When mentoring students, I have three main objectives:
- engaging students in all the steps of the process of science
- developing critical thinking skills
- communicating effectively
My mentoring style is generally hands-off, and I encourage my students to come up with independent project ideas. I embrace the importance of “stupidity” in scientific research.
Mentoring was one of the most rewarding parts of graduate school, and I am happy to feature the students who worked with me and completed independent research projects below.
At the University of Florida:
Daisy Renteria (2013-2016), University of Florida, Dept. of Biology. Daisy followed up on our research of nest materials used by the campus mockingbird projects, before taking on the task of organizing our hundreds of blood samples, the corresponding data, and the DNA extracts. She also performed hundreds of DNA extractions and PCR reactions. She graduated in 2016 and stayed in Gainesville working in multiple positions.
Jacklyn Locklear (2013-2016), University of Florida, Dept. of Biology. “Extra-pair paternity in the University of Florida campus mockingbird population” – Graduated with Highest Honors in Spring 2016.
Jacklyn joined the lab as a rising sophomore, worked in the field, in the molecular lab, on literature research and many other projects. She is a multitalented scholar-athlete, and started medical school in Fall of 2016.
Zoe Zelazny (2013-2015), University of Florida, Dept. of Zoology. “Seasonal Effects on Northern Mockingbird Clutch Size, Egg Weight, Nestling Weight and Nest Survival in Florida” – Graduated with Highest Honors in Summer 2015, and received the best poster award at the Undergraduate Research Symposium in April 2015.
Following graduation, Zoe worked as a research assistant in multiple labs at the University of Florida, and most recently took a field technician position in Cairns, Australia to study fairy-wrens.
Erin Rawls (2013-2015), University of Florida, Dept. of Psychology. – “The effect of foot and car traffic on Northern Mockingbird nesting success” – Graduated with Highest Honors in May 2015, best undergraduate talk at the Undergraduate Research Symposium in April 2015.
Erin started her career as an avian biologist with working in the field in New Jersey, Costa Rica, and took an education recruiting position near Dallas, TX as of 2016.
Alison Flanders (2013-2015), University of Florida, Dept. of Animal Science. CALS Honors College Program. “Male parental investment, relatedness, population density and territorial proximity as factors promoting extra-pair paternity in the Northern Mockingbird” – Graduated with Highest Honors in May 2015.
Alison started Vet School in the Fall of 2015.
Daphna Shaw (2009-2010), University of Florida, Dept. of Biology. “Male parental investment, relatedness, population density and territorial proximity as factors promoting extra-pair paternity in the Northern Mockingbird” – Daphna received funding from the University Scholars program, and the Wilson Ornithological Society for her work, and she finished graduate nursing school in Pennsylvania and is now a PICU nurse. See Daphna’s poster from the University Scholars Symposium.
Susana Cubas (2009-2013), Universidad Nacional de la Amazonia Peruana, Iquitos, Peru. “Habitat partitioning and lek behavior of two manakin species in the Reserva Nacional Allpahuayo Mishana.”-
Susana works as an independent environmental consultant, and she is also a mom of two incredible young daughters!
Maria Isabel Torres Vasquez (2009-2010), Universidad Nacional de la Amazonia Peruana, Iquitos, Peru. “Molt and reproduction of understory birds in the Reserva Nacional Allpahuayo Mishana.” – We published her thesis in the journal Ornitologia Neotropical.
Marita works as a government biologist.
Danilo Santos (2012), Universidad INCCA Bogota, Colombia. “Breeding biology and behavior of Chelidoptera tenebrosa” – Danilo defended his thesis with distinction in 2015 and has been working as a biologist.
Camilo Andres Alfonso Cuta (2011-2013), Universidad Nacional de Colombia, Bogota, Colombia. “Use of space and lek behavior of the Saffron-crested Tyrant-Manakin (Neopelma chrysocephalum)”
Camilo received funding/gear from the Idea Wild program for his fieldwork, and he defended his thesis on July 3rd, 2013 in a public presentation at his university. He has continued working in the field in Ecuador, Panama, and his native Colombia. He is now a Ph.D. student at Virginia Tech, supported by the Fullbright Program.