In the Animal Behavior, Ecology and Conservation (ABEC) Program, students are expected to demonstrate scientific literacy and communication about science as demonstrated through the interpretation of data and the ability to clearly articulate scientific ideas. One of the easiest ways to demonstrate these skills is through research with a faculty member. More than 25 percent of the students in the program are involved in research with faculty. These students develop firsthand knowledge of specific areas within ABEC, which can aid in their scientific literacy.
In 2014, the first group of undergraduates that Sue Margulis, PhD, associate professor of ABEC and biology, mentored for four years graduated from the ABEC program. She shared that this was certainly an important and emotional experience for her and she singled out three of these students who were truly a “dream team” for her. All three are currently or are about to be enrolled in PhD programs: Chase LaDue ’14, Matthew LeFauve ’14 and Macy Madden ’14 (pictured in the spotlight). All three have published papers based on the research they did at Canisius; all three have presented posters at national conferences; all three participated in the National Science Foundation-funded Science Scholars Program; and all three developed completely independent research projects during their senior years.
Margulis explained that her research team structure allows students to learn the basics of zoo-based behavioral research. After several years, students have all the skills to branch out and design their own research projects. This format was due largely to her experiences working with these three incredible students, who taught her so much.
The program prepares the students well for futures in the ABEC fields by helping them develop these critical skills. Although other forms of assessment are also used to demonstrate students’ scientific literacy and communication, student-faculty research in the ABEC program provides excellent learning experiences and the opportunity to demonstrate that students can reach professional levels at Canisius.
Pictured: Members of Dr. Margulis’ research team (Team Ape) take advantage of the opportunity to meet Dr. Margulis’ graduate advisor, Dr. Jeanne Altmann, at the Animal Behavior Society Conference at Princeton University. L-R: Matthew LeFauve ’14; Dr. Jeanne Altmann; Dr. Sue Margulis; Chase LaDue ’14; and Liam Kelly ’15
Submitted by: Sara Morris, PhD, associate vice president, academic affairs