In August of 2013, I arrived at Penn State to work on my M.S. in Wildlife and Fisheries Science in David Miller’s Applied Population Ecology Lab. My funding was provided as a research assistantship, and my main duties were to work with collaborators (see research page) to establish the Salamander Population and Adaptation Research Collaboration Network (SPARCnet). Additionally, I had several duties in Dave’s lab. Mainly I aided in development of research projects, including acquiring permits for work on state and public lands, writing proposals for IACUC, planning field logistics, and working with Dave on methods/techniques for lab projects.
Some of the lab projects included working with PA Game Commission and my lab-mate Courtney Davis on estimating population structure of Ruffed Grouse in the state. This involved developing generalized linear mixed models to analyze spatiotemporal changes in age- and sex-ratios. Other projects include surveying a network of ephemeral wetlands to monitor breeding amphibian populations. This involved aiding in experimental design, survey methods, conducting surveys, and learning pattern recognition software to identify individuals off individual color patterns.
My final responsibility was to help with David Miller’s WFS 447 Wildlife Management course. Here I got experience with facilitating in-class activities, developing and giving one week class modules, and running workshops on the semester project: a wildlife habitat management plan.
In 2015 I was awarded a Penn State University Graduate Fellowship and a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship. I decided to continue in Dave’s lab to pursue my Ph.D. in Ecology. Now my job is to science!