When I was young, pre-school age, I would tell people I wanted to be “a vet without the blood.” About ten years after that, I went to ecology summer camp at the local university and read my National Geographic and Wildlife Conservation Society magazines religiously every month. I was lucky enough to attend one of the best science magnet public high schools in the country, which put me on a path to graduate Cornell University magna cum laude at 19. After graduation, I lived in Jordan for a year researching bird migration through the Middle East on a Fulbright Fellowship. I came home, became a raptor rehabilitator for 2 years (so much for ‘without the blood’ ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ ), and then returned to school to earn a PhD in ecology so I could become a leader in this field that I love.

I still have a year to go before I earn my degree, but I’ve always been a person who believes most learning happens outside the classroom, a person who likes to do more than one thing at once. Right now, I am beginning to wrap up four years spent investigating the population dynamics, diet, toxicology, and genetics of the South Florida subspecies of Red-shouldered Hawk (Buteo lineatus). Five months ago, the South Florida/Caribbean Inventory and Monitoring Network sent a mass email, which included my major advisor, seeking an intern to help them analyze ten years of data on the population dynamics of South Florida Double-crested Cormorants (Phalacrocorax auritus). Preparation met opportunity and now here I am, dedicating my summer to what I hope my whole career will become: combining my love and knowledge of ecology with a heaping dose of statistics and technology to discover and tell the stories of the natural world.

Hi! I’m Donna and I’m the new Mosaics intern at the SFCN office in Miami.


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