Alumni 2013

Sarah Armour
Hello there! My name is Sarah Armour and I am a senior studying the Science of Natural and Environmental Systems with a concentration in both Environmental Biology and Sustainable Agriculture. I hail from New York’s Mid-Hudson Valley where I grew up on a beautiful organic farm. I’ve always been fascinated with the natural world and, even as a kid, I was constantly exploring the outdoors. I became interested in Environmental Education when I took a position with Hudson River Sloop Clearwater working onboard a 70 ton sailing vessel and teaching ecology and environmental science to school groups. SInce then, I’ve held numerous other environmental education positions, working with a wide range of age groups. I love sharing my enthusiasm for the natural world and bringing my fascination for ecology into education.
Presentation topic: Winter Adaptations: Understanding How Animals Survive in the Cold

Anna Babcock
Hello, my name is Anna Babcock. I’m from Massachusetts, I’m a biology major at Cornell University, and I’m concentrating in Neurobiology and Behavior. I’ve been interested in learning about animals since I was very little and I am hoping to study to become a veterinarian after college. Over the summer I got to work with a veterinarian near my hometown and I took care of a lot of dogs and cats. In the past I’ve also worked with farm animals, shelter animals, and wildlife.
Presentation topic: Prey Adaptations: Understanding how animals avoid being eaten

Evan Barrientos
I am a senior in Natural Resources with interests from environmental education, conservation biology, permaculture, birdwatching, photography, and videography, but more than anything, I love heading out into nature and just looking for plants, insects, and animals. I also love sharing this experience with others, especially children. My interests have taken me from researching salmon in Alaska, to evaluating an agroforestry initiative in Ecuador, to taking children birdwatching in Mexico.
Presentation topic: Carnivorous Plants: The World’s Most Clever Predators

Hope Batcheller
One of my earliest memories is of sitting in my yard with an insect field guide looking at the pictures of iridescent beetles. My enthusiasm for nature has still not diminished, and I have since become particularly interested in bird biology and identification, as well as insect-bird interactions. I am now a senior at Cornell majoring in Biology and Entomology, and have gotten to conduct biological field work in Alaska, Chile, and Ecuador. After graduating, I plan to continue in ecological research, teaching, and conservation work.
Presentation topic: Aquatic Insects: Behaviors and Adaptations for Life Under the Surface

Audrey Bowe
Hello, my name is Audrey Bowe and I’m a senior studying Natural Resources with a special interest in native plants. Growing up in eastern Pennsylvania, I spent much of my time outside playing in the woods behind my house and attending nature camps at a local wildlife sanctuary. My interests led me to my current work in a lab studying the impact of invasive earthworms on forest communities. I am particularly fond of ferns and their relatives, and am excited to share my enthusiasm with others!
Presentation topic: Primitive Plants: The Evolution of Ferns and Their Relatives

Kristen Brochu
Hi! My name is Kristen Brochu and I am a second year Ph.D. student in Entomology at Cornell University. I’ve always loved animals and being outside, and so I pursued an undergraduate degree in Wildlife Biology at McGill University in Canada. Although insects were not my first passion, I took an Insect Biology class at McGill and it changed my life! Now I am hooked on studying insects, and I am especially interested in specialist bees. My goal is to keep learning about the amazing world of insects and to share this passion with others.
Presentation topic: Insect diversity: One million ways to be a bug

Julia Brokaw
Julia Brokaw is a senior Natural Resources major in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. She grew up in a small rural town in eastern Pennsylvania, spending most of her time playing outdoors. In college, she became fascinated with pollination biology after spending a summer in Colorado studying bumblebees and wildflowers. At Cornell, she studies the pollination of apples by mason bees and works in outreach education for the Lab of Ornithology, Cornell Plantations, and the Herpetology Club. After graduating, she will pursue a graduate degree is field research ecology and conservation. When she isn’t chasing bees, she enjoys hiking, playing ultimate Frisbee, and spending time with her golden retriever named Darwin.
Presentation topic: Backyard Bees: Bumblebees and Tunnel Nesters

Kristina Ceres
I have always loved animals, and I knew I wanted to be a veterinarian from a very young age. I’ve also always loved observing wildlife; from playing with caterpillars in my backyard to watching birds and viewing wild lions and elephants in Africa. I love rock climbing and being outside, and I hope to work as a veterinarian and to be involved in animal conservation projects both here and abroad.
Presentation topic: Black Bears: Life Cycle and Adaptations

Monika Conrad
Hi! My name is Monika Conrad and I am a junior majoring in Animal Science from Dryden, NY. Growing up in the local area has given me a passion for native wildlife. When I was younger I spent a lot of time outdoors, running around the woods, playing in fields as well as hunting for crayfish and salamanders in streams. As a young adult I learned how much fun it is to share and educate others about your own passions through my involvement with the 4H Jr. Tailwaggers dog club. I came to Cornell University originally with the dream to go to vet school, but I have found through my journey here that there are a multitude of careers in the world which connect a person with animals. Through the Naturalistic Outreach program I hope to inspire young children to have a desire for scientific knowledge and passion for animals!
Presentation topic: Nocturnal Animals: Adaptations for Survival after Sunset

Vanessa Constant
Hi Everyone! My name is Vanessa Constant. I am a senior at Cornell University majoring in Natural Resources and minoring in Marine Biology. Growing up in New York City, being outdoors was always a treat! I especially enjoyed time in and around the ocean. After becoming SCUBA certified at age 10, I went on to fuel my passion for science through hands-on coursework at Shoals Marine Laboratory and through field research experiences in Maine, Tanzania, and Washington State. In Maine, I studied growth and re-growth rates of intertidal seaweed. In Tanzania, I conducted community composition and population density surveys of snails found in Lake Tanganyika. This summer I worked as a marine analyst/technician at NOAA’s Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary in Washington State. I look forward to sharing my excitement for natural resources and biology with you all!
Presentation topic: Invasive Aquatic Species: What are they and Why should we care?

Sarah Curless
Hello! My name is Sarah Curless and I am a senior Animal Science major at Cornell University. I have always been fascinated with animals and the world around me since I was a small child. I went to a high school with an agricultural program and have been studying the biology of animals, and especially large animals, ever since. I am particularly interested in dairy cattle and dairy products, as I have milked cows and made dairy products for a few years now, although many other species of animals fascinate me as well. I hope to be able to teach in the context of educating urban and suburban Americans and international students how to grow their own food and keep smaller animals, such as land fowl and bees, for a healthier and more local lifestyle.
Presentation topic: Fungi Diversity: How Fungi are Used in Your Daily Life

Ben Feinson
Ben Feinson grew up in rural Vermont, learning a love for wild plants by exploring local fields and forests every day. After classes are out, you can find him climbing trees, running on the Fingerlakes Trail, or most likely of all, cooking and baking. As a member of the Cornell bread club and a volunteer at the student farm, Dilmun Hill, he has a passion for locally grown foods that is rapidly expanding into wild plants. When Ben graduates from Cornell, he’ll look forward to farming in Ithaca with other local foodies!
Presentation topic: Seed dispersal

Lindsay Glasner
After snorkeling the great barrier reef at age 12, Lindsay has never passed up an opportunity to explore the diverse environments around the world, from deserts in the Middle East to tropical forests in Central America. Her most recent trip was to Maui where she discovered the world of scuba diving. Now as a senior studying Natural Resources with a concentration in Environmental Education and a minor in Marine Biology, she wants to share with the world how amazing aquatic and marine ecosystems can be.
Presentation topic: Steam Ecology: Understanding the Complexities of Food Webs

Kathryn Grabenstein
Greetings! My name is Kathryn Grabenstein and biology has captivated me since long before I knew what “Biology” actually was. Growing up in the backwoods of East Tennessee, the forest was my classroom, teaching me to look closer, to explore further, and to never be afraid of getting dirty. These days, I’m a senior biology major concentrating in Neurobiology and Behavior. I’m actively involved in research with the Cornell Lab of Ornithology where I work with the red-backed fairy wren, a small Australian songbird, as well as a species found a little closer to home: the black-throated blue warbler. After graduation, I plan on taking a gap year to travel, gain additional experience in field biology (you can never have too much!), and work on applying to grad school. From there, who knows where the wind will blow me, but I hope it’s towards birds and behavior!
Presentation topic: Bird migrations

Alexandra Gresov
I haven’t always loved bees, and in fact used to be quite afraid of them.  But in ninth grade I started at a new school, and at a club fair in the beginning of the year I discovered the beekeeping club.  I went to the first meeting of the year and I was immediately enthralled with these little creatures.  Once I overcame my trepidation of being stung I could appreciate them for the simple but beautiful insects they are.  It was amazing how tens of thousands of bees worked together in one small box to take care of their queen and collect products like nectar and pollen, and even more amazing how we had learned to coexist with these bees, taking care of them in exchange for their hive products.I continued beekeeping throughout high school and into college.  Later I learned that I could take my love of bees further than just a hobby; I could research bees and contribute to the scientific community’s understanding of them.  This past summer I worked as an intern at Cornell’s Agricultural Research Station in Geneva, New York, studying pollination behavior in honey bees and bumble bees. I’m extremely lucky to have something that I’m so passionate about, and to be able to work with the organisms I love.  I want to share this passion with others.  I want to spread my love of bees to other people and show them that bees are not as scary as many people think! 
Presentation topic: Pollen-Nation: An Un-bee-lievable Phenomenon!

Laura Hlusko
Greetings! I’m Laura Hlusko, a Junior double majoring in Plant Science and Agriculture Science. I grew up on a hobby farm in western Pennsylvania where I spent my time climbing vines, trimming sheep hooves, searching for fossils, collecting acorns and climbing trees. I am also a Penn State Master Gardener, a big sister in the Ithaca Big Brothers Big Sisters program, and work in the Cornell Insect Collection. This past summer, I interned on a vegetable farm where I spread beneficial insects, picked okra and worked with hydroponic lettuce. I hope to spread a passion for plants, ecosystems, animals and nature!
Presentation topic: Plant Defenses: Thorns, Smells and Flowers

Evan Hoki
I have been interested in entomology from a very young age. I’m currently a second year masters student studying native and invasive ladybugs. Specifically I’m looking at how the replacement of native lady bugs by invasive ones will effect ecological and agricultural systems. My talk will be on arthropod predator-prey relations. I hope to include some discussion about defensive behaviors that help insects avoid being eaten as well as some the strategies predators use to overcome these defenses. Additionally, I want to talk about biological control and insect predation to help with pest control.
Presentation topic: Invertebrate natural enemies: How bugs eat each other and how this can benefit us

Elizabeth Martens
My name is Elizabeth Martens and I am from Penn Yan, NY. I grew up on an organic farm and spent my childhood looking for critters in the garden, pond and fields. As I grew older, my interest in the world of animals became very evident and I was fortunate enough to be given my own menagerie of farm animals to care for. I am currently a senior studying Animal Science with plans to attend veterinary school, and I look forward to sharing my enthusiasm for animals and their many unique features with everyone.
Presentation topic: How Mammals Eat: Hunting, Gathering, and Digesting

Sarah Newman
Sarah Newman is a senior at Cornell University majoring in Natural Resources. Her focuses include both forestry and ornithology, although her passion lies with birds. She has spent the last three years working intensively with birds all around New York, including handling raptors, monitoring waterbirds, and banding and studying swallows and migrating birds. After finishing at Cornell she is planning to continue this field research focus, while also working to share her love of birds with as many people as she can reach.
Presentation topic: Birds of a Feather

Corinne Ogle
Hello! My name is Corinne Ogle. I am from Homer, Alaska and I am studying agricultural education at Cornell University, which basically means that one day I want to be a high school science teacher, specifically in agriculture and environmental science. I have wanted to be a teacher since I was in fifth grade, but I became passionate about the environment and agriculture when I was in high school as an FFA member. I am excited to finish up my senior year and begin my teaching career, inspiring young people to explore the world around them.
Presentation topic:  How Mammal Skulls Show What They Eat and Their Ecology

Stephen Pecylak
Hello, I’m Stephen Pecylak! I’m a senior Entomology and Biology double major at Cornell and I have a love of organismal biology. Growing up, I would always try to find every animal I could and would often spend hours just watching them in their natural habitat. I especially loved watching the all the different arthropods run around and interact with one another, a curiosity that my family nourished by traveling around the USA. By visiting many diverse habitats, I got an appreciation for the diversity of life as a whole and just how remarkable some behavioral adaptations truly are. When I came to college, this love for watching creatures interact with each other lead me to focus on behavioral ecology and evolution. I currently work for the Thaler Lab doing research on hunting behavior of stinkbugs, a natural extension of my passion for how animals interact with each other. I hope to continue this line of work and get my PhD as a behavioral ecologist. I hope to spark this level of curiosity in others and help them see the amazing natural world around us.
Presentation topic: Animal Locomotion: How and Why Animals Move the Way They Do

Ben Roosa
My name is Ben Roosa; I am a senior at Cornell University studying the science of natural and environmental systems. I am passionate about science, the environment, and especially love forests. I was inspired to study science by my sense of wonder and curiosity in the natural world that was instilled in me starting at an early age. I believe that there is a place in science for everyone, regardless of background, interests, skills, or any other factors… so get excited, ask questions, and explore!
Presentation topic: Seeing the Forest Through the Trees: a Look at the Ecology and Adaptations of Trees in a Dynamic Forest Ecosystem

Sarah Rubenstein 
Hi! My name is Sarah Rubenstein and I am a junior at Cornell University. I am majoring in Science of Natural Environmental Systems and minoring in developmental sociology. I have a passion for the environment that has been developing since a young age. I was lucky enough to be born in upstate NY in a very small town called Shushan less than 5 miles from the Vermont border. There, I grew up roaming the large fields, the multiple rivers, and the plentiful woods and knew that being immersed in the outdoors was something I wanted to include in my future career. I currently work at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and I am also involved in the Women’s Club Ice Hockey team, intramural soccer and flag football, a co-ed fraternity, and Cornell Traditions.
Presentation topic: Feeding Adaptations in Birds

Rebecca Terry
Hello, my name is Rebecca Terry and I am a senior in Natural Resources with a minor in Education. I grew up in the small town of Honeoye Falls, NY where I spent my summers exploring the local creek and my backyard. Growing up my family visited many state and national parks throughout the United Sates. It was on these trips that I discovered how fascinating the natural world is and how important it is to protect it. I have spent the past two summers working for the DEC summer camp system as an environmental educator. I love hiking and I’m especially interested in forest ecology. My passion for nature has grown over the years and I love teaching others about how awesome the natural world can be!
Presentation topic: White-tailed Deer: Biology, Adaptations and Impact on the Environment

Mari West
I am a senior at Cornell University studying Animal Science. Originally, I planned to work toward becoming a veterinarian, but after exploring the multitude of courses offered at Cornell, I have developed a passion for research, specifically in animal behavior. I have always been interested in animal behavior, but I never realized how strong my interest was until I took Dr. Linda Rayor’s Spider Biology class. Partly, it was the sheer diversity of spiders and their behaviors that peaked my interest, but it was Dr. Rayor’s excitement and enthusiasm for the subject matter that made me realize how fascinating the spider world really was. I began working in her lab that year and have enjoyed every second of it, since! Through this, I have become a devoted spider enthusiast, known by many as the “spider girl,” and I pounce on every chance I get to convert others into spider lovers, too. I am currently working on my own project on female aggression in a social huntsman species from Australia, helping me realize how much of a true scientist I have become during my time at Cornell. I plan to continue exploring the field of Animal Behavior, and hope that, one day, I can inspire others, as Dr. Rayor has inspired me.
Presentation topic: Spiders: Natural Predators

Brian Worthington
Hi, my name is Brian Worthington and I am a junior in CALS studying Biology and Entomology.  I grew up in Millbrook, NY where I spent countless hours in the local forests, streams and bogs, returning home covered head-to-toe in mud and carting around any turtles, frogs or snakes I may have caught during my adventures.  While in high school, I had the awesome opportunity to work at the Trevor Zoo; this experience was instrumental in my decision to pursue research at Cornell in the field of animal behavior.  I have a passion for sharing my love of the natural world, the wonders of which can be found in even the smallest backyard.
Presentation topic: Reptile Behavior: Understanding how and why reptiles act the way they do