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John M. Mola

Lab PI – Assistant Professor, Department of Forest and Rangeland Stewardship

John (he/him) completed his PhD at the University of California Davis and a postdoc at U.S. Geological Survey. John grew up in Connecticut/Florida and is a first-generation college student. His favorite bee is a frisbee.

Faculty Webpage | Personal Webpage


Lab Associates

Nathan Comai

Nathan Comai is a Research Associate for both the Mola Lab as well as Seth Davis’ Forest Health Lab in the Warner College of Natural Resources. Nathan graduated with a B.S. degree in Wildlife, Conservation, Fisheries, Biology with a minor in Entomology at Colorado State University in 2019. Nathan works as a sort of floating helper for students and faculty in the lab. He has worked on many different projects, from native bee identification and collection/curation (his favorite), to DNA extraction, PCR, and gel electrophoresis with Bark beetles. In his free-time Nathan most enjoys playing soccer, wildlife photography, and nature excursions with his dog.


Graduate Students

Nicki Bailey

Nicki (she/her) is a Master’s student in the Graduate Degree Program in Ecology. Her thesis research addresses the relationship between pollinator biodiversity and neighborhood equity in Denver city parks. In her previous work, she studied native bees, citizen science, and butterflies from Michigan to California, but primarily in National Parks and on public lands. She graduated with a B.A. in Biology in 2021 from Kalamazoo College. In her free time, she likes to do art, see live music, and take pictures of every insect she sees while hiking.


Sophia Gulutzo

Sophia is a Master’s student in the Graduate Degree Program in Ecology interested in pollinator, forest, and restoration ecology. Sophia grew up in the foothills of the Ozark and Ouachita mountains and graduated with a B.S. in Environmental Science from the University of Central Arkansas in 2022. In the Mola lab, she will be working to close knowledge gaps concerning the life history of threatened and endangered bumble bee queens, especially regarding non-foraging life stages. In the wild, Sophia can often be found rock climbing, playing disc golf, hanging out with her bearded dragon, Root, or playing music.

bee ecology, overwintering, forest ecology, phenology and inter-species associations


Laura Lukens

Laura (she/her) is a Ph.D. student in the Graduate Degree Program in Ecology interested in understanding how anthropogenic change influences population dynamics and species interactions, with a special interest in endangered species conservation. Laura completed her BS at the University of Minnesota in 2015 and before attending CSU, studied monarch butterflies and grassland ecology at the University of Minnesota and Monarch Joint Venture. In her free time, Laura enjoys spending time outdoors with her dog and loved ones (camping, hiking, gardening, canoeing), cooking, and doing pottery.


Kyle Ruszkowski

Kyle (He/Him) is a PhD student in the Graduate Degree Program in Ecology. He recently completed a master’s degree with Dr. Jennifer Bousselot in 2023. He is interested in plant-pollinator interactions, with a focus on native plants and bees. His past work focused on plant phenology and floral nectar resources on green roofs. His current work continues to focus on the plant-pollinator interface within urban ecosystems and the surrounding areas. 

green Infrastructure, phenology, pollinator visitation, floral resources



Nancy Bartholomew

Nancy’s background is in education, and she is now working on a second bachelor’s degree in Fish, Wildlife, and Conservation Biology.  She grew up in Wyoming, but lived in Arizona, El Salvador, Oregon, and Ecuador before settling in Colorado. She joined the lab as an CSU Summer Extension Intern helping with the Plants for Parks, Pollinators, and People project in the summer of 2023. She’ll be continuing on to do an independent research project!

Zella Benson

Zella is a senior studying Fish, Wildlife, and Conservation Biology. She is a CSU Summer Extension Intern for Sophia Gulutzo’s bumble bee and radio telemetry project. In her free time, Zella enjoys rock climbing, mountain biking, and back-country skiing. She also aspires to pet every dog she sees. 

Megan Fenner

Megan (she/her) is an undergraduate majoring in Zoology. She has always been passionate about the natural world and is always curious about the connection between animals and their environment. She is currently working as a part of the Mola lab with Sophia Gulutzo, partaking in Sophia’s research on bumblebee queens this summer 2024. Outside of lab, she enjoys spending her summer trying to read as many animal behavior books as she can, climbing as much as possible, hiking anywhere, and writing. 

Eclosed Lab Members

Postdoctoral Scholars

Veronica Champine, PhD (with Dr. Becky Niemiec and the Animal Human Policy Center) – now with a food systems think tank!


Ava Tolbert (2023 Research Technician)