2017 graduates

I only had two advisees graduate this year, both of them did really amazing senior projects, and I was the director of a third senior project.  First, the old bios of my two grads with some updates:

Porcia Manandahar. I grew up under the foothills of the Himalayas in Kathmandu, Nepal. I had never left my home country until I came to College of the Atlantic with an interest in Biology and Mathematics. After my first year, I became more confident in studying and exploring the field of medicine and public health but I also found new interests in fine arts and pottery. Besides this I love swimming, cycling, cooking, photography, and now birding though I have a hard time identifying birds in this continent.porcia-lowres
I spent my first summer as an undergraduate jumping back and forth between COA’s two research islands-Mount Desert Rock Island and Great Duck Island, banding and researching nesting herring gull population. This experience reinforced my interest in research and I am combining research with my long-term interest in medicine. In the winter of my second year, I started working in the Jackson laboratory as an academic intern. During the summer of 2015 I will split my time between a biomedical research internship at the Jackson lab and taking part in a program in Global health issues in South Africa jointly run by the Organization for Tropical Studies and Duke University. For the summer of 2016 I did  an internship at Bowdoin College with Dr. Clare Congdon on bioinformatics.  I’m spending the winter in Nepal doing ethnographic work with HIV patients at public hospitals as part of my senior project.

Porcia is going to spend the next 12 months working at Jackson Laboratory while she decides if its a Masters in Public Health or an M.D. or something else that she wants to do next.  Her senior project was a combination of an ethnography with some artwork from her experiences in the public hospital and working with pregnant HIV women in Nepal.

michelle-pazminoMichelle Pazmino.  Being born and raised in Ecuador, a multi-ethnic, pluri-cultural country and one of the most biodiverse places in the world,  my interest has been in biological sciences and indigenous/local communities. I am interested in people’s response to environmental problems, especially those induced by climate change and economic development. From the perspective of the scientist to the traditional knowledge of the shaman along with that of governing political figures’ and land developers’, ecological impacts are contemplated differently. One of my goals is to see how these -quite often clashing- perspectives interplay in the implementation of conservation decisions.
During my time at COA I have developed my research skills. I also have had the chance to be part of delegations at UN Climate Change and Biodiversity Conventions as well as activism movements that allowed me to see one perspective in relation to how humans are trying to ‘save the Earth’. Studying Protected Areas and interning in one let me see a different side of this picture. For the summer of 2016 I am doing an internship as a field ecologist in the Amazon in Brazil.  After spending December 2016 in Cancun at the UN Biodiversity Conference I’ll be in the Galapagos interviewing lobstermen for my senior project looking at the relationship between conservation, management, and local fishermen.
One of the best parts of living in ME is the smell of the coastal shore (fishy and salty), but also learning how to deal with the cold weather.

Michelle did a great job on her senior project, and will be moving to D.C. in the fall to intern for Conservation International.

Because Alyssa Murad isn’t an advisee I don’t have a handy picture, but I still want to put a placeholder here and later add her senior project. Alyssa looked at the parasites in crabs in Maine, comparing a native and invasive species, the green crab. She found that the native crabs actually had less parasite burden, which was the opposite of the ecological predication. We are finishing up editing that paper and are hoping to submit the paper to a regional naturalist journal soon.

Finally, Renate Braathen is finishing up her senior project, and will graduate sometime in 2018.

Renate Braathen.  Renate is a fourth-year transfer student at COA that is hoping to go to vet school in the EU. Last December she was in Germany doing intensive language courses.  This picture was taken in December 2016 in Germany, the story behind the tower is given in the marinestudies at coa blog. She spent the summer of 2017 working at COA’s Beech Hill Farm.