Alumni 2006



Ronda Hamm is the graduate student teaching assistant for the Naturalist Outreach Course.  Before graduate studies at Cornell Ronda taught high school courses in Agricultural Biology, Intro to Agriculture, and Environmental Science.  She is currently pursuing a Phd in Entomology.   Ronda is very proud to have been the organizer of Insectapalooza, the Dept. of Entomology’s Open House, which attracted 1300 people in 2005.

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Susan Finkbeiner is a sophomore majoring in Entomology and is a transfer student from DePaul University. She loves all bugs and critters, especially butterflies and frogs. She has experience working with children, including instructing 6-12 year olds how to snowboard, teaching children ages 6-8 about insects at a science camp, and has done classroom presentations about insects in the past.


Alexander Kim: I am a junior biology major at Cornell with a concentration in general biology. Though this is my first outreach experience, I have experience teaching tennis and the piano to kids and teenagers. It is my goal to teach the kids of this community important concepts in evolution. Currently I am president of the Cornell Piano Society, and am a biology coach in MARKS. I have a motorcycle, because motorcycles absolutely rock. And so do snowboards. And eggs sunnyside up with toast.


Christina Nieves is a sophomore Animal Science major at Cornell University with a special interest in exotic animal medicine. From a young age, she was fascinated with the natural world and all of its creatures, particularly elephants. This will be her first formal outreach experience but she has previously tutored children in grades 1st through 5th and assisted a basketball workshop in Purral, Costa Rica with 1st and 2nd graders.


Jake Barnett is a senior majoring in Biology/ Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. He has been fascinated by nature and biodiversity as long as he can remember, and is excited to share his knowledge and enthusiasm with kids. He studies the population genetics of tropical rain forest birds at the Lab of Ornithology, and his research took him to Costa Rica this past summer. While he knows birds the best, he is also interested in just about anything in nature, including reptiles, amphibians, and arthropods. After spending time in a tropical rain forest, however, he is still amazed by all the fascinating organisms that can be found right here in Ithaca.


Laura Kroon is a junior majoring in ecology and evolutionary biology. She loves plants, and likes to study the relationships that occur in ecosystems. She enjoys teaching nature, which she has been able to do at the camp where she spends her summers.


My name is Ryan Goupil and I am currently a junior majoring in Animal Science. I recently received notification that I was accepted through the sophomore early admission program into the College of Veterinary Medicine here at Cornell meaning I start the D.V.M. curriculum in what would be my senior year of undergraduate studies. I hope to also obtain a Ph.D. in pharmacology allowing me to pursue a career in the pharmaceutical industry testing the effects of various drugs on both human and animal systems. I come from the small town of Chazy, New York (just north of Plattsburgh in the northeast corner of the Adirondacks) where I attended a very small K-12 school with only 42 kids in my graduating class. Therefore, I am very familiar with a small public school setting. With my aspirations to perform research, and thus likely present it, I feel my experience in the Naturalist Outreach Program will benefit both the children at the schools and my ability to think on my feet and convey a readily-understandable message to my audience, crucial features of any good presenter.

Richard Menger is a junior majoring in Biology and Society from Garden City, NY. His interests span the spectrum of biology from nutrition to animal behavior with a focus on marine biology. Certified in scuba diving for over nine years he integrates underwater research techniques with his passion for marine biology. Adept at teaching, he has taught third grade students on weekends and is currently a teaching assistant at Cornell University. He is also a leader on the Cornell Rugby Team.


Stephen Kramer, 19, of Bedford, New York, is a sophomore animal science major at Cornell University. He is athletic and enjoys sports such as ice hockey, lacrosse, snowboarding and golf, but working with animals is “a true passion.” He has always liked animals from a young age and would like to share his passion and knowledge with others. His plans for the future include becoming a successful veterinarian, specializing in surgery.


Chris Torre is a senior majoring in animal science and biology at Cornell University. He would like to pursue a career as a veterinarian focusing on biomedical and clinical research. Chris has been fascinated by science for as long as he remembers, and he is very enthusiastic about this field. Chris currently works with an orthopedist, so he will be presenting on bones from both an anatomical and evolutionary perspective.


Elan Margulies is a senior in Natural Resources studying applied ecology. With a lifelong passion for nature, he will share some of the miraculous stories of the plant-world. He is fascinated by living things small and large, from moss to trees, as well as fungi and insects. Elan aspires to be an enviormental educator and has worked as a teachers assistant for a field biology course at cornell, in additon to teaching ecology and conservation in southern Africa. Last summer he hiked the John Muir Trail in California for a month where he was exposed daily to the wonders of nature.

Bio Pic

My name is Colette Bond.  I’m a senior Biology and Animal Science double major at Cornell University.  I am originally from Long Island, New York.  Right now I’m applying to Vet Schools in the hope that someday I will be a veterinarian for small animals.  This year I’ve been trying to do more outreach so I became a volunteer mentor for incoming freshman pre-vet students and a teaching assistant for an animal physiology lab in the biology department.

Calia Talmor is a senior in Natural Resources. Her interests include wildlife ecology, lake systems and wetlands. Although she will focus more on conservation and policy work once she finishes at Cornell, she has had extensive opportunities, and is still very interested in field research. She has experience teaching environmental science at both nature camps and after school programs. She has spent a lot of time outdoors, in South Africa and in Maine, learning how to track animals and interpret the surrounding environment. She believes it is important to help kids become aware of their immediate environment in order for them to gain a solid appreciation and respect for it.

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Ben Slovis is a senior Biological Sciences major in the College of Agriculture and Life Science. He is concentrating in ecology and evolution. Ben is especially interested in reptiles and amphibians and has done research on black-tailed rattlesnake distributions and copperhead venom. In the past he was a youth swim instructor and has also taught 6th grade biology. After graduation Ben aspires to attend medical school and train to be a pediatrician.


Ariel is a Biology and Entomology double major at Cornell. She first became passionate about insects while she worked at the Oregon Zoo in Portland, OR during her high school years, participating in captive rearing programs for endangered butterflies and working as an educator in their Insect Zoo program. During her time at Cornell, Ariel has been focused on completing her majors and her research in arachnid physiology and social behavior with Dr. Linda Rayor, in addition to research on snail parasites at the Shoals Marine Laboratory. She is currently a TA for Insect Biology, is secretary of the undergraduate entomology club on campus, and is working on completing her honors thesis. She hopes to pursue a career in evolutionary and behavioral research and will be applying for PhD programs this Fall.


Hi! My name is Christina Hilo, I’m originally from Los Angeles, California. I’m currently studying Natural Resources at Cornell University. My interests include wetlands, environmental justice, and agriculture. In my picture, I am standing next to an effigy of sakadas, the farmworkers who came from the Philippines to the United States during the 1940s to pick fruits and vegetables in California.


A.J. Golash is a senior in Plant Biology. She loves plants and the outdoors. She is interested in pursuing a career in research somewhere slightly more tropical, which, given Ithaca, should not be difficult. She has previously worked for the Museum of Science and Technology in Syracuse for a few years as a docent and has experience working as a science camp counselour.

Dmitry Klyuy

ello friends! My name is Dmitry Klyuy, and I would love to come to your classroom and tell you about earthworms: fascinating creatures of which Charles Darwin said over 100 years ago: “It may be doubted whether there are many other animals which have played so important a part in the history of the world.” I am a senior majoring in Bioengineering Technology, but my passion lies in teaching and research. I am currently a teaching assistant for a biochemistry class, wherein I give a weekly hour-long review lecture, with the aim of filling in any gaps or clarifying concepts. For the past year, I have also been working in a cell biology laboratory, trying to figure out details of a signaling pathway that might be linked to cancer. My future plans are to go to graduate school and pursue a path in biomedical research!


Amber Secrest is a senior in Animal Science with a minor in Education. As a young girl growing up in rural upstate New York, she spent much of her childhood outside, either camping, hiking, canoeing, or exploring on her own. While her favorite animals are spiders and birds-of-prey, she is fascinated by all organisms in the natural world. Originally a pre-Vet student, she realized she would rather be interacting with other people and sharing her passion for biology and other sciences. Currently, she is looking to get a job in the education department of a zoo or wildlife center. An advocate of interactive learning, she has done naturalist outreach with the Cayuga Nature Center, Cornell Raptor Center, and even the Smithsonian National Zoo in Washington, D.C.


Kim Falbo is a senior majoring in Natural Resources. For the spring semester, Kim will be traveling to New Zealand to learn more about ecology. She hopes to someday work in water management to help protect our aquatic ecosystems. Kim’s experience as a nature educator this summer was so great that she can’t wait to get into the classroom.