Alumni 2014

Victoria Albano

Victoria AlbanoHey Everyone! My name is Victoria Albano, and I am a Junior in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, majoring in Animal Science with a minor in Education. Scientific outreach has always been an interest of mine. Being a volunteer at the Staten Island Zoo truly changed my life. I found a love for teaching kids and adults about amazing animals, conservation efforts, and ways to help the environment. Watching others become curious about science is such a blessing. I hope I can find a career that allows me to stimulate this curiosity and desire to explore the natural world. I’m beyond excited to be a part of the Naturalist Outreach Program!

Presentation Topic: Survival Adaptations: How Animals Avoid Being Eaten

Ben Barkley

Ben BarkleyHello, my name is Ben Barkley and I am a senior studying Natural Resources. Over the past few years I have developed an incredible passion for all things birds. Birding has taken me all over the world and has given me some unique opportunities to share my enthusiasm. Most recently I was in Papua New Guinea working on a project studying a bird called the White-shouldered Fairy-wren, and while doing so I was able to educate locals about the wrens and the habitat they live in. I would love to pursue a career in education, as teaching people about birds (and nature in general!) never gets old.

Presentation Topic: Bird Diversity:  Learning about the world of birds from its 10,000 species

Natasha Bartolotta

Natasha BartolottaI’m Natasha Bartolotta and I am currently a junior majoring in Biological Sciences. I have a concentration in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and a minor in Anthropology. I have always been fascinated by the natural world around me and have made it my life goal to learn as much as I can about it! While at Cornell I have spent time as a research assistant for the Elephant Listening Project at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology where I listen to all kinds of elephants sounds. This past spring I got to work on a special project identifying primate vocalizations in the spectrograms. Hopefully, my future will involve field research on primates as this is a subject I am very passionate about!

Presentation Topic: Bird Sounds: Understanding bird behavior from their songs and calls

Amanda Connell

Amanda ConnellAmanda is a junior in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences pursuing a double major in Food Science and Environmental Science. She grew up in the suburbs of Philadelphia where she was an active tennis player and hiker, which cultivated her love of nature. She spent a summer in Laos working with a local conservatory to protect the indigenous elephants (her favorite animals). After graduation, she plans on traveling the world before settling into a job.

Presentation Topic: Invasive Terrestrial Plants: Dominating and Ruling Upstate New York

Joseph Copeland

Joseph CopelandI grew up on Skaneateles Lake in Central New York, where I fell in love with fishing and the outdoors. Every summer, I would spend my time on the lake searching for different species of fish, gradually building my knowledge base and studying the interactions of everything around me. Ultimately it was Skaneateles lake that molded me into the person I am today, and it inspired me to continue my education at Cornell as a Natural Resource major. After I graduate, I hope to pursue a graduate degree in water resource management and eventually become a researcher, as well as a professor.

Presentation Topic: Water quality: bioindicators and our environment

Kyle DeMarr

Kyle DeMarrMy name is Kyle DeMarr and I’m a junior majoring in Entomology in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. I am most interested and passionate about insect evolution and speciation, particularly of lacewings and kin. Practically every aspect of my life at Cornell revolves around insects—researching Hawaiian crickets in the Department of Neurobiology and Behavior, working in the Cornell University Insect Collection, and serving as president of Snodgrass and Wigglesworth, the undergraduate entomology club. After I graduate, I plan to attend graduate school studying evolutionary biology and work towards a position as a curator/researcher in a university entomology collection where I can educate while exploring the diversity our planet has to offer.

Presentation Topic: Scuttering through the Tree of Life – A Foray into Insect Adaptation and Evolution

Sara Gonzalez

Sara GonzalezI am a junior Biology major in CALS and I am fascinated by nature. Growing up in suburban Maryland with a forest and creek in my backyard, I watched nature like a show, entranced by the behavior of ants, the sound of cicadas, and the morphology of katydids. My passion for ecology has been enhanced through research internships with various branches of the Smithsonian Institution and Shoals Marine Laboratory, during which I investigated sparrow plumage adaptations using museum specimens, shrimp behavior in the Chesapeake Bay, and parasites in gulls on a small island breeding ground. I aim for a career as a natural history museum curator because of my dual love for field research and educational outreach.

Presentation Topic: Animal Architects: Things Animals Build and Why They Build Them

Viviana Gonzalez-Bouza

Viviana GonzalezMy name is Viviana Gonzalez-Bouza and I was born and raised in San Juan, Puerto Rico. I’m Animal Science/Pre-Vet in CALS at Cornell University. Ever since I was a little girl, my dream has been to become a veterinarian. Growing up I had numerous pets that I took to the vet and every single time, I would leave the clinic knowing a lot more than when I went in. Each vet took the time to teach me something new and that’s what I aim to do in the future. As a veterinarian, you are both a doctor and a teacher, and I really hope the outreach experience will teach me how to express myself. I am looking forward to sharing my love of animals and science with the students.

Presentation Topic: Do You See Me Now?: Bird camouflage and courtship displays

Cameron Jones

Cameron JonesMy name is Cameron Jones and I have been engrossed with insects ever since a relative showed me a praying mantis in the second grade. I am an entomology major studying praying mantis behavior and ecology and have done research in Singapore as well as in the US. After graduating I hope to obtain my PhD with the intentions of becoming a professor.

Presentation TopicMatters of Life and Death: Exploring Predator-Prey Interactions within Arthropods

Aubree Keurajian

Aubree KeurajianHi, my name is Aubree Keurajian. I’m a senior studying the Science of Natural and Environmental Systems and hoping to pursue a career in forest ecology research. I grew up on a small farm in central Connecticut where tadpoles, fireflies, and wild bunnies helped me become enamored with nature.

Presentation Topic: The Best Offense: How trees face challenges without being able to move

Sarah Khalil

Sarah KhalilHi, my name is Sarah Khalil and I am a senior majoring in Biology, concentrating in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. As a kid, I was fortunate enough to travel a lot since most of my family lives abroad. Because of this, I was able to see firsthand some of the great biodiversity that exists, and this is what stemmed my love for all things biology at a young age. In high school, I became very involved with the American Museum of Natural History in NYC, taking classes, conducting research, and eventually taking part in their science outreach programs where I was able to lead tours for young camp groups as well as engage other museum visitors in different halls. I love working with young kids and getting them interested in science, and I’m very excited to continue my involvement in outreach!

Presentation Topic: Adaptations for Locomotion in Arthropods: How and why they move the way they do

Melissa J Kitchen

Melissa KitchenI’m a horticulturist and graduate student in the Public Garden Leadership program.  I’ve always loved nature, and I’m thrilled to have found a career that lets me share my enthusiasm for plants with others.  There’s no reason to lose your sense of wonder just because you’re a grown up.

Presentation Topic: Plantastic Plants!: Amazing Plant Adaptations

Ben Lee

Benjamin LeeBen is a Junior Entomology major who loves the beautiful complexities of the natural world.  He grew up exploring museums, parks, forests, and his backyard, never forgetting to stop and look for cool creatures under rocks or in the trees.  His current interests are in how insects can be used as biological control for pest species and population ecology in fields and agricultural systems.  He hopes to one day research safer and more efficient ways to deal with crop pests through manipulating insect behavior.

Presentation TopicBiocontrol: Why We Should Study and Support Insect Predators

Graham Montgomery

Graham MontgomeryMy name is Graham Montgomery – I’m a senior studying entomology and biology. All kids have a stage at which they love insects, and I never grew out of it! Photographing birds and bugs furthered my interest in nature and I hope I can pass on that passion to others. My research interests include insect (and bird) ecology and evolution. Growing up in the suburbs of Houston, I always treasured travelling to great natural areas, however, I also learned to find nature in a variety of places. It doesn’t matter where you are; you can find some cool stuff right in your backyard!

Presentation Topic: Invasive Species: How non-native invertebrates are so successful & what it means for us

Sarah Nechamen

Sarah NechamenSarah worked on an urban farm for four summers where she was introduced to an amazing variety of fruit and vegetable plants, as well as the weeds, insects and diseases with which they (unfortunately) interact. This experience turned into a passion for gardening and for plants in general and Sarah soon found herself studying Plant Science at Cornell University. Her primary area of interest is still food justice and urban farming, but she’s always impressed by the ways plants in nature have found to compete and coexist with their environment.

Presentation Topic: Plant Defenses: Plants Fight Back Against Herbivory

Kat Pannill

Kat PannillI am a junior Animal Science student and I am interested in wild and exotic animals. I am from Connecticut and became interested in animals through riding horses, owning and training dogs, and attending an agriculture-focused high school. For the future, I plan on interning in an education department in a zoo and hope to have a career working with animals and educating people about them.

Presentation Topic: The Story of Skull: What we can learn about a mammal from its skull

Karen Patricio

Karen PatricioHello! My name is Karen Patricio. Growing up in a busy city in southern California, I never interacted much with wildlife. Cornell has given me that opportunity through the various classes and activities it has to offer. As an animal science major, I have a great passion for the care and welfare of animals. With my education minor, I am hoping to become a teacher and share my knowledge of the wonders that both biology and the environment have to offer.

Presentation Topic: Animal Behavior: Communication, Conflict, Creation, and Cooperation

Theo Pritz

Theodore PritzI grew up in Ithaca, New York, and became interested in gardening, plants, and agriculture at a young age. In high school I developed an interest in plant breeding and genetics, working at the Cornell Orchards and with plant breeders at Cornell. For the past four years I have worked in the Nelson Lab at Cornell, studying disease response and genetics in corn. I am working towards a degree in International Agriculture and Rural Development, and would like to work with plants when I grow up.

Presentation Topic: Plant Adaptations for Reproduction: Seeds and other strategies

Erica Rausch

Erica RauschScience was always my favorite subject in elementary school, and was supplemented with science experiments and lessons at home in the kitchen or backyard. Not surprisingly, it remained a huge area of interest in my life and eventually became my chosen course of study at Cornell. Now that I’m nearly finished studying Food Science and Safety, I hope to participate in Teach for America for a few years after graduation, and eventually work in public health.

Presentation Topic: You are What You Eat: Why and How Carnivorous Plants Consume Insects

Ryan Rodriguez

Ryan Rodriguez(1)I’m a Natural Resources major interested in wildlife management & conservation. Being from Los Angeles I didn’t have much of a chance to experience nature for much of my childhood, but I grew vastly interested in the field when I began volunteering at the Los Angeles Zoo throughout all of high school and learned a lot about animals, ecology, & conservation. By junior year of high school I received a scholarship through the zoo to do fieldwork research on Grevy’s Zebra in Kenya studying aspects of human-wildlife conflict and invasive species. I got to truly experience nature for the first time and knew for sure that conservation is my passion. In the future I hope to work with an agency not only doing research, but scientific outreach and education as well to help others learn more about the world around them.

Presentation Topic: It’s A Deer’s World:  How deer biology, adaptations, and behavioral ecology allow them to thrive in a constantly changing environment

David Weber

David WeberLoving animals and nature from a young age, I’ve always loved learning new things and being outdoors.  Once I was introduced to birds and birding, I’ve been doing it ever since.  I particularly love list keeping and seeing new animals, birds or otherwise, and I make sure to keep track of them.  I’ve always sought new knowledge in the way animals live and behave and I hope to pass that knowledge along to others as it was once passed on to me.

Presentation Topic: Reptile Diversity: What makes a reptile?