Steve C. Wang: Lab members and collaborators

Lab lunch at Axum Ethiopian Restaurant in Indianapolis during the Geological Society of America Annual Meeting, 2018.
L to R: Melissa Zavez '20, Haochen Wang '20, Steve, Harsha Sen '19, Clara Habermeier '17, and Madison Shoraka '20

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Read about our trips to the Geological Society of America Annual Meetings in Indianapolis (2018), Denver (2016) and Baltimore (2015).



Students and alumni


photo of Vitor Dos Anjos
Vitor Dos Anjos '21 (Spring 2020)

Vitor is working on estimating the population size of the North Atlantic right whale, the most endangered large cetacean species. He is majoring in biology with minors in Computer Science and in Latin American and Latino Studies.





photo of Runa Cheng
Runa Cheng '20 (Fall 2019–Spring 2020) and Haochen Wang '20 (Fall 2019)

Runa (right) and Haochen (see below) are working with Graeme Lloyd and me on testing evolutionary rates in phylogenetic trees. Runa is majoring in biology with minors in statistics and chemistry. For more on Haochen, see below.





photo of Ian Garrison
Ian Garrison '18 (Spring 2020)

Ian is working with Ken Lacovara and me on a project on sauropod dinosaur body size. Ian majored in biology with minors in environmental studies and history. He is now studying paleontology at Rowan University.






photo of Tai Thongthai
photo of Claudia Xu Tai Thongthai '21 and Claudia Xu '21 (Fall 2019)

Claudia (right) and Tai (left) worked on estimating the population size of the North Atlantic right whale, the most endangered large cetacean species. Tai is majoring in economics and computer science. Claudia is majoring math with minors in computer science and psychology.





photo of Kevin Choi and Eric Zhang
Kevin Choi '21 (Spring 2019–Fall 2019) and Eric Zhang '22 (Summer 2019–Fall 2019)

Eric and Kevin worked on estimating the duration of a mass extinction. They presented a poster at the Geological Society of America Annual Meeting (Phoenix, 2019) and are co-authors of two GSA abstracts (1, 2). Kevin is majoring in economics and mathematics. Eric is majoring in math.






photo of Thibault Vernier
Thibault Vernier '21 (Summer 2019)

Thibault worked on estimating the population size of the North Atlantic right whale, the most endangered large cetacean species. He is majoring in computer science.






photo of SPEED team
Swarthmore Projects for Educational Exploration and Development (SPEED) (Summer 2019)

The SPEED team, particularly Nabil Kashyap, Bilal Soukouna, Alice Huang, and Helen Huh, worked on visualizing methods for assessing career and peak WAR (Wins Above Replacement) for baseball players.







photo of Sebastian Mintah
Sebastian Mintah '19 (Spring 2019)

Sebastian worked on visualizing data using Chernoff faces. He majored in math and economics and is now an Associate Economist at Moody’s Analytics. He is a part of the research department and is a member of the model building team, where he creates economic models and writes reports on the economies of various metro areas, states and countries.






photo of Madison Shoraka and Melissa Zavez
Madison Shoraka '20 (Summer 2018–Spring 2019) and Melissa Zavez '20 (Summer 2018, Fall 2018)

Melissa (right) and Madison (left) worked on methods for estimating the duration of a mass extinction. They presented a poster at the Geological Society of America Annual Meeting (Indianapolis, 2018) and are co-authors of a GSA abstract. Melissa is majoring in computer science with a minor in statistics. Madison is majoring in math as well as peace and conflict studies.




photo of Harsha Sen
Harsha Sen '19 (Fall 2017, Spring 2018, Spring 2019)

Harsha worked on data analysis for the tempo and duration of the Cambrian explosion, and also on primate evolution. He presented a poster at the Geological Society of America Annual Meeting (Indianapolis, 2018) and is a co-author of a GSA abstract. He majored in biology and economics and is now working at Harvard Medical School.




photo of Haochen Wang
photo of John Wojchiehowski Haochen Wang '20 and John Wojchiehowski '19 (Summer 2018–Spring 2019)

John and Haochen worked on a project comparing the selectivity of modern and past extinctions. Haochen presented a poster at the Geological Society of America Annual Meeting (Indianapolis, 2018). Haochen and John are co-authors of two GSA abstracts (1, 2) John (right) majored in math and theater. Haochen (left) is majoring in math (with a statistics emphasis) and computer science.



photo of Pravadh Singh
Pravadh Singh '19 (Fall 2018–Spring 2019)

Pravadh worked on comparing the selectivity of modern and past extinctions, and also on primate evolution. He majored in math (with a statistics emphasis) and is now working in the financial industry.





photo of Jihye Yoon
Jihye Yoon '21 (Spring 2019)

Jihye worked on primate evolution. She is majoring in math and biology.






photo of Zoey Werbin
Zoey Werbin '17 (Fall 2015–Fall 2018)

Zoey is working on a project she designed on comparing the selectivity of modern and past extinctions. We were awarded an NSF grant based on preliminary work she did as an undergrad and are continuing this work. Zoey presented a poster at the Geological Society of America Annual Meeting (Denver, 2016) and is a co-author of three GSA abstracts (1, 2, 3) Zoey majored in biology with a minor in environmental studies. She is now a graduate student in microbial ecology at Boston University.



photo of Richard Conti
Richard Conti '19 (Fall 2018)

Richard worked on methods for assessing career and peak WAR (Wins Above Replacement) for baseball players. He majored in math and economics and now works for the Los Angeles Dodgers and Baseball Prospectus.






photo of Clara Habermeier
Clara Habermeier '17 (Spring 2018–Summer 2018)

Clara is working on comparing the selectivity of modern and past extinctions. She presented a poster at the Geological Society of America Annual Meeting (Indianapolis, 2018) and is a co-author of two GSA abstracts (1, 2) She majored in economics with a minor in math.





photo of Becky Tang
Becky Tang '18 (Fall 2017)

Becky worked on methods for accounting for dating uncertainty in paleontological analyses. She is a co-author of a GSA abstract. Becky is majoring in computer science and math (with a statistics emphasis). She is now a graduate student in statistics at Duke University.





photo of Lan Ngo and Jason Lin
Jason Lin '18 and Lan Ngo '19 (Summer 2017)

Lan and Jason worked on methods for combining confidence intervals. They presented a poster at the Joint Statistical Meetings (Baltimore, 2017). They are co-authors of a GSA abstract. Lan is majoring in math; for more info on Jason, see below.





photo of Mayank Agrawal
Mayank Agrawal '18 (Fall 2016)

Mayank worked on selectivity of origination. He majored in computer science and philosophy with a minor in math. He is currently a graduate student in neuroscience at Princeton University.




photo of Jason Lin and Tuan Nguyen
Jason Lin '18 and Tuan Nguyen '18 (Summer 2016)

Tuan (right) and Jason (left) worked on methods for estimating the tempo and duration of the Cambrian explosion. They presented a poster at the Geological Society of America Annual Meeting (Denver, 2016) and the Sigma Xi poster session (Swarthmore, 2016), and are co-authors of a GSA abstract. Jason majored in math and computer science; he is now a graduate student in statistics at UCSD. For more info on Tuan, see below.



photo of Katrina Midgley and Tuan Nguyen
Katrina Midgley '17 and Tuan Nguyen '18 (Spring 2016)

Tuan (right) and Katrina (left) worked on methods for estimating the tempo and duration of the Cambrian explosion. They presented a poster at the Sigma Xi poster session (Swarthmore, 2016) and are co-authors of a GSA abstract. Katrina majored in computer science with a minor in statistics, and is now working in the software industry. Tuan majored in math (with a statistics emphasis) and computer science, and is now working in the software industry.




photo of Tushar Kundu
Tushar Kundu '17 (Spring 2015, Spring 2016)

Tushar is studying the phenomenon of "dead clade walking" after mass extinctions. He presented a poster at the Geological Society of America Annual Meeting (Denver, 2016) and is a co-author of a GSA abstract. He majored in economics with a minor in statistics, and is working in economics research at USC.





photo of Meghana Ranganathan and Brandon Chow
Brandon Chow '17 (Fall 2014–Spring 2015, Fall 2015) and Meghana Ranganathan '17 (Fall 2014-Spring 2015)

Meghana (right) and Brandon (second from right) implemented Markov Chain Monte Carlo (MCMC) and Approximate Bayesian Computation (ABC) algorithms to study the end-Permian mass extinction and its effects on food webs. This project was in collaboration with Peter Roopnarine of the California Academy of Sciences (left) and Ken Angielczyk of the Field Museum (not shown). They presented a poster at the Geological Society of America Annual Meeting (Baltimore, 2015) and are co-authors of a GSA abstract. Meghana majored in math and is now a PhD student in atmospheric sciences at MIT. Brandon majored in math (with an emphasis in statistics) and computer science and is now a PhD student in statistics at Yale.



photo of Leonie Cohen
Leonie Cohen '16 (Spring 2015, Fall 2015)

Leonie worked on a project she designed on the evolution of catarrhine primates, specifically the divergence of Hominoidea and Cercopithecoidea. She presented a poster at the Geological Society of America Annual Meeting (Baltimore, 2015) She is the lead author on a paper currently in preparation with Steve and Philip Gingerich, and is also a co-author on two GSA abstracts (1, 2). Leonie majored in biological anthropology and is currently a graduate student in social work at Simmons University.



photo of Heather Zhou and Daniel Wang
Daniel Wang '17 and Heather Zhou '16 (Summer 2015)

Heather (left) and Daniel (right) worked on methods for estimating the tempo and duration of the Cambrian explosion. They presented a poster at the Geological Society of America Annual Meeting (Baltimore, 2015) and are co-authors of two GSA abstracts (1, 2). Daniel majored in math with a minor in computer science, and is now working in the insurance industry. For more info on Heather, see below.




photo of Heather Zhou
Heather Zhou '16 (Spring 2015)

Heather worked on two projects: (1) estimating the duration of the Cambrian explosion, and (2) confidence intervals on stratigraphic ranges when recovery potential is not uniform. She presented a poster at the Geological Society of America Annual Meeting (Baltimore, 2015) and is a co-author on a 2016 paper in Paleobiology. She is also a co-author on three GSA abstracts (1, 2, 3). Heather majored in math and economics; she is currently a graduate student in statistics at UCLA



photo of Richard Liang and Ben Xie
Richard Liang '15 and Ben Xie '16 (Spring 2014)

Ben (right) and Richard (left) worked on parallelizing the algorithms for estimating the number of pulses in a mass extinction. Ben majored in computer science with minors in statistics and English literature, and currently works in software engineering. Richard majored in computer science and math and also currently works in software engineering.






photo of Linda Gai and Chengying Wang

Linda Gai '15 and Chengying Wang '15 (Summer 2013)

Chengying (second from right) and Linda (right) worked on estimating the tempo of the Cambrian explosion. They presented a poster at the Geological Society of America Annual Meeting (Denver, 2013) and are co-authors on four GSA abstracts (1, 2, 3, 4). Chengying majored in math and computer science and is currently working in the insurance industry. Linda is majored in math (with emphasis in statistics) and minored in biology and is currently a PhD student in biostatistics at Johns Hopkins. At left is the rest of our research group: Adam Maloof (Princeton), Susannah Porter (UCSB), and a friend (Late Jurassic). (Not in photo: John Moore, UCSB.)




photo of Peter Gao
Peter Gao, Strath Haven High School '13 (Summer 2013)

Peter studied the effectiveness of visualizing complex datasets using Chernoff faces. He is currently an undergradute at the University of Chicago.






photo of Ling Zhong

Ling Zhong '13 (Summer 2011, Spring 2013)

Ling worked on three projects: (1) assessing the population size of the North Atlantic right whale, one of the most endangered large cetacean species, (2) estimating the number of pulses in a mass extinction, and (3) the effect of incomplete preservation in estimating the incidence of drilling predation on bivalves. She presented a poster at the Geological Society of America Annual Meeting (Minneapolis, 2011) and the Sigma Xi poster session (Swarthmore, 2011). She is a co-author of a 2018 paper in Paleobiology, and a co-author of two GSA abstracts (1, 2). Ling majored in math and economics and earned a PhD in economics at Yale University. She is currently an assistant professor of economics at the Cheung Kong Graduate School of Business in Hong Kong.




photo of Sally Chang Sally Chang '11 (Spring 2011)

Sally worked on extinction selectivity in mass extinctions. She majored in biology and medieval studies at Swarthmore and went on to earn a PhD in evolutionary biology at the University of Kansas. She is currently at the NIH National Human Genome Research Institute.







photo of Brendan McVeigh and Aaron Zimmerman

Brendan McVeigh '11 and Aaron Zimmerman '11 (Summer 2010)

Aaron and Brendan worked on confidence intervals for estimating the duration of a mass extinction. They presented a poster at the Geological Society of America Annual Meeting (Denver, 2010) and the Sigma Xi poster session (Swarthmore, 2010). They are co-authors of a 2012 paper in Paleobiology and a GSA abstract. Brendan majored in math with a minor in physics and is currently a PhD student in statistics at Carnegie Mellon. Aaron majored in math and engineering and is currently a PhD student in statistics at the University of Washington.




photo of Brianna Rego

Brianna Rego, Stanford MS '10 (as second reader; Primary advisor: Jonathan Payne)

Brianna worked on the evolution of body size in foraminifera and the effect of mass extinctions and recoveries on size trends. She is the lead author of a 2012 paper in Paleobiology and a co-author of a 2016 paper also in Paleobiology. She is also a co-author of four GSA abstracts (1, 2, 3, 4). Brianna earned her PhD in history of science at Stanford University and is currently a science writer.






photo of Heidi Wong

Heidi Wong '10 (Summer 2008)

Heidi worked on two projects: (1) confidence intervals for estimating the duration of a mass extinction, and (2) visualizing complex datasets using Chernoff faces. For the first topic, she presented a poster at the Geological Society of America Annual Meeting (Portland, 2009) and is a co-author of a 2012 paper in Paleobiology and two GSA abstracts (1, 2). For the second topic, results from our work were presented by Steve at the Harvard Quintessential Contributions conference, and further work is ongoing. Heidi majored in cognitive science with a minor in statistics. She earned an M. Arch. in architecture and an MS in information (human-computer interaction) from the University of Michigan and currently works in interaction design.




photo of Dasol Park

Dasol Park '10 (Summer 2008)

Dasol worked on confidence intervals for stratigraphic ranges when recovery potential is non-uniform. He presented posters at the Geological Society of America Annual Meeting (Houston, 2008) and the Sigma Xi poster session (Swarthmore, 2008). He is a co-author of a 2016 paper in Paleobiology and three GSA abstracts (1, 2, 3). Dasol majored in math and computer science and currently works in finance.





photo of Geoffrey Sun

Libin (Geoffrey) Sun '10 (Summer 2008)

Geoffrey worked on Markov Chain Monte Carlo algorithms for estimating extinction levels in the end-Permian extinction. He presented posters at the Geological Society of America Annual Meeting (Houston, 2008) and the Sigma Xi poster session (Swarthmore, 2008). He is a co-author of a GSA abstract. Geoffrey majored in math and computer science. He earned a PhD in computer science at Brown University and currently works in imaging.





photo of David Chudzicki

David Chudzicki '07 (Summer 2007)

David worked on confidence intervals for stratigraphic ranges when recovery potential is non-uniform. He is a co-author of a 2009 paper in Paleobiology and a 2016 paper also in Paleobiology. He is also a co-author of three GSA abstracts (1, 2, 3). David majored in math with a minor in linguistics. He earned an MS in mathematics from the University of Chicago and currently works in data science.




photo of Mike Karcher

Michael Karcher '07 (Summer 2006, Summer 2007)

Mike worked on Markov Chain Monte Carlo algorithms for estimating extinction levels in the end-Permian mass extinction. He presented posters at the Geological Society of America (Philadelphia, 2006), the Joint Statistical Meetings (Salt Lake City, 2007), the Smithsonian-UPenn Geobiology Symposium (Washington, DC, 2007), and the Sigma Xi poster session (Swarthmore, 2007). He is a co-author of two GSA abstracts (1, 2). Mike majored in math with a minor in English and earned a PhD in statistics from the University of Washington.





Current and former collaborators


Ken Angielczyk, Field Museum (photo below)

Richard Bambach, Smithsonian

Steve Brusatte, University of Edinburgh

Robert Brandon, Duke

Andy Bush, Connecticut

Peter Dodson, UPenn

Andrew Du, University of Chicago

Phil Everson, Swarthmore

Seth Finnegan, UC Berkeley

Jessica Todd Harper, Jessica Todd Harper Photography

Noel Heim, Stanford

Andrew Knoll, Harvard

Matthew Knope, Hawaii

Michal Kowalewski, Florida

Graeme Lloyd, Leeds (UK)

Charles Marshall, UC Berkeley

Adam Maloof, Princeton

Dan McShea, Duke

John Moore, UC Santa Barbara

Phil Novack-Gottshall, Benedictine U.

Sophia Passy, U. of Texas-Arlington

Jon Payne, Stanford (photo above)

Susannah Porter, UC Santa Barbara

David Roberts, U. of Kent

Peter Roopnarine, California Academy of Sciences (photo at left)

Ellen Schaal, DePaul U.

Felisa Smith, U. of New Mexico

Stephanie Smith, Field Museum

Andrew Solow, Woods Hole

Working group on body size macroevolution and macroecology, National Evolutionary Synthesis Center



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