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School of Biological Sciences Piovia-Scott Lab



DSCF2242-4Jonah Piovia-Scott
phone: 360-546-9657


Jonah grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area and got his undergraduate education at UC Santa Cruz. After finishing his undergraduate degree he worked as a technician at the University of Washington School of Oceanography before going on to get his PhD at UC Davis with Thomas Schoener and David Spiller. He did postdoctoral research at UC Davis and UC Berkeley with Louie Yang, Mary Power, Sharon Lawler, and Janet Foley. After spending a year as an Assistant Professor at UC Riverside he moved to WSUV, where he has been a professor since 2015. He enjoys hiking, gardening, and playing with his children.


Jesse Burgher (Ph.D., Biology)

Jesse grew up in Virginia, at the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. He graduated in 2012 from Ithaca College with a degree in environmental studies and wildlife biology. Since then, Jesse has worked as a wildlife biologist in multiple roles, studying amphibian assemblages in the Missouri Ozarks and, most recently spending five years working for the Pacific Northwest Research Station on a long-term Northern spotted owl demographic study. As a Ph.D. student in Dr. Piovia-Scott’s lab, Jesse will be using eDNA techniques to examine translocated American beaver movement dynamics in montane aquatic systems. In his spare time, Jesse enjoys cooking, exploring the Cascades, resurrecting dead audio formats, and spending time with his wife, Zoe and dog, Kodi.

Sky Button (Ph.D., Biology)

Sky grew up in Windsor, Connecticut, where their love for amphibians and reptiles flourished throughout childhood despite limited local biodiversity. They earned their BS in Wildlife Ecology and Conservation from the University of Florida in 2017, and their MS in Fish and Wildlife Conservation from Virginia Tech in 2019. For their MS thesis, Sky assessed factors influencing the utility of in situ artificial shelters for monitoring eastern hellbenders (Cryptobranchus alleganiensis alleganiensis). Sky’s dissertation research in the Piovia-Scott Lab is focused on improving the effective conservation and monitoring of seep and headwater stream-associated amphibians within the Pacific Northwest, using a combination of eDNA and visual encounter surveys. Their primary interests include herpetological conservation and ecology, species interactions, ecological modeling, stream ecology, and the conservation of secretive species. In their spare time, Sky enjoys searching for amphibians and reptiles, hiking, outdoor sightseeing, and going to punk shows when there is not an ongoing pandemic.


Julianna Hoza (Ph.D., Biology)

Julianna is from Olympia, Washington, and she completed her undergraduate degree in Environmental Science and Aquatic & Fishery Science with a minor in Quantitative Science at the University of Washington in 2022. As an undergraduate, Julianna’s research focused on amphibian habitat restoration and horned lizard phylogenetics. During her undergraduate summers, she worked for the Forest Service as a wildlife technician in Montana and Utah, and these jobs along with undergraduate research experience inspired her to pursue a graduate degree in the Piovia-Scott Lab. Her research will focus on how amphibians can benefit from beaver relocation projects in the context of climate change, and her areas of interests include habitat restoration, climate change impacts on amphibians, and species interactions. In her free time, Julianna likes to bird-watch, run, hike, read, rock-climb, garden, and enjoy tiny living in her built-out van.

Susanna Masecar (Ph.D., Biology)

Washington is now the second state Susie has called home. She lived in Central North Carolina before moving to Vancouver. After completing a BS in biology and environmental/ecological sciences at Elon University in 2015, she earned a DVM with a focus in zoological medicine at North Carolina State University in 2019. Prior to joining the Piovia-Scott lab, Susie practiced as an exotics veterinarian in Raleigh, NC. As part of a broader multi-institution amphibian pathogen dynamics project, Susie will be investigating common pet amphibian species’ susceptibility to important infectious diseases. Her main interests include amphibian conservation, pathophysiology, diagnostic tools, and ecology. Some of her hobbies include collecting and sometimes making pottery, hiking, and roasting coffee.



Ryan Wagner (Ph.D., Biology)

personal website

Ryan Wagner is from Cleveland, Ohio and graduated from Ohio University in 2020 with a degree in Wildlife and Conservation Biology. He earned his Master’s degree in Environment and Natural Resources in 2023 from Ohio State University. For his MS thesis, Ryan studied mudpuppy salamander populations and the impacts of the chemical lampricide TFM on their population viability. As a Ph.D. student, Ryan combines field work and statistical modeling to support the conservation and management of remnant Cascades frog populations in northern California. He is also a conservation photographer and photojournalist. He is passionate about communicating science and sharing hopeful stories about efforts to protect the world’s most endangered species.



Mahlia Bump

Mahlia was born and raised in Vancouver Washington and she wouldn’t have it any other way! She’s an undergrad at WSUV and is majoring in neuroscience and minoring in biology. Although she started school completely online she has made it her mission to make an impact on campus. She’s the president of the Asian & Pacific Islander Association (APIA) club and the Pre-Dental club. Her favorite event to date has been the Cultural Fashion Show, where APIA teamed up with other culture clubs to showcase traditional clothes from various ethnicities. She’s also a proud member of the Piovia-Scott Lab and works with Susie on her research. Mahlia is hoping to go to dental school and she enjoys hiking, goofing off, and drawing in her free time.

Alysha Henderson

Alysha completed her B.Sc. in Earth & Environmental Science at Washington State University, Vancouver. As an undergraduate, Alysha worked as a research technician for the Bsal exposure trials within the Piovia-Scott lab. While there, she developed an interest in amphibian conservation and infectious diseases. Alysha enjoys herping, birdwatching, and baking in her free time.



Hannah Waters

Hannah was born and raised in Washington, growing up in Moses Lake before moving to Vancouver. With a love for animals and all things reptiles/amphibians she started a career at PetSmart. Specializing in the maintenance, husbandry and dietary needs of both reptiles and amphibians. She completed her AA at Clark community college in 2020 and her B.S in Biology from WSUV in the summer of 2023. After graduating, Hannah started working as a research intern in the Piovia-Scott Lab which focuses on emerging infectious diseases of amphibians, specifically, chytridiomycosis. Her interests include hiking with her dog Farlee, cooking, reading psychological thrillers, and aquascaping.


Em Romero

Em, a Washington state resident, embarked on her college journey in human medicine and nursing, accumulating valuable experience in the medical field. Driven by a profound passion for environmental science and biology, she redirected her path and is currently an undergraduate intern in amphibian pathogen research under the guidance of Dr. Susie Masacar. Beyond academia, Em co-manages Wild Hare Films, a videography business with her life partner. In her leisure, she enjoys the company of her two bunnies, indulges in reading, and expresses her creativity through outdoor artistry.

Christopher Diosdado

Christopher was raised in Guanajuato, Mexico, and moved to Vancouver at 15 years old. He is an undergrad at WSUV majoring in biology and minoring in chemistry and molecular biology. He’s interested in human anatomy and after taking an immunology course, he developed a great enthusiasm in the field and made his goal to become a medical researcher. Christopher intends to get lab experience after graduation and then pursue a PhD in molecular biology. He loves cooking half-burned-half-raw dishes, increasing his board game collection, and playing with his two dogs.

Rawan Tanous

Rawan spent the majority of her childhood in Vancouver, Washington where she is currently working on her BS in Neuroscience. Her interest in research began during high school when she performed a small-scale experiment in her epidemiology class. This began her passion for community health and investigating disease dynamics within susceptible populations. As an intern, she is getting more hands-on experience and technical knowledge about research that she hopes to expand upon in Medical school one day. Outside of university, Rawan’s hobbies include reading, cooking, and online shopping.

Anthony Gennaro

Tony Gennaro grew up in the Camas, Washington area. He is currently an undergraduate in Washington State Vancouver’s  Neuroscience program with aspirations to specialize in neural engineering and molecular biosciences. Tony is an intern for the chytrid exposure trials in amphibian research and as a data entry specialist within the Piovia-Scott lab. Tony enjoys all the outdoor activities you can encounter in the Pacific Northwest, sports, and raising his cats.

Shep Soulinthone



Graduate students

Nicolette Nelson (M.S., Biology, 2020)

Wildlife Biologist, Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection

Andrew McIntyre (M.S., Biology, 2020)

Biologist, Cardno

Kimberly Cook (M.S., Biology, 2020)

Research Technician, Oregon Health and Sciences University

Postdoctoral researchers

John Romansic (2017-2019)

Ecologist, H.T. Harvey and Associates.

Undergraduate students, interns, and technicians

Chris Mead (2021-23)

Laboratory Technician, Absci

Rosalinda Olvera (2020-22)
Megan Bryant (2019-21)

Laboratory Technician, Absci

Anthony Thorn (2020-21)
Helena Coker (2018-21)
Monica Draculan (2018-20)

Research Technician, Oregon National Primate Research Center

Luke Slind (2018-20)

Research Technician, Oregon National Primate Research Center

Karisma Sexton (2019-20)

Student Assistant, US Fish and Wildlife Service

Mitchell Carey (2018-20)
Gilary Lozano Lopez (2019-20)
Terrell Haywood (2020)
Erick Videira Paucar (2018-20)
Matthew Lewis (2019-20)
Scott Brightbill (2019-20)
Alex Pomraning (2020)
Laura Becker (2019-20)
Nick van Gilder (2017-20)

M.S. student, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Connecticut

Chelsea Osbron (2017-19)
Chantal Kanso (2018-19)
Gretchen Rathke (2018-19)
Catherine Phung (2018-19)
Michelle Devlaeminck (2018)
Amaury Ferrer (2018)
Paige Jernigan (2017-28)
Angelica Harig (2018)
Amaia Demaray (2017)
Dylan Kubina (2017)
Jennifer Ruthruff (2016-17)
Karina Exton (2016-17)
Nathan Hall (2016-17)
Heather Kenny (2015-16)

Ph.D. student, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Colorado