College of Arts and Sciences



LINKS Fellows spend two years working with WFIS Educators, SJU Faculty and School District of Philadelphia teachers to implement a hands-on-science curriculum for grades 1st through 5th.  In addition, Fellows work to complete a Master's Degree in Biology and Master's thesis research.

Meet our class of 2014 Fellows:


Philip Freda, M.S. Candidate, Biology

B.S. Administration of Justice, Pennsylvania State University, 2005
Post-Baccalaureate studies in Biology, Saint Joseph's University, 2012
Research Focus: Genetic variation and microevolution in both Drosophila simulans and Drosophila suzukiiD. simulans is a model organism related to D. melanogaster while D. suzukii is a pest species, laying eggs in fresh, unspoiled fruits. This research is achieved by analyzing genetic variation at candidate loci in the genomes.
Other Interest: I am a science blogger for  I also enjoy mountain biking, photography, science-fiction/fantasy, and being with friends and family.


Nicole Slezak, M.S. Candidate, Biology

Undergraduate: B.S. Biology, Saint Joseph's University, 2012
Research Interest:  My research will focus on the plant physiological changes on soybeans (Glycine max) infected with soybean cyst nematodes (Heterodera glycines) combined with predicted global environmental changes.
Other Interest: Outside of the laboratory and being a GeoKids LINKS Fellow, I spend most of my time with family and friends, skiing in the Catskills, drawing potraits in ink, baking all sorts of desserts, and traveling to Europe.
Nicole Slezak


David Kays, M.S. Candidate, Biology

Undergraduate: B.S. Messiah College, 2011
Research Interest:  Dietary analysis of Diamondback Terrapins
Other Interest: Working out, folk music, exploring forests, and coffee