WFA Student Representatives

 

If you want to learn more about becoming a student rep for WFA, click here >

Student Rep Coordinator

Sarah Hegg

Sarah Hegg

2015 - . Sarah Hegg grew up in Minnesota and received a bachelor’s degree in Natural Science and Environmental Studies from the College of St. Benedict (St. Joseph, Minn.). After graduation she moved westward and has lived in New Mexico, Wyoming, and California. She worked for many years bouncing around as a seasonal wildlife technician, mainly for the US Forest Service. She’s also worked in many other capacities (trail crew, wilderness ranger) and organizations (National Park Service, US Fish and Wildlife Service, Utah State University, Wildlife Conservation Society). Sarah has been lucky enough to work with many different wildlife projects; participating in research year-round involving grizzly bears, lynx, coyotes, wolves, wolverines, fisher, and marten. Sarah is currently working towards her MS, attending the University of Nevada, Reno. At UNR, she is studying population ecology and working with small mammals in the Great Basin of Nevada.  When not outside for work or school, she enjoys doing anything that gets her back outside; this usually involves running, skiing, or rock climbing.

Cheyenne Burnett, 2013-2014

 

Arizona

Looking for a student rep!

cat track

 

 

California

Anna Nisi 2017 -

Anna Nisi
Anna Nisi is a PhD student at the University of California, Santa Cruz, working on the Santa Cruz Puma Project. She is particularly interested in how living in human-dominated landscapes impacts large carnivore survival and reproduction, and will be studying these issues in the puma population of the fragmented Santa Cruz Mountains for her PhD, which she started in the fall of 2015. She feels lucky to have the opportunity to contribute to a greater understanding of how humans and large carnivores can coexist in the face of anthropogenic change, and is excited to engage in outreach and conservation efforts alongside research. She is from Minnesota originally and graduated with a degree in Biology from Carleton College in 2014, where she cultivated her love of ecology in the restored prairies of southern Minnesota. After graduation, Anna studied soil dynamics in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, worked at a zoo in Boston, was a research technician for the Yellowstone Wolf Project winter study, and helped with her lab’s fieldwork studying African lions in Kenya. 

Justine Smith, 2016-

Justine Smith

Justine is a PhD candidate in Environmental Studies at the University of California, Santa Cruz. Her research examines how human-induced behavioral change in carnivores impacts species interactions. Currently Justine is a member of the Santa Cruz Puma Project, a research program that investigates puma ecology in a highly fragmented landscape. She has previously worked both domestically and internationally on pikas, wolves, pumas, and small mammals. Justine is also the founder and president of the Santa Cruz chapter of the Society for Conservation Biology, a mentor for two undergraduate internship programs, a NSF and PBK fellow, and a member of The Wildlife Society's Urban Wildlife Working Group. Her research interests include noninvasive methods, citizen science, human-induced fear, trait-mediated indirect effects, and behavioral conservation. In her spare time, she also enjoys climbing, slacklining, backpacking, and skiing.

 

 

Colorado

Annie Kellner, 2018-

Annie Kellner

Annie Kellner is a PhD student in the Graduate Degree Program in Ecology at Colorado State University.  After spending seven years in the non-profit sector, Annie chose to redirect her career into conservation science. Her research interests generally include carnivore ecology, movement ecology, disease ecology, and anthropogenic impacts on wildlife. She is currently studying polar bear spatial ecology and terrestrial habitat selection in George Wittemyer’s lab. Her Master’s work concerned cross-species transmission between wild felids and domestic cats. Annie lives in Fort Collins, Colorado with her husband and two young children, and her 14 year-old tabby cat/head-of-household, Methuselah.  

 

 

Georgia

Kelsey Turner, 2016 -

Kelsey Turner

Kelsey is a Master’s student in the Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources at the University of Georgia. She is based out of the Savannah River Ecology Lab in Aiken, SC but also does research at the Joseph W. Jones Ecological Research Center at Ichauway in southwest Georgia. Currently, Kelsey is working on assessing factors which may influence vertebrate scavenging communities. She has collaborated on several research projects including assessing seasonal food habits of coyotes in southwest Georgia and vertebrate scavenging ecology on Pacific islands. Her research interests are broad but include scavenging ecology, wild felid ecology and conservation, carnivore ecology and management, and invasive species management.

 

 

 

 

Illinois

Evan Greenspan, 2018-

Evan Greenspan

Evan is currently a graduate research assistant at Southern Illinois University, Carbondale where he is pursuing a M.S. in Forestry. His research is a human dimensions project assessing the attitudes and support of Taiwanese residents towards a potential clouded leopard reintroduction. Clouded leopards were recently declared extinct in Taiwan, but an ecological feasibility assessment of habitat and prey concluded reintroduction to be a viable option. The next step is an assessment of socio-economic factors to ensure locals surrounding the proposed reintroduction site demonstrate positive attitudes and support prior to felid release. Evan’s interests lie predominantly in carnivore ecology and conservation, especially of wild felids. Evan graduated from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst with a M.Ed. and taught history in Boston for 4 years and Bangkok, Thailand for 2 years. Leaving the teaching profession, Evan then volunteered as a research assistant in Botswana monitoring predator behavior and elephant population dynamics; in South Africa conducting camera trap surveys on leopard population dynamics; and in Peru conducting various biodiversity surveys in primary and secondary tropical forest to estimate the biodiversity value of regenerative forests in Manu National Park. Evan has traveled to over 30 countries and hopes to utilize his international expertise to aid felid conservation efforts throughout the world.

 

 

Kentucky

Looking for a student rep!

puma track

 

 

Minnesota

 

Meredith Palmer, 2015 -

Meredith Palmer

Meredith Palmer is a PhD candidate at the University of Minnesota, where she studies the impacts of predation pressure on prey behavior. She is currently exploring how different predator attributes, such as hunting technique, shape adaptive anti-predator behavioral responses. Her work is conducted primarily in Serengeti Park, Tanzania, where she uses a 200+ camera trap grid (www.snapshotserengeti.com) to examine how variation in predation risk across space and time - the so-called "landscape of fear" - affects ungulate distribution and activity patterns. She is currently conducting additional experiments in South African reserves to study prey responses to simulated predator encounters. Prior to pursuing graduate school, Meredith worked on a variety of field research projects in Central and South America, Africa, and the South Pacific, studying organisms ranging from invasive snakes to endangered felines.

 

 

 

New Mexico

 

Susan Bard, 2015 -

Susan Bard

Susan Bard grew up in Connecticut dreaming of exploring the world, and working with wildlife. After completing a B.S. in wildlife biology at Unity College in Maine, this dream came to fruition. She has traveled the U.S. and worked with a variety of species, from waterfowl to big game. Most recently she was engrossed in puma and mule deer work, which further confirmed her decision to pursue wildlife research. Currently, she is a graduate research assistant at New Mexico State University investigating habitat use of black bears in relation to wildfires and forest restorations in the Jemez Mountains of north central New Mexico. This research is part of an extensive long term project that will also assess effects on other species including puma, elk, and mule deer. Susan hopes that this research will aid in conservation and pragmatic management of these species, especially in western states where wildfires will continue to be prevalent. Her research interests include big game conservation and management, population dynamics, predator-prey relations, wildlife epidemiology, and resource selection.

 

 

North Carolina

Looking for a student rep!

 

 

 

North Dakota & South Dakota

 

Emily Mitchell, 2018 -

Emily Mitchell

Emily received her undergraduate degree in Natural Resources with an emphasis in Wildlife from the University of Georgia's Warnell School of Forest and Natural Resources. She spent a few years after receiving her BS at various locations in the U. S. and in Costa Rica participating in research work ranging from sea turtle rehabilitation and conservation, to black bear trapping and tracking, to sage grouse, to coyote trapping, to swift fox trapping and tracking. She is currently working on a Master's degree at South Dakota State University. Her Master's thesis research includes studying the distribution of swift fox and sympatric carnivores, swift fox disease exposure, swift fox population viability, and general swift fox ecology in northwest South Dakota and southwest North Dakota. She conducted a 500+ camera trap grid with >80% of her study being on private property. She hopes her swift fox research will help improve management practices for this relatively rare species as well as aid in a better understanding of swift fox sympatric carnivore interactions. Her research interests include predator conservation and management, furbearer management, human-wildlife conflict resolution, predator-prey relationships, and carnivore ecology.

 

 

Oregon

Beth Orning, 2015-

 

Beth Orning
Beth, a PhD student at Oregon State University, hails from Iowa where she earned her BS degree in Animal Ecology from Iowa State University. She then spent 9 years working on a variety of research projects all over the US including trapping and tracking wolves, bobcat, deer, elk, and grizzly bear. Beth completed her MS degree in Wildlife Biology at Utah State University in fall 2013. Her thesis examined the effect of predator removal on Greater sage-grouse ecology in the Bighorn Basin of Wyoming. Beth started her PhD studies under Dr. Katie Dugger in January 2014. She will examine the interaction between cougar and wolves in the Blue Mountains of northeast Oregon and determine how recolonizing wolf populations affect cougar prey selection, space use, and population dynamics. Her interests include predator-prey interactions, intraguild predator dynamics, interspecific competition, spatial ecology, population dynamics, and applied research management.

 

Texas

Michael Stangl, 2017-

Michael Stangl

Michael hails from the Texas Hill Country. But it was in the Yukon Territory, during a summer spent on a National Outdoor Leadership School course, that he solidified his dedication to wilderness and wildlife. Stangl returned to Texas and went on to receive his B.S. in Conservation Biology from Sul Ross State University, where he is currently pursuing his M.S. in Wildlife Management. As an undergraduate student he had the opportunity to work with the Borderlands Research Institute, where he assisted in field work for their mountain lion research in the Davis Mountains and in Big Bend National Park. His current research focuses on the ecological role mountain lions in the Davis Mountains, Texas, a unique and biodiverse sky-island in the Chihuahuan Desert. Specifically, Michael is interested in mountain lions’ impact on the scavenger community associated with their kill sites and the reverberant effects predators have within ecosystems. When he’s not in the field for work, Michael is often trying to get back into the field for recreation.

 

Utah

Claudia Stout, 2018-

Claudia Stout

Claudia graduated from Colorado State University in 2008 with a BS in Natural Resource Management and a minor in Forestry.  After that she spent several years working in the field with different wildlife species including the California condor, Gunnison sage grouse, and the black-tailed prairie dog.  Most recently she worked for the Colorado State Forest Service as a crew leader for the Forest Inventory and Analysis (FIA) program. Claudia is currently at Utah State University to get her masters. She plans to use the FIA data to quantify Canada Lynx habitat as well as which management strategies lead to the best broad-scale and long-term habitat.

 

 

Washington

Lauren Satterfield, 2018-

Lauren Satterfield

Lauren is a PhD student at the University of Washington in Seattle. Originally from Georgia, she completed her MS at the University of Georgia in 2014. During her master's, she worked with Drs. John Carroll and Clint Moore to study occupancy, temporal partitioning, and bait preferences of the carnivore community in the Tuli block of eastern Botswana using camera traps. She has worked on cougar projects in Montana, Wyoming, and Nevada, in addition to studies on snow leopard and African leopard abroad. She started her PhD in Dr. Aaron Wirsing's Predator Ecology Lab in 2016. Her doctoral work investigates whether and how wolves are impacting cougar behavior as wolves recolonize Washington State, and how the presence of two top predators on the landscape impacts prey populations. All of these effects are viewed through the lens of an anthropogenically-impacted landscape, where people are hypothesized to also impact predator behavior and survival. Her research interests include using a combination of advanced analytical methods and fieldwork to study predator ecology, human-wildlife conflict, and ecosystem health, both domestically and internationally.

 

 

Wyoming & Montana

Colby Anton, 2015-

Colby Anton

Colby Anton, a PhD student at the University of California, Santa Cruz received his B.S. from University of California, Berkeley in 2009. Since his graduation he has spent time on projects studying gray wolves, black and grizzly bears, and pumas throughout the Rocky Mountains with a particular focus on behavioral, movement, and predator-prey ecology. With the support of a National Science Foundation Fellowship, Colby will be examining the complex and diverse relationships between pumas, wolves and their prey within the Northern Range of Yellowstone National Park. He is particularly interested in using non-invasive techniques to estimate population parameters as well as movement and predatory behaviors in large carnivores. In addition, he hopes to promote the widespread use of these techniques as tools for proper implementation of conservation and management policies.

 

 

Alberta, Canada

Mitchell Flowers, 2018-

Mitchell Flowers

As a long-time local of Ontario, Canada, Mitch received his B.Sc. in vertebrate physiology from McMaster University. He has since shifted his focus from the inner lives of animals to their outer lives, and now studies large mammals of the Rocky Mountains for his M.Sc. in Ecology at the University of Alberta. To tease apart the influences of human disturbance and landscapes characteristics on fine-scale predator–prey interactions, his research uses a network of remote cameras to examine when and where elk respond most strongly to the presence of different predators—including wolves, cougars, and humans. After completing his degree, Mitch has hopes to eventually use this experience with non-invasive monitoring techniques to become involved in the management of Canada’s mid-western cougar populations in Cypress Hills. Before moving to western Canada for his graduate research, Mitch assisted with cetacean research in Hong Kong, big cat rehabilitation in Bolivia, and long-term wildlife monitoring at the American Prairie Reserve.

 

 

Past Student Representatives:

ARIZONA: Ashwin Naidu, U of A, 2013-15

CALIFORNIA: Yiwei Wang, UCSC, 2013-15; Veronica Yovovich, UCSC 2013-2016

COLORADO: Patrick Lendrum, CSU, 2015-2017; Jen Timmer, CSU, 2013-2014.

FLORIDA: Brandi-Jo Petronio, University of Florida, 2013

GEORGIA: Kelsey Turner, U of GA, 2016-17; Barbara Shock, University of Georgia, 2011-2014

KENTUCKY: Glen Kalisz, Eastern Kentucky University, 2016

NEVADA: Sarah Hegg, University of Nevada, 2014-15

ILLINOIS: Rebecca Lyon, SIU, 2017; Jessica Fort, SIU, 2015; Julia Smith, SIU, 2013-14

NORTH CAROLINA: Michael Cove, NC State University, 2013-2015.

TEXAS: Price Rumbelow, Sul Ross State University 2014-16

UTAH: Peter Mahoney, USU 2015; Jonathan Fusaro, USU 2014; Cheyenne Burnett, USU 2013

WASHINGTON: Michael Havrda UW, 2016-17; Matt Warren, Western Washington University, 2014-15