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Program of Emphasis: Biology/Spanish
Hometown: Fallentimber, PA
High School: Glendale Jr-Sr High School
Why I chose to attend Juniata: At Juniata I could study abroad as a Biology Major. During my college career I traveled almost 3,000 miles south of Pennsylvania, 600 miles into the Pacific Ocean, and studied on the Galapagos Islands.
Clubs and Organizations: Spanish Club EMT
Internship: Shadowed Dr. Terry Eccles, a rural primary care pediatrician in Staford Springs, Connecticut.
Travels Abroad: Academically, my semester studying with The Galapagos Academic Institute for Arts and Sciences (GAIAS) was sincerely life altering. Even as a biology major, never before had I experienced such hands-on learning. In my Tropical Ecology class, I had the opportunity to visit two field stations. The first, Maquipucuna, was located in the Choco Andean cloud forest. A cloud forest is a wet tropical mountain forest at an altitude usually between 3000 and 8000 feet that is generally always cloud covered. This ecosystem, while small, provides an essential habitat for many unique species including 10% of the world's bird species. The second field station, Tiputini, is located within the Yasuni National Park in the Amazon Rainforest. For one week, I participated in a research project that focused on the Waorani tribe's contribution to the illegal "tropical meat" market. Data was collected using hidden heat sensitive surveillance cameras and interviews with the Waorani hunters, the "middle men" who purchased the meat and the restaurant owners who sold it. While not necessarily biologically based, the study suggested the general decline of the peccary and jaguar populations. Further research is currently being conducted to hypothesize the ecological consequences of reducing these populations in regard to ecosystem function. After staying a month on the mainland, I flew to the Galapagos Archipelago where I took three additional classes: Evolution and Ecology, Introduction to Marine Ecosystems and Native and Introduced Plants of the Galapagos. Again, my learning experience was very involved and I spent as much time in the library as I did in the field. While I am unable to effectively summarize all of my experiences in such a short essay, I did extensive research on the behavior and interactions of Chelonia mydas agassizi (Green Sea Turtles) in nearshore habitats on the island of San Cristobal. In addition, I also volunteered three times weekly at the Oscar Jandl Hospital; spending most of my time in obstetrics. I believed that all of these experiences, among many others, benefited me on both professional and personal levels. Professionally, I feel as though I am more marketable having participated in unique research opportunities and volunteering at a socioeconomically disadvantaged hospital. Personally, I know I have enhanced my linguistic and scientific abilities, thus, making me a potential key player in connecting our world's multicultural science web.
Most Interesting Class: Adolescent Development. I enjoyed the scientific and humanistic components of the course.
Favorite Faculty Member: Dr. Randy Bennett, my advisor, has made a huge difference in my life. He has helped me through difficult times and guided me to a very promising future in biological sciences.
Honors Received: Tri Beta Biology Honors Society Juniata College Honors Society Omega
When I watched my mother pull away from my freshman dorm in August 2009, I sincerely questioned my ability to survive. Being a first generation college student from a low socioeconomic family, I had not been brought up considering college as an avenue. However, my love of learning granted me the honor of being my high school's valedictorian. Suddenly, I found enough financial aid and academic support to become a part of the Juniata community as a member of the class of 2013.
Today I reflect on how far I have come and how grateful I am to all of those who have helped me live a reality that my parents and grandparents would have never considered possible. Not only did I survive my freshman year away from home, I found the resources and motivation to finish my degree in Biology with a secondary emphasis in Spanish in three and a half years.
Thank you for providing me with your gracious gifts for it is through them that I am able to enrich my studies with such wonderful, unique experiences and grow not only as a biologist but, more importantly, as a member of the Juniata community.
Class of 2012