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Meet the dedicated team of student organizers of the 2021 symposium.


Nolan Scheible

Nolan is a PhD candidate in Dr. Andrew McCubbin’s lab in the School of Biological Sciences. He is investigating the signaling pathways involved in maintaining polar growth in pollen tubes, specifically the roles of Calcium and GTPases. He comes to WSU from the east coast after completing his BS in Biology at James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia. As the middle child from a family of 5 children, Nolan enjoys being social and spending time with his family and friends. He also likes to explore the PNW in his free time through traveling and hiking.

Viktoriya Vasina

Viktoriya is studying phloem physiology in Dr. Michael Knoblauch’s lab. She is working on identifying the function of sieve element organelles via localization studies of phloem specific proteins. Viktoriya is originally from Kiev, Ukraine and she earned her B.S. from Washington State University. Her hobbies include playing soccer, gardening, cooking with her friends and traveling around the world.

Alex Howell

Alex received his B.S. from WSU, where he met his current PI Dr. Michael Knoblauch. Alex studies intercellular fluxes of solutes within tissues and how these processes affect long distance translocation through the vascular tissues. When he is not recording dynamic cellular processes on the microscope he enjoys skiing, camping, biking, rafting, and sledding.


Vishnutej Ellur

Vishnu is a Ph.D. candidate in Grain Legume Genetics Physiology Lab working with Dr. Weidong Chen.  He investigates the roles of chickpea polygalacturonase inhibiting proteins in plant defense against pathogenic fungi. He got his B. Sc and M. Sc degrees from UAS, Raichur in India. Later he joined Ph.D. in Molecular Plant Sciences with the Netaji Subhas ICAR Fellowship. Aside from research, he enjoys being outside, camping, hiking, skiing, and cooking.

Paige Henning

Paige is a 4th year PhD student working in Dr. Andrew McCubbin’s lab. Her research focuses on the genetic basis of distyly in the genus Turnera. Paige received her B.S. in Genetics and Cellular Biology from WSU. She enjoys playing video games in her free time.

Marci Parra

Marci is a PhD student in Dr. Hanjo Hellmann’s lab in the School of Biological Sciences. She is investigating the regulation of vitamin B6 biosynthesis. She completed her BA in Biology at Whitman College in Walla Walla, Washington.


Lance Merrick

Lance is a Ph.D. student in Dr. Arron Carter’s Winter wheat breeding program. He received his B.S. and M.S. in Plant Sciences at South Dakota State University. His research focuses on creating genomic selection models for emergence, freezing tolerance, and stripe rust and their application in an applied winter wheat breeding program. He enjoys being in the outdoors, especially snowboarding, hiking, and hunting.

Nate Boyer

Nate is a 4th year PhD student in Dr. John Peters’ lab in the Institute of Biological Chemistry. His research focuses on the regulation of nitrogen fixation in the model diazotroph Azotobacter vinelandii.  Nate strives to understand how we may leverage biological nitrogen fixation to achieve more sustainable agriculture. Outside of research, he enjoys spending time with his wife and cats, playing board games with friends, and exploring the beautiful parks in the Pacific Northwest.

Vaclav Svoboda

PhD student in the Kirchhoff lab.


Anna Pratt

Ph.D. candidate