I employ a collaborative approach to mentorship informed by my own “learn-by-doing” education and training. Mentees work on independent projects which contribute to a larger goal, and support one another in the process. Embedded in this approach is a commitment to effective communication – specifically a commitment to listen to mentees, understand and respond to their needs. Not all of my mentees have been biologists – or even STEM majors! – but they each have gained a deeper understanding of biology, an appreciation for the power and limitations of the scientific method, and an irreplaceable sense of self-confidence. Further, this collaborative approach supports a tailored mentee experience – providing mentees with appropriate levels of direction, feedback, and autonomy.
Current and former research mentees represent diverse backgrounds, educational experiences, and career goals.
Gabriela Bobadilla completed her B.A. in Spanish at UC Riverside in Spring 2016. Next, she will be embarking on a new adventure in Quito, Ecuador as Assistant Field Director of WorldTeach, a non-governmental organization providing international teaching opportunities to volunteers interested in contributing to education globally. In the future, she plans to pursue a Master’s in Higher Education degree. She completed a research project assessing soil seed-banks in invaded landscapes, as well as the effects of heat and a chemical component of smoke on seed germination. She is experienced in soil seed-bank assessment, dilutions, plant propagation, fieldwork, and public speaking.
Seth Freitas is an Entomology major at UC Riverside and will graduate with his B.S. in spring 2017, after which he plans to pursue a career in forensic entomology. He is skilled in insect identification, collection and colony maintenance, plant propagation, and public speaking and is experienced in fieldwork, experimental design and data analysis. He conducted independent research on plant responses to herbivory, and has contributed to several other experiments, including work to assess associational effects among native and invasive plants, and exploring the potential omnivory of an invasive herbivorous stinkbug. Seth has given several poster presentations on his work assessing plant responses to herbivory, including at the Southern California Academy of Sciences annual meeting.
Stephanie Grande completed her B.A. in Philosophy at UC Riverside in spring 2015. She completed a literature review on the effects of invasive plants on arthropod communities, and completed an experiment assessing insect herbivore development on different host plants. She is experienced in insect sampling and colony maintenance, plant propagation and fieldwork. Stephanie independently created and delivered a poster presentation on her work examining insect nymphal development at the Southern California Academy of Sciences annual meeting. Since high school, she has been volunteering with the Shriners Hospital for Children in Los Angeles in the Child Life Department, overseeing activities, group visits, and outreach. Since graduating, Stephanie has gone on to intern at the American Red Cross Grants & Foundation Department where she partners with the Chief Development Officer to work on donor prospect research, reporting, grant filing and data organization. She also volunteers at the Los Angeles Natural History Museum at the interactive Nature Lab exhibit, where she identifies flies for the BioScan citizen science project, right there in front of museum guests! Stephanie is currently preparing to apply for law school, and plans to establish a career in public interest law and/or the non-profit sector.
Grace Hartt completed her B.S. in Environmental Science at UC Riverside in spring 2015, and has since gone on to work as a Seasonal Assistant at the Orange County Mosquito and Vector Control District. She completed research assessing arthropod communities in relation to a desert/transmontane ecotone, and was the leader of insect identification efforts. She is skilled in insect identification, insect sampling and community assessment and fieldwork. Grace independently created and delivered a poster presentation on trends she discovered in Oasis de Los Osos UC Natural Reserve arthropod communities at the Southern California Academy of Sciences annual meeting. She is planning to pursue a career in the fields of environmental conservation and public health.
Amy Michael completed her B.S. in Entomology at UC Riverside in 2013. She then worked at Cooperative Agricultural Support Services, and will soon be enrolling in the M.S. program in Tennessee. She contributed to research projects comparing methods of soil seed-bank assessment in invaded landscapes, and assessing plant and insect community composition across a desert/transmontane ecotone. She is skilled in insect and seed identification, insect sampling and fieldwork, as well as insect phylogenetics and systematics! Currently, Amy is a laboratory technician in Dr. Juan Luis Jurat-Fuentes’ Insect Physiology and Molecular Pathology lab at University of Tennessee at Knoxville, where she is investigating the effects of various Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) toxins on a range of lepidopteran agricultural pests. In Fall 2016, she will begin a M.S. program in the Dr. Jerome Grant Biological Control and Integrated Pest Management lab at UT Knoxville. Amy plans to put her vast entomological experience to work in the field of agricultural integrated pest management.
James Phillips completed his B.S. in Botany & Plant Sciences at UC Riverside in Spring 2015, and has since gone on to work as a Botany Technician at the Great Basin Institute. James completed a research project comparing methods of soil seed-bank assessment in invaded landscapes, and contributed to an experiment assessing associational effects among native and invasive plant species. He is experienced in plant and seed identification, plant community assessment, insect sampling and colony maintenance, plant propagation and fieldwork. James independently created and delivered a poster presentation on his work assessing soil seed-banks in Anza-Borrego Desert State Park at the Southern California Academy of Sciences annual meeting.
Julian Rasco graduated from Grove High School in 2014. While in his senior year of high school, he contributed to insect collection and colony maintenance, plant propagation and insect identification. During this time, he also volunteered in the Riverside Metropolitan Museum Nature Lab educating the public on the effects and interactions of invasive and native species in Southern California. Today, Julian is pursuing a B.S. in Environmental Biology at UC Berkeley and will graduate in Spring of 2018. He works in the Dr. Anthony Barnosky Paleontology lab extracting data from the fossil record, which may allow a better understanding of pre-anthropomorphic environmental conditions. In the future, he plans on a career in the biological sciences that encourages his interest in and challenges his understanding of our planet’s complicated systems.
Jacob Smith completed his B.S. in Mechanical Engineering at UC Riverside in Fall 2014, and has gone on to become an Aerospace Design Engineer with Ventura Aerospace and an Officer in the Army Reserve. He completed an experiment assessing associational effects among native and invasive plant species, and contributed to an experiment assessing variation in insect herbivore preference among host plants. He is experienced in insect sampling and colony maintenance, plant propagation and fieldwork, and he used his engineering background to help out a whole lot with creating and maintaining experimental equipment. His career goal is to one day design structural systems for either spacecraft or planetary rovers.