Summer fieldwork pays dividends for undergraduate researchers
Undergraduate research students play an important role in Redmond’s labor-intensive fieldwork. Many Redmond students choose to earn research credits or through honors program courses; others are simply interested in seeing what practical work in the field entails. Redmond notes that while the degree of student involvement varies, many students develop their own projects from their early field investigations, often resulting in poster and lecture presentations and, in some cases, publications.
This summer, Redmond worked with two biology students, fourth-year Bethany Hollenbush and third-year Grace Muench. A project supported in part by the Penn State Schuylkill Faculty and Student Research Endowment, and a research development grant from Penn State Schuylkill. Hollenbush has been tangentially involved with Redmond’s search since late 2019, but this was her first time on the field after COVID-19 halted field activities the previous summer.
Hollenbush was excited and yet surprised at how much she enjoyed working in the field.
“I really looked forward to getting out in the field every morning with Grace and Dr. Redmond,” Hollenbush pointed out, “and found myself disappointed on days when we couldn’t get out due to weather or other circumstances.”
For Hollenbush, his summer on the pitch also helped shape his career path. “I always knew I wanted to do something involving animals, but this experience really confirmed that I wanted to have a future in ornithology,” she said.
Muench also recalled the importance of his first experience on the pitch.
“Although it’s a demanding job, this summer has been my most enjoyable and rewarding yet,” Muench said. “I came away with a lot of new knowledge and experience on many different subjects. I also learned many skills such as: catching birds via mist nets, bird banding and bird taking. blood samples I was also lucky to have found a great partner and best friend at Bethany.