Raymond Jacobs is a Junior Plant Science major, concentrating in genetics and breeding. He has been fascinated by the diversity of the plant kingdom as long as he can remember and takes special interest in plants with unusual evolutionary adaptations. Other than plants, he finds many elements of the natural world to be equally intriguing, including reptiles, amphibians, birds, and insects. This will be his first formal outreach experience, but Raymond has always enjoyed sharing his interest in plants with others. He is an officer in Hortus Forum, Cornell’s undergraduate horticulture club and hopes to someday work for a plant biotech company.
Tori Ulrich: I am currently a junior animal science major at Cornell with a minor in nutrition. I have been fascinated with animals for as long as I can remember, and I have recently taken up great interest in the science of nutrition. This will be my first formal outreach experience, but I have experience from high school teaching elementary aged students. I am currently a teaching assistance for the introduction to animal science class here at Cornell. I also enjoy playing floor hockey, horseback riding, and traveling.
Amanda Markovitz: Hello! I’m a senior here at Cornell, studying animal science and entomology. I basically like learning about anything that moves. I’m especially interested in research, having worked on research projects with mice and mosquitoes. I showed my true commitment to science last year when I let a hundred hungry mosquitoes feed on my leg for a research project. I’m looking forward to spreading my love of science and hopefully I can convince a few people that insects are cooler than they think!
Cheni Filios is a senior Plant Science major. She is interested in ornamental horticulture and has always been facinated by how plants grow and where they can grow around the world. She is a member of the Undergraduate Horticulture Club, Hortus Forum, and enjoys sharing her love of plants with other students and hopes that she can help many other people find an interest in the plant world.
Kevin DeLong is a junior majoring in Biology with a concentration in genetics and development. Growing up in a rural setting Kevin has always had an appreciation and interest for the natural world. After being employed for two summers in Allegany State Park, Kevin brings back what he’s learned with a specific interest in herps, driven by his discovery of a two-tailed salamander!
Kristen Motooka: Since she was a little girl growing up in Irvine, California, she has always loved plants and flowers. Combined with her aptitude for biology and aversion to blood, this interest in plants eventually led her to CALS, where she is now a junior in plant science. She loves learning about the natural world around her and hopes to be able to share her curiosity and knowledge with others.
Meagan Cooney: Hi! I am currently a junior animal science major in the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences. Growing up I have always loved the outdoors and the animals which live there. Being from Long Island, I never had the opportunity to work with large animals until I got to Cornell. After having that experience, I hope to one day manage a dairy farm in upstate NY. Here at Cornell I have some outreach experience through the local volunteer organization, Cornell Companions, where we bring companion animals to nursing home as pet therapy. In addition, I am also a teaching assistant for an animal nutrition class.
Michele Batista: Hello! I have traveled from Grapevine, Texas to study animal science here at Cornell. I’ve always had an interest in mammals, especially big cats and horses. I hope to go to veterinary school after I’m done with my undergraduate degree, and eventually work for a zoo, taking care of exotic, wild animals. But before I settle down I want to travel around the world studying the animals that interest me in their natural environment. I don’t know how I’m going to accomplish this yet, but I really hope it’s gonna happen! This class is my first formal outreach participation and I can’t wait to share with people what fascinates me about the animal kingdom.
Rachel Ostlund: Hello! I’m a junior Plant Science major, with a special interest in ecology and sustainable agriculture. I’ve always loved the outdoors, and since I was little I’ve wanted to know more about the natural world around me. Before coming to Cornell, I spent two years at Wesleyan University studying earth science and geology. I have some outreach experience, and I take great pleasure in sharing my love of nature and science with others. I’ve worked in an after school science program for 3rd and 4th graders, and after graduating from high school I spent a year in AmeriCorps teaching environmental education in elementary schools.
Hi! My name is Renee Dillon. I am a senior Science of Natural and Environmental Systems major with a concentration is environmental biology. I have been interested in biology for a long time and became interested in forests after a doing rainforest restoration in Australia. Currently I work at Cornell’s conservatory and plant science greenhouses and love to travel and go hiking. After graduation I hope to do some field work studying forests and then continue on to graduate school. This is my first formal outreach experience and I am very excited to share what I’ve learned with others.
Shern Kier: Hails from the depths of the South Jersey Pine Barrens, where as a boy he spent many hours tracing its serpentine rivers from the stern of a canoe and hunting the Jersey Devil. Interests in animal behavior and philosophy led him to Cornell University where he is currently a senior Natural Resources major focusing on behavioral ecology. In the past he has worked in the Venezuelan Amazon, chasing Lepidopterans and at the Yestermorrow Design/Build School, integrating sustainability and design. Raptors—birds of prey, flying, and anything else that goes have always been close to his heart and he wants to come tell you why!
Erica Secor: I am currently a junior and am majoring in animal science/pre-veterinary medicine. Ever since my days when I was little and would sneak apples out of the house to go feed the neighbors’ horse I have had a passion for animals. I began volunteering with local veterinarians during middle school and have been hooked onto the idea of veterinary medicine ever since. I ultimately would like to graduate from veterinary school and continue on to receive a board-certification in equine surgery. My outreach experience includes coaching youth lacrosse and assisting in the preparation and execution of various “client education” programs put on by a local equine veterinarian. I am also currently a teaching assistant for an introductory animal biology course. My other activities include conducting research in an equine immunology laboratory in the Cornell College of Veterinary Medicine, horseback riding and training, and playing lacrosse.
Tiffany Bernhardt is a senior Animal Science major with an interest in veterinary medicine and animal genetics. A local girl, she became interested in animals and nature growing up on her parents’ beef farm in Groton, NY. Previously, she has taught children about beef cattle through AgStravaganza, a Cornell Cooperative Extension program where Cortland County 4th graders learn about agriculture. Currently, she works with the foals and breeding horses at the Cornell Equine Park. She hopes to be attending veterinary school in the fall to become a large animal vet or graduate school for research of genetic diseases in animals.
Melanie Ho is a junior majoring in biology with a concentration in ecology and evolutionary biology and is hoping to go to veterinary school. She loves dogs and all other animals, from cute and furry to gross and slimy. She has worked at the Museum of the Earth in Ithaca, currently works in a lab for canine parvovirus evolution, and volunteers at the vet school and the SPCA.
Amanda Koszewski: Hello everyone! I am currently a senior animal science major at Cornell University and hope to further my education in the medical field after graduation. I truly enjoy being in the presence of animals and I am always adopting a new pet! Ever since I was a child, I have always been interested in learning about different animals in their natural environments. I absolutely love to travel and explore the various ecosystems around our world. I am fascinated by the adaptations animals acquire to survive in their environments. Even the most unexciting organisms fascinate me! When I visited Costa Rica, I spent 4 hours observing all the different species of hermit crabs that were wondering around the beach. Despite my compassion for animals, I hope to attend medical school and study neonatology. Human medicine is an interest I have developed during my studies here at Cornell. I enjoy people as much as I do animals, and can only hope that both appreciate my company as well!
Hi there! My name is Nick Ledesma, and I’m an Animal Science and Entomology double major at Cornell. I grew up in NYC, but I learned that you can find Nature around you anywhere if you know where to look! My own infatuation with wildlife started at an early age, and I have worked hands-on with butterflies, African penguins, and polo horses, while my personal collection includes a wide array of scorpions, spiders, insects, and vertebrates. My goal for now is to become a veterinarian doing research with animals, insects, and diseases, mainly because this brings together all my lifelong passions: Nature, intricate life cycles, and evolutionary innovation. I hope to be able to share my growing obsession with Nature and its intricacies with anyone who really wants to get to know how living things evolve to fit their surroundings and what determines whether these adaptations are successful.
Ashley Zydel: I am a junior biology major in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. I have always had a interest in animals and aspects of the natural world in general. Growing up in the country will do that to you!! I used to actually despise and be incredibly afraid of bugs, but after taking Spider Biology last year, I learned just how interesting the various little creatures are. I don’t have any formal outreach experience, but I LOVE working with people in general, and I especially love being able to teach others about the topics I enjoy so much.
Hannah Kubica: I am a junior biology major in CALS, concentrating in ecology and evolution. Ever since I was a kid I have loved and been obsessed (still am!) with dogs and other canines. However, since coming to Cornell I have realized that while animals that can be seen are fascinating, often times the animals that cannot be seen as easily are equally as interesting and often times equally as appealing. Insects and especially spiders often get a bad rap because they crawl, creep, and look bizarre. My main interest right now is in spiders, and I would really like to teach people of all ages that spiders are beautiful creatures and do not deserve to be stepped on upon sight. This is my first formal outreach experience, but I have always enjoyed sharing my knowledge with anyone who is willing to listen, especially kids. In addition to spiders and canines, I love playing music of any sorts and doing martial arts.
Jason Friedman: I’m a senior in the Agriculture and Life Science school. My primary major is Biology (concentrating in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology) but I also have a secondary major of Science of Earth Systems (concentrating in Ocean Sciences). First things first, I love the ocean. I’m extremely fascinated by morphology and evolution, the change of animals through time and how specific environments have shaped life throughout the geologic timescale. My main fascination lies in the study of deep sea fishes, how they have radiated and come to adopt a harsh environment of the deep ocean. Unfortunately, we don’t have many deep sea fishes in Cayuga Lake, so I’ve been doing a lot of work out at Cornell’s Shoals Marine Laboratory. This summer I researched the predator/prey aspects of a fish and nudibranch assemblage from the north Atlantic. Through my first outreach, I hope to share my interest of the life sciences to the upcoming generations and possibly inspire others into the field that has captivated me since my youth. If you can’t seem to find me around, it’s probably because I’m underwater – I have 400+ logged SCUBA dives (over 8 years), for a cumulative 160+ hours. This is also my third year of helping teach Cornell PE SCUBA courses in both fall and spring.
Leigh Kalbacker is a junior in the Department of Natural Resources. Since she was a little kid growing up in North Carolina, Leigh has spent countless hours enjoying and exploring the outdoors. Now, she aspires to share her knowledge and excitement for the natural world with others. Concentrating in Environmental Education at Cornell, Leigh has gained experience by teaching everything from Wetland Ecology to Orienteering in Environmental Education Centers across the country. A devoted member of the Dilmun Hill Student Farm at Cornell, Leigh also believes in the stability of sustainable agriculture and connecting people with healthy, locally grown food. She is currently working for the Ithaca Children’s Garden as the Education Programs Assistant helping little kiddos grow things!
Stephanie Barrett: Hello! I am currently a senior animal science major here at Cornell. Since a young age I have been fascinated by the world of animals, and have been sharing this fascination with others through outreach programs. My favorite animals to teach about are reptiles and birds of prey, and I particularly love to teach about the adaptations these animals use to survive in the wild. Although I have a deep love for the natural world, my future plans are to go to medical school and become an ER physician.
Christian Burns: I am currently a senior at Cornell, with a major in Biological Sciences. I have a passion for ornithology, although I’m also interested in most other parts of organismal biology, like reptiles, mammals, and insects. I’m originally from California, but I’ve spent most of my life on St. Thomas in the USVI (United States Virgin Islands), and Connecticut, before moving up here to Ithaca, N.Y. I’ve helped lead programs at nature centers and libraries, and have given formal lectures and kids’ workshops at Mensa conferences. I’ve also participated in a research project at Cornell (Lab of Ornithology), and have also worked with trypanosomiasis (sleeping sickness) at UMass Amherst. I hope to enlighten others about the world of zoology, especially ornithology.
Jackie Lewis is a senior Animal Science major with a minor in Biology. She grew up on a small farm and has been involved in 4-H for the past fourteen years as both a member and employee. Working through cooperative extension Jackie had the opportunity to build and run several outreach programs and fell in love with teaching kids about the world around them. She hopes that through the naturalist outreach practicum she will be able to spread her love of the sciences and academic curiosity with children throughout upstate New York.
My name is Riaz Karmali and I am currently a junior in CALS studying General Biology. I was born and raised in Brampton, Ontario and have always been eco-sensitive at heart. I have some experience in outreach but am looking to further develop my skills and knowledge this semester. I am not completely sure what I want to do when I graduate but I have an idea. It will definitely involve science and could be in the form of a PhD, Ms, or MD. So far, my interests in science lie in earth systems, animals, and human medicine. This year my talk will deal with global warming, its effects on insects and weather patterns, and methods by which we as a society can help curb greenhouse emissions.