GLOBES Graduates Demonstrate Novel Interdisciplinary Research Approaches

Author: Jessica Baron

Since January 2015, six GLOBES students have earned doctoral degrees in their home departments while finishing up certificate requirements associated with GLOBES-IGERT fellowships. GLOBES students integrate an interdisciplinary research component into their dissertation thesis under the mentorship of an advisor from a discipline outside of their primary field.


GLOBES students share a common desire to broaden their graduate education by acquiring additional knowledge and skill sets from a secondary field of study. That common goal is manifested in a number of ways.

For example, Cameron Turner, a PhD graduate in Biological Sciences under faculty advisor David Lodge, focused on science innovation and entrepreneurship. Cameron developed a business plan for a start-up genetic monitoring business under the mentorship of accomplished scientist and pharmaceutical executive Michael Flavin PhD, who teaches a scientific entrepreneurship course for the College of Science.

Courtney Wiersema, a PhD graduate in History under faculty advisor Jon Coleman, wove interdisciplinary methods in cultural geography, anthropology, and material culture studies into her dissertation on urban environmental history in nineteenth-century America. In addition, she and GLOBES colleague Craig Kinnear conducted a real world practicum that delved into the history and ecology of Muskegon Lake located off the western shore of Lake Michigan. This study served as an ancillary chapter to Courtney’s dissertation, further exploring the theme of nineteenth-century industrialization and its impact on Midwestern communities and environments.

More GLOBES graduates and their interdisciplinary research accomplishments include the following:

George M. Kennedy, PhD Biological Sciences (Advisor Patricia Champion)

George was a participant in the Mendoza College Business on the Frontlines course and contributed to a group project that detailed a multi-year economic sustainability plan for the Touching Tiny Lives Foundation in Lesotho, Africa. The foundation supports children and families in rural Lesotho who are struggling to cope with the ravages of HIV/AIDS. Lesotho has the fourth highest HIV/AIDS prevalence rate in the world.

Alexander J. Reisinger, PhD Biological Sciences (Advisor Jennifer Tank)


Prof. Alan Hamlet of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Earth Sciences served as interdisciplinary advisor to AJ’s research on the impact of dam management on nutrient uptake in rivers. AJ will be working with hydrologists and sociologists in his post-doctoral position with the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies studying the efficacy of urban stream restorations in Baltimore, MD.

Lindsey Sargent Reisinger, PhD Biological Sciences (Advisor David Lodge)

Lindsey was advised by senior staff scientist Tammy Newcomb PhD, of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, in her study and survey of angler behavior in regard to the use of invasive crayfish in the bait trade, and its implications for management and conservation policy.

Gilbert St. Jean, PhD Biological Sciences (Advisor Jeffrey Feder)

Gilbert continues research that informs public health management of lymphatic filariasis with the University of Notre Dame Haiti Program as a lead investigator for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Grand Challenges Exploration Round 14 award.