there are significant differences in occupancy patterns related to elevation between the northern American pika subspecies (Ochotona princeps princeps) and the southern subspecies (O. princeps saxitilis). If there are differences, there may be conservation applications – especially in the consideration of the subspecies status on the Endangered Species List.

Isabelle de Silva (Schroeter)

2019 Research Fellow
Hometown: Agoura Hills, CA
College: B.S. University of California, Berkeley
(In progress) Ph.D. University of Colorado, Boulder

Career Goal: Isabel intends to pursue applied ecological research and management focusing on riparian plant ecology and restoration.

Fellowship Goals: During the Bailey Fellowship, Isabel researched willow physiological performance in the context of riparian ecosystem recovery following elk and moose browsing and beaver decline in Rocky Mountain National Park. Isabel mainly focused on assessing the degree of willow water limitation across these ecological and hydrological gradients in long-term monitoring sites in the park.

Laura Scott

2018 Research Fellow
Hometown: Midwest City, OK
College: B.S. Oklahoma State University (Zoology);M.S. Tulane University (Epidemiology)
Currently working on PhD in Environmental Health at Tulane University

Career Goal: Laura was interested in performing outbreak and infectious disease surveillance at the federal level, particularly within the Department of the Interior. In particular, she was focused on antibiotic resistance and zoonotic disease.

Fellowship Goals: Laura hoped to quantify the presence of antibiotic resistant bacteria in soil and water within the park and determine what anthropogenic and physical factors predict the presence of antibiotic resistant bacteria. She also wanted to assess human health risk from resistant, pathogenic bacteria in soil and water in the park.

Tim Korpita

2017 Research Fellow
Hometown: Southampton, Massachusetts
College: Tufts University; PhD.: University of Colorado, Boulder

Career Goal: Tim is hoping to either teach at a small college or be involved in conservation research and outreach.

Fellowship Research Goals: : Tim’s efforts involve isolating strains of Janthinobacterium lividum for future use in anti-Bd probiotic treatment for endangered amphibians. He also worked to determine what environmental conditions are associated with J.lividumL abundance and evaluate the persistence of J. lividumL in soil after bioaugmentation treatments.

Isabelle Oleksy

2016 Research Fellow
Hometown: Billerica, Massachusetts
College: University of New Hampshire

Career Goal: Bella wanted to conduct policy-relevant scientific research relating to climate change and aquatic ecosystems, particularly in mountainous areas. Ultimately, she wanted to work closely with or within a governmental agency as a research scientist.

Fellowship Goals: : Bella’s internship goal was to closely study and monitor a subalpine and alpine lake in the Loch Vale Watershed of Rocky Mountain National Park (The Loch and Sky Pond, respectively) to understand what factors are influencing increased primary productivity, or algal growth, in low-nutrient waters. Her methods included weekly sampling water and algae from The Loch and Sky Pond, as well as performing laboratory experiments to gain a better understanding in how algal growth changes through time. By the end of the summer, she hoped to gain insight into what controls their formation and how they acquire nutrients.

Tyler Williams

2015 Research Fellow
Hometown: Mountain Home, Arkansas
College: University of Colorado, Denver

Career Goal: Tyler planned to work in the National Park System, with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, or with a state park system.

Fellowship Research Goals:Tyler was collecting field data that to help clarify the RMNP limber pine metapopulation and to develop research skills that will be useful in future endeavors.

Joshua Johnson

2014 Research Fellow
Hometown: Washington, D.C.
College: University of Colorado, Boulder

Fellowship Goals: Joshua conducted a park research project to understand the geologic evolution of the Colorado Front Range, including Rocky, using a technique called (U-Th)/He thermochronology. He collected samples within the park for this analysis with the goal of understanding how erosion has shaped the park’s dramatic landscape, from the formation of the bedrock over 1 billion years ago to the more recent formation of the modern Rocky Mountains.

Greg Pappas

2013 Research Fellow
Hometown: Cheyenne, Wyoming
College: University of Wyoming

Career Goal: Vegetation Ecologist

Fellowship Research Goals: Greg’s proposed research aimed to characterize the response of understory vegetation to mountain pine beetle-induced reductions in overstory canopy cover across lodgepole pine forest types of western Rocky Mountain National Park. The study’s findings enhanced the understanding of a major, but relatively overlooked, component of mountain pine beetle-associated forest change.

3.5.2 Katie Rewick copy

Katie Renwick

2012 Research Fellow
Hometown: Ithaca, New York
College: Colorado State University
B.A. from Colby College

Career Goal: Job in natural resources management

Fellowship Goals: My research project is focused on understanding how the mountain pine beetle outbreak and climate change may interact to affect forest composition. The ultimate goal is to create predictive models of forest change that can help park manager’s plan for the future.

Karista Hudelson

2011 Research Fellow
Hometown: Marietta, Oklahoma
College: University of North Texas

Career Goal: Karista’s long term goals were to research and conserve aquatic ecosystems with an emphasis on toxicology and human impacts to those systems and the resulting quality of life of their inhabitants.

Fellowship Research Goals: The goals of her proposal were to determine whether there were blue copepods within the wetlands and ponds of RMNP, determine whether calanoid copepod color pattern is related to UV, and determine if pigmented calanoids within the park are distinct species.