Author: Julie Walker (with guest appearances from the Osborne Lab interns)
Its field season here at the Whitney Lab, which means it is also Intern season! This year the Osborne lab has been bless with 7 bundles of joy! We are hosting 2 elementary school teachers from the Multidisciplinary Research Experiences for Teachers (MRET) and 5 interns from the Doris Duke Conservation Scholars Program. They have been hard at work helping to conduct research, learning, and hopefully having a lot of fun!
Meet the MRET interns...
Hi there! My name is Dekoya and I am a 3rd grade teacher from Orlando, FL currently living in Gainesville, FL. I teach at Joseph Williams Elementary and this summer I had the opportunity to work in UF’s MRET program which is for K-5 teachers to bolster student interest and enthusiasm for STEM fields, and what better way than getting hands-on field experience! This awesome yet intense experience of getting to work with a graduate student at the University of Florida’s Whitney Lab to help with their research was nothing short of amazing. Utmost respect to those who go out in the field, through muddy, swamp and just get in there! While there were long hot days, for research purposes it was well worth it. I am excited to see how all our hard work helps with Julie’s project and her end result.
I am a native of Ft. Lauderdale, Florida and recently received a Master's degree in Elementary Education from the University of Florida, during the school year I teach third grade in Gainesville. In my free time I enjoy cycling, travel, immersing itself in cold spring water, and artistic pursuits. I am participating in the MRET program to gain an understanding of lab practices and field work experience and am going on to use this knowledge to more effectively engage students in authentic STEM tasks.
Want more info about the Multidisciplinary Research Experiences for Teachers (MRET)? Check out their website https://www.cpet.ufl.edu/teachers/mret/
And now the Doris Duke Conservation Scholars...
My name is Kristina Rodriguez and I am currently a junior at the University of Florida double majoring in Environmental Science and political science. Born and raised on Miami Beach, protecting marine and coastal ecosystems has become my passion. Interning for Julie Walker on her research, to study the effects of mangrove migration into salt marshes habitats on faunal assemblages, I can’t wait for the summer that’s ahead! Striving to make an impact every chance possible, by becoming President of the Surfrider Foundations chapter at UF, a grassroots organization that strives for marine and coastal protection, to conducting dune restoration and sea turtle rehabilitation in Miami, I love protecting our oceans. I plan to pursue graduate school to specialize in environmental policy. I am also highly interested in sea turtle rehabilitation and would love to help out and volunteer here when I have free time/ on the weekend!
My name is Holly, I am currently a junior majoring in Conservation Biology with an Applied Ecology minor at NC State. I am originally from Atlanta, Georgia and chose to attend NC State due to the Zoology program, but then later changed her major to Conservation Biology. I enjoy studying the wildlife aspect of conservation biology the most, and I hope to one day work for the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service! In my spare time I like to read comics, make pottery, and of course watch Netflix. I am also hoping to learn how to surf while she is working in Florida.
My name is Desiree Smith and I attend the University of Florida. I am majoring in Wildlife Ecology and Conservation. I am apart of the Doris Duke Conservation Scholars program. This summer I will be interning with Julie Walker assisting her as she completes her research on mangrove habitats in Florida. I want to see how predator and prey interactions vary in the three different habitats (Red mangrove, Black mangrove and smooth cord grass). As the climate changes Mangroves are shifting their habitat ranges so this research can help show how the animals are adapting to these environments. For example, do smaller prey animals prefer one habitat over another or how predators behavior and techniques can vary in the various environments.
I am a rising Junior studying Environmental Technology and Management with a minor in Environmental Toxicology at North Carolina State University. Some of my interests pertaining to my major are studying how water quality, air quality and soil quality; as well as, plant presence are affected by each other. In addition, I am interested in how pollution affects these fields and ways to minimize and manage problem areas. Outside of school work, she enjoys hanging with friends, volunteer work and watching Netflix.
Hi! My name is Tasha, I am studying Animal Science with minors in Wildlife Science and Zoology at North Carolina State University. Originally, I went to North Carolina State in hopes to pursue a veterinarian career in zoological medicine. I am now planing to combine her two passions through a career in conservation medicine. This summer I am working with Julie Walker through the Doris Duke Conservation Scholar program, with the goal to get more research experience with wildlife and their interactions with the environment. I hope to eventually start my own non-profit to help expand restoration efforts worldwide.
If you would like more information about the Doris Duke Conservation Scholars Program check out their website https://programs.ifas.ufl.edu/doris-duke-conservation-scholars/