Meet the FYRES students from Fall 2018!


Kelly Adamovicz

Kelly Adamovicz

Major/subject interest: Environmental studies

Hometown: Saline, MI

What is an interesting fact about you?
I love to sing, play the ukelele and guitar; music is an unbelieveably beautiful escape.

What initially attracted you to the FYRES course?
I really appreciated the fact that I could fulfill course requirements, while at the same time engaging in research in an outdoor classroom.

What is a highlight that you have from your time in the course so far?
It has been wonderful getting to know the people in this course and make memories with them.


Asher Amundson

Asher Amundson

Major/subject interest: Science area, maybe physics

Hometown: Saint Charles, IL

What is an interesting fact about you?
I can recite a Shakespearean sonnet from memory.

What initially attracted you to the FYRES course?
I heard it was life changing. I didn't know what I was majoring in at the time, so I took the opportunity to see what earth science is like.

What is a highlight that you have from your time in the course so far?
The views at the crests are incredible, not going to lie.


Hayworth Anderson

Hayworth Anderson

Major/subject interest: Computer science

Hometown: Greenville, SC

What is an interesting fact about you?
Love listening to all different types of music.

What initially attracted you to the FYRES course?
Initially I wanted an easy science credit about something that semed interesting, but I have really enjoyed the class so far and learning about the coastal dunes of Michigan.

What is a highlight that you have from your time in the course so far?
One of the labs where we all had certain jobs to do was a great time and a lot of fun to do. We found out one of our mentors can't park well too.


Katherine Benedict

Katherine Benedict

Major/subject interest: Political science and Environmental science (Bio emphasis), minor in Writing

Hometown: Grand Rapids, MI

What is an interesting fact about you?
I was on a competitive ski racing team in high school. Also, I can wiggle my ears.

What initially attracted you to the FYRES course?
I was interested in the opportunity to conduct scientific research as an underclassman. Also, I wanted to get to know more about dunes.

What is a highlight that you have from your time in the course so far?
I enjoyed the lab where my group operated the total station and all the car rides to and from the beach!


Haleigh I. Bos

Haleigh J. Bos

Major/subject interest: Chemistry

Hometown: Hudsonville, MI

What is an interesting fact about you?
I enjoy playing my double bass.

What initially attracted you to the FYRES course?
The opportunity for research.

What is a highlight that you have from your time in the course so far?
Field work at P.J. Hoffmaster State Park.


Rachel Commons

Rachel Commons

Major/subject interest: Undecided

Hometown: Rochester, MI

What is an interesting fact about you?
I can lick my elbow.

What initially attracted you to the FYRES course?
The idea that I am not only working behind a desk, my classroom is the outdoors on the dunes which is an amazing environment.

What is a highlight that you have from your time in the course so far?
It is an amazing hands-on project which allows me to engage in what I'm learning.


Noah DenBleyker

Noah DenBleyker

Major/subject interest: Geology

Hometown: Gilbert, AZ

What is an interesting fact about you?
I am organized with schoolwork and always get it done on time.

What initially attracted you to the FYRES course?
Going out to do research on the dunes.

What is a highlight that you have from your time in the course so far?
Doing different types of research methods to study dune movement; for example, stadia rod or total station or sand shifters.


Simon Detmer

Simon Detmer

Major/subject interest: Biology and Environmental science

Hometown: Chicago, IL

What is an interesting fact about you?
I have a longstanding and deep interest in the banded linsang.

What initially attracted you to the FYRES course?
The opportunity to do hands-on research on the earth in the first semester of college.

What is a highlight that you have from your time in the course so far?
I have enjoyed working with my classmates on the beautiful Michigan dunes.


Josh DeVries

Josh DeVries

Major/subject interest: Marketing

Hometown: Walker, MI

What is an interesting fact about you?
I got to fly a plane once.

What initially attracted you to the FYRES course?
Leaning hands-on and actually going out and learning at the dunes.

What is a highlight that you have from your time in the course so far?
Just learning and hanging out at the dunes.


Keagan DeVries

Keagan DeVries

Major/subject interest: Business

Hometown: Dyer, IN

What is an interesting fact about you?
I am left-handed.

What initially attracted you to the FYRES course?
I enjoy being in nature and it seemed like a very good research oppotunity.

What is a highlight that you have from your time in the course so far?
Surveying dune 3.5 at P.J. Hoffmaster State Park with an eye level and a stadia rod.


David Martinez-Vasquez

David Martinez-Vasquez

Major/subject interest: Biology

Hometown: Wyoming, MI

What is an interesting fact about you?
I am a quadruplet, a singer, and pretty cool.

What initially attracted you to the FYRES course?
Being outdoors, firsthand research experience, meeing other potentially interested in research, and DUNES!

What is a highlight that you have from your time in the course so far?
Visiting Noth Beach Dune... Wind was cold and I didn't dress well, but at the crest I saw a bald eagle soaring as the wind blew and I couldn't help but enjoy the beauty.


Jake Mulder

Jake Mulder










Chynna Pomales-Stohr

Chynna Pomales-Stohr

Major/subject interest: Political science with a minor in Computer science

Hometown: Okemos, MI

What is an interesting fact about you?
I have two wonderful cats, one that looks like a panda and one beautiful calico named Zelda!

What initially attracted you to the FYRES course?
I actually didn't know about the FYRES course until I came for my advising during Passport. Deanna introduced me to the course and I applied that day. I was drawn to the idea of being off campus to do research, but a lot of the decision was based off of the warmth of my advisor, Deanna, and knowing she was going to be the professor.

What is a highlight that you have from your time in the course so far?
The research has been fun, but the highlight has been learning more about our local coastal dunes and the fact that we get to be outside!!


Garrett Rhoads

Garrett Rhoads

Major/subject interest: Marketing and Entrepreneurship

Hometown: Mio, MI

What is an interesting fact about you?
I enjoy fishing.

What initially attracted you to the FYRES course?
I like the outdoors and FYRES gave me the opportunity to connect my love for the outdoors and the classroom.

What is a highlight that you have from your time in the course so far?
When we stopped at the cider mill after a lab and we got donuts and cider as a group.


Kyra Schofield

Kyra Schofield

Major/subject interest: Film and media

Hometown: Bloomfield Hills, MI

What is an interesting fact about you?
I have a twin.

What initially attracted you to the FYRES course?
I wanted to take this course because I have an interest in doing field research. Also the fact that we go to the beach every lab.

What is a highlight that you have from your time in the course so far?
A highlight that I have is when I got to use the total station and measure the elevation of the dunes.


Jessie Vandekeift

Jessie Vandekeift

Major/subject interest: Undecided

Hometown: Jenison, MI

What is an interesting fact about you?
I'm a triplet.

What initially attracted you to the FYRES course?
I love the beach and being outside, so when I heard that we would be doing research on the dunes I decided to join.

What is a highlight that you have from your time in the course so far?
Being able to learn outside of the classroom and how the course is more hands-on.


Madelyn Vander Veen

Madelyn Vander Veen

Major/subject interest: Undecided, but maybe chemistry

Hometown: Portland, OR

What is an interesting fact about you?
I play viola.

What initially attracted you to the FYRES course?
I wanted to take a science class, my sister enjoyed it, and I like the beach! Getting research experience this early in college is also pretty cool.

What is a highlight that you have from your time in the course so far?
My favorite moment was sitting on the crest of a dune, eating some trail mix, and looking at the view.


Lesley Vargas

Lesley Vargas

Major/subject interest: Biology - but undecided as of now

Hometown: Holland, MI

What is an interesting fact about you?
I'm one quarter Israelite (the Middle East).

What initially attracted you to the FYRES course?
I loved how this course was hands-on and we are able to go somewhere outside of class to do research, especially as freshmen.

What is a highlight that you have from your time in the course so far?
I have made close friends with my peers in this class and I have learned so much information about the importance of dunes that I never would have gained if it weren't for this course! I've learned important research skills throughout the course as well.


Abby Voskuil

Abby Voskuil










Catherine Worthington

Catherine Worthington

Major/subject interest: Psychology

Hometown: Alto, MI

What is an interesting fact about you?
I used to compete in gymnastics and still enjoy keeping up with it - and doing the splits in random places.

What initially attracted you to the FYRES course?
I learned about FYRES right after a trip to Arizona, where I spent more time outdoors. The idea of spending more time outdoors for class sounded awesome. As a non-science minded person, I wanted to have fun while earning science credits.

What is a highlight that you have from your time in the course so far?
I love being outdoors! It has also been great to work on projects that allow me to use my organizational and writing skills.