I am extremely passionate and enthusiastic about science and teaching. Being a mentor is the perfect opportunity to combine rewarding teaching experiences with my enthusiasm for science. Mentoring is so important because many undergraduates in STEM do not understand how science is done. I help my mentees learn the science process by having them do science. I strive to be a good mentor because I believe it is important that mentees leave their research experience with an appreciation for insects, ecology, and science, even if my mentees do not continue in a research specific career. It is my responsibility to share my love of science as well as to teach my mentees how to be conscientious and reliable members of the scientific community.
Undergraduate Mentees' Independent Research
Ebony joined the lab in the summer of 2017 as a McNair Scholar. Her go-getter attitude has made her extremely successful while at UF. She is an entomology and nematology major and her independent project focused on the effects of female presence on male reproduction. She went on to receive the NSF Costa Rica REU in 2018, and she continues to do research in the Entomology department. She has presented her research at the Society for Integrated and Comparative Biology conference, the McNair Scholar's conference, and UF's Undergraduate Research Symposium. She looks forward to becoming a graduate student and continuing to pursue insect research upon graduation.
Dani was an anthropology major at UF. She joined the lab when she took the C.U.R.E. 2017 course (see Teaching). She enjoyed the research so much that she stayed with the lab until she graduated in the Spring of 2019. Dani ran two independent projects while in the laboratory: the effects of female quality on male testes size and the effect of reproductive trade-offs in Leptoglossus gonagra. She was awarded the McNair scholars award to conduct this research, she won the Charles H. Turner award to attend the Animal Behavior Society Conference to present her research, and has presented her research in many different conferences. Dani has accepted a position as a master's student at Boise State in the Anthropology department and will start in Fall 2019.
Skyler is a biology major and joined the lab in the summer of 2018. Skyler's dedication, commitment, and determination made her incredibly successful in our lab. Her project focused on the effects of diet on female longevity and fecundity. She presented her research at the Society for Integrated and Comparative Biology conference in Tampa, FL. Skyler will begin medical school at NOVA Southeastern University in the Fall 2020.
S. Haley Lenga
Haley was a biology major and joined the lab as an undergraduate research assistant in the fall of 2017. She enjoyed working in the laboratory so much that she applied and was awarded UF's Undergraduate Scholars Program research grant (2018-2019). She focused her research on the effects of damage on male reproductive success. She presented this research at the Society for Integrated and Comparative Biology conference in Tampa, FL and UF's Undergraduate Research Symposium this past spring 2019. This manuscript is in preparation and we hope to submit this fall! Haley will begin dental school at the University of Florida in the fall 2019.
Cirino, LA, S.H. Lenga, C.W. Miller. In prep. Males with damaged weapons produce more offspring in non-competitive environments.
Max is a biology major and joined the lab in the summer of 2018. He was the lead undergraduate researcher for the nutritional impacts on female receptivity. His can-do attitude made him the perfect student to tackle the large task of running insect behavior trials (over 340)! He presented the results of his independent project at the University of Florida's Undergraduate Research Symposium this past spring 2019. Max is planning a career as a medical doctor and will reap the benefits from learning the scientific process in our lab.
Stella is a biology major and joined the laboratory in the fall of 2018. She quickly became independent and was able to completely take over part of a multi-year project focusing on the reproductive trade-offs of Euthochtha galeator. Her dedication to this project was clear when she presented her work at UF's Undergraduate Research Symposium in the spring 2019. Stella plans to pursue a career in medicine.
Undergraduate student mentees
"Diversity benefits everyone. Without it we are all disadvantaged."
- Gilberto R. Sambrano , 2001
Costa Rica REU - Home mentor (2018)
The Organization of Tropical Studies hosts a National Science Foundation's LSAMP program REU at La Selva and Las Cruces Biological Field Stations for underrepresented minority students in STEM. This 8-week program provides students with the opportunity to carry out field research with their research mentor and home institution support from their home mentor. I provided two of my students with support as their 'home mentor' by first visiting the field station and meeting their research mentors, then providing Skype chat sessions and reviewing their poster and talks on their research at the end of the program.
Interested in applying for the Costa Rica REU? Click here!