Vice-Chair: Kristi Gdanetz MacCready
Hello, I’m Kristi Gdanetz MacCready and I would like to run for the Vice-Chair of the MSA Student Section. I am working on my PhD at Michigan State University in the lab of Frances Trail. Most of my thesis research has focused on the fungal microbiome of a wheat-corn-soybean rotation. I’m using fungal endophytes in wheat to protect against disease, and have some side projects involving Fusarium graminearum secondary metabolites. I am interested in the SS Vice-Chair position because I love the community and resources the MSA provides to the student members, and I want to ensure that we continue to serve our students in the best way possible. I served as the MSA SS Communication Chair for the past year, I worked on developing member engagement through social media and highlighted our awesome members through student spotlights. Along with other members of the current SS Executive Board, I helped initiate the formation of what we hope to be a public resource for mycological outreach and teaching. As Vice-Chair, I would be able to continue working with the Chair and Past-Chair to bring this project to completion. Outside of MSA, I served as Vice President and President as a student ambassador organization during my undergraduate studies at Penn State Erie. I am familiar with, and actually enjoy, the organizational tasks and duties of group leadership.
Secretary: Andrea Bruce
I am a master’s student at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse. My research seeks to find synergistic effects between fungi with different decay strategies when co-inoculated in diesel-contaminated soil. I aim to find out whether fungi that degrade different fractions of wood can cooperate to degrade different fractions of diesel fuel to increase mycoremediation of soil. My background is in Environmental Studies, and my research interests are driven by a search for solutions to problems that lie at the interface between environmental sustainability and social justice. A component of this drive is an interest in community organizing, enabling groups to achieve greater access to resources to accomplish their goals than individuals alone are able to reach independently. In alignment with this interest, I would like to serve as secretary on the MSA Student Section’s Board. I enjoy helping to provide a supportive community for other mycology students, bolstering our ability to hear and be heard by our broader academic cohort, and more easily learn about resources and events available to us. I have served one year as the MSA Student Section secretary, and I currently serve as the president of the UW-L Mycology Club, after serving the club for two years as its vice president.
Treasurer: Brendan O’Brien
I discovered my passion for fungi as an undergraduate student in the old growth forests of the Pacific Northwest. In a landscape so dominated by impenetrable green, I found inspiration in the diversity of exotic form and vibrant color presented by these mysterious organisms. As an amateur forager, I became empowered and delighted by the experience of procuring delicious culinary treasures to share with friends and family. With each new species identified and sampled, a network of questions arose regarding the unique ecology and potential usefulness of the individual. Seeking further information consistently revealed the gaps in our collective knowledge, while also reaffirming the great importance of this vast kingdom. As my mycophilia matured while my mind fully colonized, I found myself no longer motivated purely by my stomach, but instead by the endless ways fungi impact our lives and ecosystems everyday. I have carried this inspiration through miniature careers as a Climate Change Analyst and Biological Consultant. These professional experiences have instilled a sense of urgency toward developing creative solutions to the natural resource challenges facing society today. As a graduate student at the University of Vermont’s Rubenstein School of Natural Resources, I am working with Dr. Eric Roy in the Ecological Engineering Lab to integrate fungi into waste resource solutions. I am researching ways to incorporate fungi into organics recycling as a strategy for nutrient recovery. I am interested in many developing and yet undiscovered ways fungi may be applied to facilitate a more sustainable future. As the current student treasurer of the MSA, I have enjoyed building my professional network with a new generation of mycologists while serving the community in a meaningful way. As the owner-operator of Hyphae Consulting Inc., a small biological consulting firm, I have strong organizational and financial record keeping skills necessary to succeed in this position. I look forward to an opportunity to continue serving this inspiring network of new mycologists.
Communication Chair: Rebecca Shay
Hello! My name is Rebecca Shay, and I’m a budding mycologist from Michigan State University. I joined the Trail lab this past fall, and I work on Fusarium graminearum-host interactions, specifically the defense response to F. graminearum in barley trichomes. Previously, I was a bacteriologist, so I’m new to this fungal world! I would like to run for the position of Communication Chair, so I can share my excitement about mycology with as many people as possible! I hope to get involved with the MSA student section to meet other mycology students, and help promote the organization and the student section to other mycologists I meet. In the past, I have been outreach chair for the Undergraduate Genetics Association at University of Wisconsin-Madison, president of the same organization, and co-founder of the Plant Pathology Undergraduate Club. I’m also recently elected as Outreach/Communication Chair for the Mid-Michigan chapter of Graduate Women In Science, where I’ll serve for the 2017-2018 year. Through these outreach experiences I’ve learned how to communicate science to general audiences, and I think I could apply these skills to the Communication Chair position for the student section. I hope to bring my newfound excitement about mycology to the student section and beyond!
Merchandise Chair: Nora Dunkirk
Every time I go outside, I immediately turn my eyes to the ground. People probably think I’m crazy, but I’m just looking for mushrooms! I’m a first year graduate student at UW Madison studying in Anne Pringle’s lab and I have the privilege of studying the ecology and evolution of mushroom forming fungi every day. My current project is studying a genus of fungi, Amanita, which includes both saprotrophic (plant degrading) and ectomycorrhizal (plant partner) fungi. I am dissecting the genomes of these fungi to determine the genes which are characteristic of each of these distinct (or so we think) ecologies. Part of this research is finding these mushrooms in their natural environments, which means I get to go hiking in the woods hunting for mushrooms and get my hands dirty regularly! One of my favorite things about studying fungi is being able to teach others the amazing things I learn about these crazy organisms. I think being part of the student executive board is a great way to reach more people interested in studying fungi and fungal ecology. When I first went to an MSA conference, the Student Section welcomed me even though I wasn’t a student at the time! I want to give back to that community by volunteering my time on the executive board as the merchandise chair. I have experience ordering tshirts and stickers for my previous lab, and I now have a few months’ experience in the merchandise chair position with the student section that have been very informative. If re-elected, I will dedicate time and effort towards supplying fun and enticing merchandise to raise money for this awesome student section of MSA!