Previous undergraduate researchers


Kristen Speer
Kristen started her honors research in the scorpion lab in fall 2018. She defended her thesis and graduated with honors in biology in May 2019. Kristen’s project focused on the effect of IR light on scorpion behavior. She won a UROP award for her research and presented at the 2019 Undergraduate Research Day. Kristen currently works as a pharmacy technician and has her sights set on medical school.
Sara Kelley
Sara began working in the scorpion lab in fall 2017. She defended her honors thesis and graduated with honors in biology in May 2019. She also took the "Scorpion Navigation" class where she and her team published a short communication in the Journal of Arachnology. Sara won an honorable mention at the 2019 Undergraduate Research Day and will begin graduate school in neuroscience this fall at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston.
Conner Howard
Conner joined the lab in the fall of 2016 and graduated with honors in biology in May 2018. He has interests in becoming an orthopedic surgeon and a sports medicine physician. His research project, which has been submitted for publication, involved using a variation of insect visual navigation to come up with a new way to track points in an internal environment. In his free time he enjoys playing or watching sports, watching movies, and being with friends.
Jonna Vanderslice
Jonna Vanderslice joined the lab in the spring of 2017 and graduated with honors in biology and minors in psychology and health and exercise science in May 2018. Her honors thesis built on the work of Nina Rivera-Roldan in understanding the light sensing abilities of scorpions. In her free time, she likes to run, eat ice cream, and spend time with friends.
Matt Keyzer
Matt worked on the mapping of the neural anatomy of the pectines in the desert grassland scorpion using neural specific tracers and immunofluorescence. Matt’s career goal is to become an ophthalmologist. Matt likes to play the piano and guitar, read, play basketball, and generally spend time in the outdoors. 
Max Daniels
Max graduated in May 2019 with his degree in chemical engineering. He began his work in the scorpion lab during Dr. Gaffin’s “Navigation in Bees, Ants and Scorpions” course in the fall of 2015. He developed a method for testing the navigational mechanisms used by scorpions in a more controlled environment. He has an enduring love of both music and martial arts, and holds a black belt in the disciplines of karate, taekwondo, aikido, kenjutsu, and iaido.
Alex Evans
Alex majored in microbiology and minored in chemistry, with an emphasis in pre-medicine. He joined the lab in fall 2017 as an independent study student. He worked with Brad Brayfield on trying to motivate scorpions into and out of their burrows. Alex loves volunteering, hiking, or just being active. He plans on becoming a trauma physician.
Kendall Hughes
Kendall successfully defended her undergraduate honors thesis in the fall of 2017 on the electrophysiology of pectinal nerves and the brain in the scorpion Centruroides vittatus; her report has been submitted for publication. She graduated in the spring of 2018 and now attends medical school at OU HSC. When she is not in the lab she likes to do yoga, run, and hang out with her friends. 
Zac Waldroup
Zac was an undergraduate student volunteering as a lab assistant. He majored in biology and minored in Native American studies. He worked as a resident adviser at OU and hopes to become a lawyer. Outside of the lab, he likes to interact with his residents and socialize with his friends.
Nina Rivera Roldan
Nina completed a research project on the positive phototaxis of P. utahensis to green and UV light (compared to red and no light). She won the student poster competition at the 2017 AAS meeting in Querétaro, Mexico and published her results in the Journal of Arachnology. She majored in biology and graduated in spring 2017. She began medical school in the fall of 2017 at Pacific Northwest University of Health Sciences in Yakima, WA. Her career goal is to become either a trauma surgeon, cardiologist, or forensic pathologist. She likes to do pilates, play guitar, hang out with friends, game on her GameCube, and watch Netflix.
Megan Mont
Megan was an undergraduate honors student in biology. She successfully defended her honors thesis in May 2016. Her thesis centered on demonstrating that the navigation by scene familiarity hypothesis can be successfully used by students to recapitulate paths in a corridor with only a laptop and webcam. She also showed that the visual information in corridors was sufficient to navigate and prevent aliasing. She is attending medical school at the University of Texas Medical School in Houston.
Randall Proctor
Randall used desert grassland scorpions (Paruroctonus utahensis) to pursue the question of humidity sensation. His project investigated their behavior when placed in a chamber with a large humidity gradient. He graduated in the fall of 2015 and completed a Masters of Biomedical Sciences program at Duke University. Randall is currently a medical student at the University of Florida.
Jacob Mitchell
Jacob defended his honors thesis and graduated in spring of 2015. He worked on UV and visible light sensitivity in the striped bark scorpion, Centruroides vittatus. He attended graduate school at UT Austin and is now working in Denver, CO.
Jay Vinnedge
Jay completed his thesis on the light induced homing behavior in the desert grassland scorpion, Paruroctonus utahensis and had his results published in the Journal of Arachnology. Jay is about to graduate with his medical degree (May 2019) from the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center.
Danielle Vinnedge
Danielle graduated with honors in biology in 2013. For her honors thesis she did both morphological and electrophysiological investigations of sensory structures on scorpion pedipalps (claws) and pectines. Danielle went to PA school at the OU HSC and is now a practicing PA in Buffalo, OK.
Caleb Cosper
Caleb defended his biology honors thesis in spring 2013. He worked on developing a new lab assay of shelter-seeking behavior for sand scorpions. Caleb is a co-author on a published paper and won a best presentation award at the 2011 Undergraduate Research Day. Caleb currently lives in Seattle, WA.
Andrea Jordan
Sarah Million
Nataliya Popokina
Elise Knowlton
Sam Oyeleye
Greg Blass
Eman Beck
Ryan Mckee
Zach Porterfield
Paul McGowan
Mike Falgiani
Vail Stephens
Steffany Steinmetz
Steven Carter
Mujahid Hines
Taryn Turner
Madiah Parizi
Elizabeth Camp