I grew up in Southern California, in your typical suburb. My family wasn't particularly outdoorsy, but I loved animals. I spent hours poring over National Geographic for Kids and soaking up random fun facts about wildlife.
When I first started at Oregon State in Fisheries & Wildlife Sciences, I was set on wildlife rehabilitation. I thought rehabilitation and veterinary medicine were essentially the only ways to work with animals! Little did I know how much that perception would change over the next four years...
Follow me, an E-campus Fisheries and Wildlife Sciences student, through my first international research experience with the South African Shark Conservancy. You will be let in on the important studies taking place in one of the world’s most important biodiversity hot spots while watching me overcome challenges and gain valuable professional (and life) experiences!
Read about our students and their experiences, challenges, and successes in the classroom and the field. Are you a Fisheries and Wildlife student taking classes in Corvallis or Hatfield with a story to tell? Contact your advisor to find out how!
Postbac student, Kevin Keys, traveled about as far from Corvallis as possible to participate in an internship: Cape Town, South Africa. Follow his journey, There and Back Again: A South African Adventure, where he documents his work with the Cape Town Environmental Education Trust (CTEET) on their effort to eradicate non-native vegetation from the Cape Flats region to protect the endangered Cape Flats Dune Standveld. The project uses eland, a type of antelope that were extirpated from the area about 200 years ago, to help conserve and manage the floral biodiversity in the region.
Do you want to know about the ecology, behavior, health, and conservation of marine megafauna including cetaceans, pinnipeds, seabirds, and sharks? Then follow the GEMM Lab’s blog to read what students and researchers are learning, the conservation impacts of their studies, or just hear what life in the field and lab is like.
Jackie has a spark for adventure with a drive to spur discussion and connect you to stories on conservation, human-nature relations, and cultural diversity. Through her website, she covers a variety of topics such as life as a graduate student and her experience rehabilitating howler monkeys in Panama.
Michelle is a PhD student in Wildlife Science in Fisheries and Wildlife. Her primary research to-date has focused on humpback whale non-song communication - or social sounds - in Southeast Alaska. Follow Michelle's travels as a researcher and as a Graduate Teaching Assistant for several of the Department's undergraduate classes.
My research is focused on studying the factors that influence sea turtle growth rates and population dynamics, primarily through examination of the bones. I’m one of only a handful of people in the world who studies sea turtle bones.
Ecampus Student Stories
Read about our Ecampus students and their experiences, challenges, and successes in the classroom and the field. Are you an Ecampus student with a story to tell? Contact your advisor to find out how!
Micah Ashford - Barbados Sea Turtles
Hello, everyone, my name is Micah Ashford and I am a Postbaccalaureate eCampus student here at OSU. I currently live in Barbados where I work with the ongoing conservation efforts of hawksbill sea turtles.
Hawksbill sea turtles (Eretmochelys imbricata) are listed as critically endangered by the IUCN Redlist due to poaching for their colorful and intricately detailed shell. Nesting habitat for this species also continues to degrade due to coastal development, climate change, invasive species, and loss of viable beach habitat due to beach erosion. This is where the Barbados Sea Turtle Project comes in. My job here is to collect important data that can help spur local authorities into action to prevent further loss of habitat and enable laws that grant this species the protection status it needs to survive and thrive while nesting on Barbados, the second largest nesting population of hawksbills in the western hemisphere.
"The most rewarding aspect of my work is making a difference in the conservation of T&E species and overall biodiversity. Our conservative monitoring approach, although a disturbance to the plover population, provides critical information on population change and reproductive success. These data, along with our dedicated research on impacts of climate change and nesting response to restoration efforts, will continue to inform and guide snowy plover recovery management efforts for years to come. It’s very rewarding to be part of such a great team of scientists striving to perpetuate common goals in conservation to ensure healthy, diverse wildlife populations and inform future efforts to combat climate change."
Marissa Humphreys: A Long and Winding Road
"Over the past few years, I have learned a few things about the wildlife field that I wish I had known beforehand. First, make connections and don’t be afraid to ask questions. Since I have been working in the Federal government, I have learned that it is really about having the right connections at the right time. Some of the opportunities I have had, and may have in the future are because of whom I know. I still talk to my past supervisors, and they are constantly sending me job opportunities that they think might interest me. Second, don’t be afraid to work the jobs that may have nothing to do with the field you are interested in. In the Federal government, after two years (24 months) of service you get what is called “merit” status, which gives you a huge boost when it comes to getting a permanent job, so work any job that can help you get time towards those 24 months. For example, I worked six months at the BLM front desk. For one, it helps you make connections, and it helps you get your foot in the door."
"Like most non-traditional students my path was anything but a straight line. I had two prior careers: 10 years in the food service industry and 20 years active duty military service in the U.S. Coast Guard. Although I grew up in the inner city, I always had a love of the environment, but it was not a career "people like me" did. Joining the military helped change my negative self-image and gave me the economic opportunity to pursue an academic education."
I gained a much better sense of what fieldwork entailed, how exciting science communication is with a curious audience, and how transferable many of these skills are even when the focal species or habitat changes. The work inspired me so much that I wanted to learn everything I could about marine biology, ecology, and conservation.