Arianna Krinos is a rising senior triple majoring in Biological Sciences and Computational Modeling and Data Analytics in the College of Science, and Computer Science in the College of Engineering. Her academic goals practically define what it means to be a Virginia Tech student dedicated to inclusive, collaborative science and a commitment to service.
Others have taken notice. This past March, she was named as a 2018 Goldwater Scholar, and in fall 2017, the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation awarded Krinos a $10,000 scholarship. Krinos is the first and only student at Virginia Tech to ever receive the latter scholarship.
Krinos’ undergraduate research focuses on the point where biological sciences and computer science meet and how scientists can describe and predict changes in freshwater ecosystems through the use of computer models and quantitative tools such as bioinformatics and data analytics. Krinos became involved in the research during her sophomore year under Cayelan Carey, an assistant professor in Biological Sciences.
“We seek to understand combined effects of climate and land use change on lake water quality, including temperature profiles, phytoplankton distributions, and nutrient dynamics, alongside other factors,” Krinos said. “I was pretty overwhelmed when I heard I had won the Goldwater Scholarship — this particular scholarship has been a dream of mine for quite some time, because it represents promise specifically as a graduate student and researcher. It's a great feeling to have affirmation that the committee feels that I show potential in the area I feel called to invest my career in.”
Alongside her work with Carey, Krinos has engaged in other research opportunities, including a Research Experience for Undergraduates at the University of North Florida, and work in the lab of Professor Lisa Belden, also of Biological Sciences. For Belden, Krinos uses her computational modeling to connect the likely role of fungal pathogens in the decline of global amphibian populations.
Krinos is spending this summer interning with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) as a Hollings Scholar at the Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory (GFDL) in Princeton, New Jersey. “I will be working on a marine resource modeling project using statistically downscaled data from global climate models to study an ecologically and economically important marine species,” she said.
And after? Krinos plans on pursuing a doctorate in limnology or oceanography with an emphasis on biology and computers. “I am drawn to the integrated aquatic sciences because of how easily many different fields of science are applied to aquatic ecosystems,” Krinos said. Upon acquiring her degrees, Krinos intends to pursue a career in research that will make an impact on environmental management and biological understanding, and also will allow her to apply computational and analytical skills to ecology.