Environmental science

First student successfully defends thesis in WIU Environmental Science PhD program – Western Illinois University News

The first student successfully defends her thesis in the framework of the doctoral program in environmental sciences at WIU

October 28, 2020

MACOMB / MOLINE, IL – The first graduation candidate of Western Illinois University’s Environmental Science: Large River Ecosystems Ph.D. program has successfully defended his thesis.

Michele Rehbein, from Helper, UT, received her BA and MA in Biology from WIU, in 2013 and 2016 respectively. She defended her thesis entitled “Mosquitoes of Wetland and Low Order Streams in West-Central and North Central Illinois: Developing Models Between Culex Mosquito Abundance Versus Abiotic Factors and Identification of Mosquito Hosts through Genetic Sequencing”. She will now become the first graduate of the doctoral program.

The program, based on WIU’s Quad Cities campus and launched in the fall of 2014, is led by Professor Roger Viadero, Chairman of the PhD in Environmental Sciences. program and director of the WIU Institute for Environmental Studies.

“Being part of the environmental science doctoral program was of course a challenge, but a fun experience,” Rehbein said. “Not only did I get to work alongside other amazing students and professors in our lab, but I also had the opportunity to present my research at conferences, meet other professionals and, best of all, d ” explore new research projects outside the field. “

Rehbein said she considers herself lucky to work with and learn from Viadero throughout her college program.

“Being in a doctoral program is really an individual journey, and this program has taught me the confidence to conduct my work independently and continue to grow as a scientist,” she said. “I am excited to be starting the next chapter of my life and career and I intend to stay in touch with everyone at the Institute for Environmental Studies. “

Viadero said Rehbein’s studies are an extension of his previous work on West Nile virus (WNV) surveillance in west-central Illinois.

“Rivers are known to be transmission routes for a number of mosquito-borne viruses that are particularly important to human health,” Viadero said. Michele’s efforts included modeling mosquito abundance based on key abiotic factors (temperature, weather, precipitation, etc.) in small rural streams that feed large river systems. in the field, Michele also observed two invasive mosquitoes for the first time in north-central Illinois. “

Rehbein is one of six doctoral students in the doctoral program. The multidisciplinary effort engages student-scientists from various disciplines of physical, life and / or mathematical sciences in studies that advance the state of knowledge on topics of environmental importance in large river systems.

For more information on the program, visit wiu.edu/ies.

Posted by: Jodi Pospeschil ([email protected])
University Relations Office

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