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Kenny Glynn, Dorothy Zahor & Selena Chiparus CAS Students' summer series

(From left to right)

Kenny Glynn

EMU Senior, Expected Undergraduate Graduation Summer 2019, Expected Graduate Graduation Summer 2021

Undergraduate Major: Environmental Biology, Graduate Program: Ecology, Evolution, and Organismal Biology (EEOB)

What inspired you to pursue a degree in Biology?

"I have always been fascinated by the natural world. A degree in biology seemed to me the best way to explore my curiosities and better understand nature, and the life that exists within it."

Dorothy Zahor

EMU Alum, Class of 2018, EMU Masters Candidate, Expected Graduation Summer 2020

Graduate Program: Ecology, Evolution, and Organismal Biology (EEOB)

What inspired you to pursue a degree in Biology?

"A fascination for the natural world has always drawn me towards studying environmental science."

Selena Chiparus

EMU Senior, Expected Graduation Fall 2019

Undergraduate Major: Environmental Science and Society (ENVI) with a concentration in Biology

What inspired you to pursue a degree in Biology?

"Ironically, I didn’t like science until I got to EMU. I took my first science course at EMU a couple of years ago, an introduction to environmental science, and I’ve been interested in exploring the field since."

Three Students Connected by a Shared Passion for the Natural World

Each of these biology students are making use of EMU's Bird Lab this summer to research local bird populations. Dorothy explains, "The EMU bird lab's current efforts surround the bioaccumulation of soil metal contaminants and whether or not birds sharing one habitat may be exposed differently due to different feeding strategies. We are also investigating how exposure may impact nestling development. We aim to understand how metals move through an ecosystem, which birds may serve as honest bioindicators of local metal pollution, and what influence that has on wildlife. We plan to analyze soil, soil invertebrates, as well as bird blood and feathers for metals with collaborators at Colorado College and Denver University. This work highlights bioindicators which can be useful ways to monitor polluted sites as well as give insight into public health risks."

How did you become involved in this project?

Dorothy replied, "After taking EMU's Ornithology field class at Fish Lake, I was interested in working with birds so I joined the Bird Lab as a volunteer. When I read about analyzing bird blood metal levels to address the impact of metal pollution, I brought it up to Dr. Cornelius. I am very interested in studying human pollution impacts on wildlife, and this project was a perfect fit." Each of these students featured in this story became involved with EMU's Bird Lab through interacting with Dr. Jamie Cornelius from the Department of Biology.

What excites you most about this project?

Kenny said, "I am most excited about better understanding how urban wildlife is impacted by living in close proximity to humans. Specifically, how it might be impacting nestling behavior, development, and overall health/fitness."

Selena replied, "The ability the communicate the potential harm our actions have on wildlife is what drives me to get involved in this type of project."

Dorthy stated, "Providing a voice for birds, and all of the wildlife that needs to be taken better care of by humans."

What do you hope to gain through your involvement with the EMU Bird Lab?

Selena said, "I am hoping to learn skills that will help me in my future career as a scientist. I am also looking forward to gain experience in working with a research team and conducting scientific field work."

Kenny stated, "I hope that I will continue to gain valuable field experience, learn new techniques/practices, and carry what I have learned into a career in wildlife biology.

For you, what do you believe sets EMU's biology department apart from other university biology departments?

Kenny replied, "I am certainly biased, but I believe that EMU has a plethora of amazing biology faculty members. From my experiences, I have witnessed EMU biology faculty members that seem to truly care about student success and involvement."

How will your time at EMU influence your future endeavors?

Kenny replied, "My time at EMU has prepared me for a career in biology and has helped me focus my interests. From my experiences and skills attained at EMU, I feel confident that I have the know-how to pursue my passions."

For you, what do you believe sets EMU's biology department apart from other university biology departments?

Dorothy replied, "The support provided by EMU's biology department is what makes EMU stand out from other universities. The bird lab is very thankful for access to EMU's Fish Lake Environmental Education Center in Lapeer, MI as a study site, as well as the financial support provided through awards and scholarships to our bird students."

How has, or will your time at EMU influence your future endeavors?

Dorothy said, "Everything I have learned to prepare to go out into the working world was obtained here at EMU. I feel confident that I will graduate with the qualifications and skill set to continue working with wild songbirds, wherever that may take me. The EMU biology department is a wonderful place to call home."

For you, what do you believe sets EMU's biology department apart from other university biology departments?

Selena replied, "The most beneficial aspect of EMU’s biology department is the opportunities it provides for students. All of the professors I have come into contact with have been approachable and welcoming, which is great for students that are just getting into the major or just starting college."

How will your time at EMU influence your future endeavors?

Selena said, "All the skills I have learned from my time at EMU will prepare me for a career in science. Most importantly, EMU has taught me how to work with others and contribute to protecting our environment and its inhabitants."

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