Each summer, the Center for Ohio River Research and Education (CORRE) at the Thomas More College Biology Field Station invites undergraduate college students to apply for paid research internships which last through the summer months. These internships, funded through a variety of grants, are primarily in the fields of aquatic biology, ecology and environmental science with projects involving animal husbandry (fish & mussels), aquaculture, aquatic toxicology, big river sampling, bioassessments & biomonitoring, and DNA sequencing. In addition to completing duties that directly measure the health of the Ohio River river system, interns learn skills that help them become environmental educators.
This year, in honor of the 50th Anniversary of the Biology Field Station, we thought it would be fitting (and fun) to ask the interns to send Moreover their observations and experiences as they spend time on the River. For a sneak peak of who the summer interns are click here, for more information on the current Biology Field Station projects click here, to read more about the intern experience please check back regularly! I, for one, can not wait to see what they are up to at the Field Station this summer.
During the summer before my senior year, my sister and I took a class to become open water scuba certified. Taking my first breath underwater was absolutely amazing, but it wasn’t my favorite part about the pool-training portion of the course. On the final day, my sister and I descended into a twelve-foot deep pool. She practically dropped to the bottom, while my descent was a lot slower. For a while, we tested our buoyancy skills and swam in circles around the small pool. Then, she suddenly stopped and descended until she was sitting on the bottom, legs extended and fins pointed up. She looked comfortable, so I joined her. We simply sat there surrounded by water; silently watching our bubbles drift up towards the surface. If I had enough air, I would have stayed right there for hours.
Looking back on this now, I realize how deeply in the Blue Mind Zone I was. Despite being right next to my sister, the water provided me with a private place to simply think and feel. I felt completely relaxed in the water. There were no distracting noises or sights. My body felt light and my mind, which is constantly filled with the desire to go and move or worry, was actually quite content. I got the same feeling when I floated through reefs in the Caribbean, swam with some fish in my local quarry, and when I hovered halfway between the surface and the bottom to meet a friendly Remora. I’ve realized that nothing really compares to the relaxed state I find myself in when I’m floating in the water or sitting at the bottom. For me, the Blue Mind is pretty real.
And when my sister and I signed up for a quick refresher course, we both immediately knew what we were going to do when we got in the twelve-foot pool.
For my Independent Study, I will look at longnose gar in the Ohio River and analyze what they eat by performing a gut analysis. Based on previous data compiled at the Thomas More College Biology Field Station, we know this is a common species found at this location of the River. A total analysis of what longnose gar from the Ohio River eat, in addition to a comparison of food source, will be made between two different size groups of gar. Although we have an idea of what gar eat, based on other research, it will be interesting to see if the gar from the Ohio River differ. The goal of comparing two different sized groups is to determine if any factors such as competition, size, abundance, or morphological limitations, result in different-sized gar being predators of different prey.
To begin this project, we will collect at least ten gar for each size range. Hoop nets, gill nets, and electrofishing will all be methods used to collect the fish. The contents of the stomach will be rinsed out over sieve and contents will be identified using microscopes. The total weight of the stomach will also be taken. Being on the River Crew, I chose this topic because I wanted to work with fish in a lab setting. It is also interesting because of the lack of data on the diet of longnose gar in the Ohio River.
As a second year laboratory intern, I wanted to perform research that revolved a little more heavily around field work. For my Independent Study project, I chose to perform a gut analysis of three different species of catfish: blue, channel, and bullhead. In the Ohio River, there are many different species of aquatic organisms that all play key roles in contributing to the biodiversity and ecological health of the ecosystem. As bottom feeders and opportunistic predators, catfish diets are among the most intriguing and variable to study among the various species of freshwater fish that populate the river. As such, I thought it would interesting and ecologically relevant to explore the diets of catfish to better understand their niche in the Ohio River watershed as opposed to elsewhere throughout the United States and the world.
In order to carry out this study, I will be collecting a minimum of ten of these three species of catfish through various processes, such as gill nets, hoop nets, electrofishing, and rod and reel fishing. Once collected, I will dissect them, excise the contents of their stomach and digestive tract, and then work to identify specific organisms that I find using field guides and internet databases. In performing this study, I hope to better understand how these three species of catfish impact the Ohio River ecosystem through the organisms that they consume.
Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky are heavily affected by drug abuse with heroin and marijuana being the primary substances that are abused. In 2010 the number of reported heroin overdose deaths in the United States was recorded at 3,306; fast forward to 2014 and that number has more than tripled to 10,574. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2014 Ohio had the second highest number of drug overdose deaths nationwide.
Illicit drugs and pharmaceuticals are being consumed and abused. Through human waste these drugs enter sewers and end up in rivers and surface water. The effects of pharmaceuticals on fish such as the smallmouth bass has been documented. Increased amounts of estrogen and testosterone compounds found in various medications have entered into the river and lake systems causing the fish to become intersex, possessing both male and female anatomy. This mutation was caused by everyday pharmaceuticals, but what is unknown is the amount of illicit drugs that can be found in the waterways. This is especially alarming due to the fact that water treatment plants are not able to get 100 percent of toxins from pharmaceuticals and illicit drugs out of the drinking water.
My summer research project is to analyze the amount of illicit drugs such as opiates, cannabinoids, and heroin in the Ohio River at several test site, as well as in the treated water which is found in homes throughout the tristate area. The reason I chose this project is because other countries such as Denmark, Italy, and China have been testing for these illicit drugs and have found positive results. Since drug use in the greater Cincinnati area is at an all-time high, I believe that there will be trace amounts of these drugs in the river and drinking water.
I am an Environmental Educator at the Field Station and over the summer everyone does an independent study project. This project helps to increase our knowledge and branch out to work on something that we might not know we have had an interest in. We learn about new things that can inspire us to decide what we want to do later in our lives. My Independent Study for the summer is the study of arboreal and semi-arboreal ants and how different environments affect the density of the populations. I decided on this topic for my Independent Study because a professor from the University of Louisville, Dr. Steve Yanoviak, reached out to Dr. Lorentz to see if he would do testing at the Field Station on arboreal ants to find out which species live in Northern Kentucky. Andrew Seiler (a fellow student) and I decided to help with this project.
We took information from the study and added parts to create our own study, but with the backbone of the main study from Dr. Yanoviak. I chose this topic because I didn’t know much about the ants in my area or ants in general, but I wanted to have more knowledge of the local species to give me more knowledge of the biodiversity around the Ohio River. Having knowledge and experience of species not inside my field of interest, can open up jobs and careers that I might not have thought of in the past. The information that is sent to Dr. Yanoviak is also helpful to further his study and allows him to have a database to include that is from Northern Kentucky along with other studies he does around the world.
The study will be completed by testing different trees in different habitats around the Field Station. There is a floodplain habitat and a forest habitat on the Kentucky side of the Ohio River and the same habitats on the Ohio side as well. I can test different tree species in these areas, as well as, how different sizes, height and DBH, of the tree affect the density of the populations. The bait is a simple mixture of tuna and honey and is spread in a small pile at 1.4m up the tree trunk. The bait is left for an hour and the ants that accumulate at the bait are put into vials to be sent back to Louisville to test the species to give Dr. Yanoviak the information that he seeks from our study. The test has to be done when conditions are dry because that is one factor that could affect the ants on that particular day. The coordinates of the location, the diameter at breast height of the tree (DBH), the tree species, the temperature outside, and the time are all recorded. The trees are selected at random, but must be 50m apart from the previous tree that was baited.
Hello, Joe here again. In addition to working on the River Crew this summer at the Field Station, I will also be working on my Independent Study. I have researched the topic and developed methods to test my hypotheses. My Independent Study this summer is focusing on zebra mussels (Dreissna polymorpha). Zebra mussels are an invasive mussel species from the lakes of southern Russia and Ukraine. They were first introduced to North America in the Great Lakes in 1986, and have been spreading rapidly ever since, massively altering the aquatic ecosystems of our lakes and rivers. They have even spread into the Ohio River, right here in the tri-state and beyond. I will be investigating the colonization rate, the habitat preference, and the water filtration rate of this invasive species this summer. These mussels have had a tremendous impact on our freshwater ecosystems and on our economy since they clog intake pipes for electric power plants and water treatment facilities, so any information about them can be helpful. I chose to study these organisms because they are a relatively new threat to north American freshwater ecosystems and because I am interested in invasive species.
To test the colonization rate of zebra mussels I will be placing glass panes in the mussel tanks in the downstairs of the lockhouse at the Field Station. I will be varying the orientation of the panes between horizontal and vertical to see if there’s a preference among zebra mussels. After a trial time of two weeks, I will count the number of zebra mussels that have colonized the panes and determine a rate of colonization.
To test the habitat preference of zebra mussels, I will be going out in the field with an underwater camera, observing and measuring the density, number, and size of zebra mussels on a variety of submerged potential habitats. I will also be looking at the river conditions at the various sites.
To test the water filtration rate of the zebra I will be placing zebra mussels attached to glass panes in increments of ten up to fifty in individual aquariums filled with Ohio River water. Over a period of three days I will test what effects the zebra mussels will have on the water. From this I will be able to determine a water filtration rate per zebra mussel and hopefully be able to further explain the effects that this species has on its environment.
I am looking forward to uncovering the results of my tests this summer!
I am having such a great time so far this summer! My current position on the River Crew has exceeded my expectations! I have sharpened my boating skills a little more and I have gotten better at identifying Ohio River fish. As this is the end of the first week of our primary research project, some of us ae beginning to start our independent study projects. This summer I have decided to study lichens and their ability to be biological indicators for air quality. I will be surveying and analyzing samples of lichen on the property of the Field Station. It is still a work in progress but I am very excited to have the opportunity to complete my own research to present at the end of the summer!
Grace Kahmann | Environmental Instructor: Over the summer, along with our assigned jobs, each intern is also required to complete an Independent Study. We had the option to either work alone or in pairs, so I decided to complete my independent study with one of my fellow environmental educators, Morgan McNeely. For our study, we are determining which lightbulbs attract the most insects and which attract the least. We also will look to see if different species of insects are more attracted to one lightbulb over another. We chose this topic simply because of the sheer number of insects that visit our porch each night at the Lodge. We had a beautiful luna moth that would come every night for about a week or so that Morgan befriended. This sparked our interest into whether or not different lightbulbs would attract different insects.
In order to do this we are using a baffle/funnel insect trap. This is a typical heat lamp, often used for chicks, but instead of the infrared lightbulb, we are using halogen bulbs, LED, fluorescent, incandescent, and a bug light. Under the lamp will be a bucket with a funnel. The insects will be attracted to the light, and then fall into the bucket. The bucket contains a preserving liquid such as methanol so the insects can later be studied. Each lightbulb will be tested three times, each on a different night. Our study may not only be helpful in picking out a lightbulb for your porch at night, but it could potentially help for further research.
Riley Kinsella | Stream Team: This year my independent study will focus primarily on the data analysis of different biological aspects of Banklick Creek in Morning View, Ky. Part of my job working with Sanitation District No. 1 is to collect data so that it can be sent to an environmental consulting company. The consulting company analyzes the data so that we can receive a “grade” that gives us an idea as to how healthy our streams actually are. Some of this data includes macroinvertebrate specimens that serve as bio-indicators. Many of these small animals are pollution intolerant and will not be found if streams are not healthy. Another system of data collection that Haley (Jackson – TMC’s other Stream Team intern) and I will perform while working with SD1 is called hydro-modification. We take surveys of stream sites that are vulnerable to erosion and riffle shifts caused by an abundance of storm and wastewater runoff.
For my independent study project I will be working with Haley to not only collect the data but analyze it ourselves. We have chosen a site in a more rural area that SD1 has not yet looked at, and will do what we call a “bio-blitz.” This entails finding a site where we will observe and identify as many species as possible in order to gauge the health of the stream in that area. We will look at macroinvertebrates, reptiles, amphibians, birds, mammals, and even set up our own hydro-modification site. Rather than sending our data off to a consulting company, it will be our job to process and analyze this data and compare it to other sites along Banklick Creek to see of there are any differences in species and stream health when comparing rural areas to more urban and suburban areas.
It is my hope that by pursuing an independent project in which data analysis of the flora and fauna of Banklick Creek is the focus, Haley and I will become more knowledgeable in species identification and in understanding the importance of what we do when working with Sanitation District No. 1.
Haley Jackson | Stream Team: Hi guys! For my independent study project, I am teaming up with Riley Kinsella who is on the Stream Team with me. We decided that we wanted to do something with SD1 for our project and they had plenty of ideas for us! We are going to set up our own site for testing on Banklick Creek. Over the course of the summer, we will sample the macroinvertebrates in the water, and the water quality. We will identify the species of bugs we find, along with the plant and animal species around the site. After all this is completed, we will compare our results to other sites on Banklick. To collect the bug samples, we will use Hester-Dendy’s and fake substrates. Both of these will be placed in the deeper parts of the stream where we cannot use the nets. They provide habitats for the bugs so we can collect and identify them. A lot of our project incorporates what we do at work on a normal day, but we will be establishing the site ourselves and using different sampling methods. Also, with SD1 the samples collected are sent to a lab to have the species identified, but we will be doing the identification ourselves…wish us luck!
My name is Stacy Partin and this summer I am excited to be working as a member of the River Crew! We just started getting into doing our bioassessment work this week. We are comparing the fish we catch in hoop nets and gillnets in sites upstream and downstream of the Zimmer coal power plant. I have seen awesome organisms, including a soft shelled turtle and a four-foot-long gar.
Another component of being a TMC Biology Field Station intern is completing an independent research study on something of our interest. After quite the deliberation, I have decided to settle on a study of the diet of the mayfly under the guidance of Dr.Lazorchak from the EPA. I believe this topic is of importance because macroinvertebrates, such as mayflies, are continuously being used as model organisms in the field of toxicology. However, we actually don’t know too much about their physiology! I work under Dr.Buchwalter’s lab at NC State where we have seen how factors, such as diet and temperature, actually impacts other important things that toxicologists are interested in, such as bioaccumulation. For this study, I plan to have three test groups. The first will be the control, with mayflies that are fed their “normal” diet or diatoms. The two other test groups will be mayflies that are fed unicellular nontoxic cyanobacteria, and mayflies that are fed filamentous nontoxic cyanobacteria. I am hypothesizing that the filamentous and unicellular nontoxin producing cyanobacteria will inhibit the growth of mayflies because they either not as nutritious as mayflies normal diet or not able to be consumed.
This past semester, one of the labs for my biology course focused on morphology (the study of form) of stickleback fish. We used computer programs to map out and compare each fish to a computer generated ‘average Joe’ fish. I found the whole process and study of morphology to be quite interesting
At first, I figured I could do something very similar for my independent project. As I was looking for morphology research, I stumbled on some papers focusing on sexual dimorphism: morphological differences based on sex. I decided that for my independent project, I would explore sexual dimorphism in two species in the Ohio River: the emerald shiner and the longnose gar. I’m hoping to identify any external sexually dimorphic characteristics (such as overall size, the length of a fin, etc.) that will allow for accurate sex determination. Currently, in order to determine sex, the fish must be dissected. This is an invasive method that may not be optimal for field identification. Many fish species exhibit sexual dimorphism. Females are often larger than males unless there exists strong male-male competition. Sexually dimorphic characteristics in fish can serve as a noninvasive method to determine sex in the field or where dissection is to be avoided.
The first step is to gather a sample of hopefully 30 to 50 individuals for each species and take a handful of measurements including, length, mass, length and width of certain fins, and specifically for the gars: snout length and width. As a member of the River Crew, collecting a sample should be no problem. Then, I’ll dissect each fish to determine its sex and analyze the measurements knowing which sex each individual is. Hopefully, I’ll be able to identify an accurate external indicator of sex from this analysis!
My independent study project this summer is characterizing the algal community of the River and the mussel tank. I typically work in the labs with the mussels along with other aquatic animals, so I was very interested in the mussel’s diet and if the ones in the tank eat the same types as the ones in the River in their natural habitat. If some of the mussels in the wild are getting a different set of algae species than the ones in the tank, we need to try to supplement the missing species. By adding it to the mussels’ diets, we can mimic their natural environment and hopefully they will be happy!
In order to perform this experiment, I will collect water samples from both the mussel tank and the river, then condense the algae that are suspended in the sample, and place a drop or two on a microscope slide. When it is mounted on a microscope, I will try to identify what type of algae it is, whether it is blue-green, green, filamentous, colonial, etc. Hopefully, I will be able to collect two samples a week and identify what is in the water. If I can’t do it all in one week, I will preserve the samples for further studies. Once I have identified what is in each sample, I can compare the algae from both sites to see if these areas contain the same types and species of algae.
My independent study proposal is a comparison of precipitation’s effects on the water quality of streams of the Twelve Mile Creek Watershed. I will be testing the water quality of three different streams in the Twelve Mile Creek Watershed (Twelve Mile Creek, Brush Creek, and Flagg Spring Creek) before and after a large rainfall. This will yield data on not only how rainfall affects the streams’ water quality, but also how it affects both large and small streams. In terms of water quality, I will look at temperature, pH, dissolved oxygen, conductivity, turbidity, and bacteria, sulfide, and ammonia levels, and analyze how some parameters increase and some decrease, and why.
Even though I am a lab intern, I wanted to do this project to broaden my horizon in the field of ecology. By the end of the summer, all of the lab interns will become well-versed with certain fish, mussels, and fathead minnows, I also want to become more informed about water quality in our streams. I chose this topic not only to become more aware and knowledgeable with water quality, but also because it is important to study these streams. Not only do they provide some of our drinking water, they also host a large variety of aquatic organisms. Data will also be indicative of aquatic organisms’ behavior following rainfall as even small changes in water quality can have a large effect on them.
Hello! My name is Teresa Urban. I am a sophomore at Thomas More College perusing a degree in environmental science. In my free time, I love to take in the outdoors by hiking, kayaking with friends, or walking my dog. Most of my favorite movies were made in the ’80s and I like all types of music from alternative to country. My go-to snack is usually something wrapped in a tortilla. This summer, at the Thomas More College Biology Field Station, I am a member of the Ohio River Bioassesment Crew. I am so excited to be a part of the longest running research project conducted by the Field Station.
At Thomas More College, I am very involved in the on campus community. My freshman year I was a two-sport athlete balancing bowling and softball. I am also active in many clubs. I hold the Vice President position in Thomas More’s Blue and Green Club, which is our campus’ environmental advocacy club. I am also active in Biology Club and the Student Athletic Advisory Committee. One of my favorite jobs on campus is being on the Orientation Team. It is a great opportunity to interact with first year students and show them all of the endless clubs, activities, and internships they can be a part of at Thomas More.
This will be my second summer at the Thomas More College Biology Field Station. Last summer I was a workstudy intern and it helped me develop a lot of skills that helped me gain a research position this summer. Being an intern at the Field Station has changed my life. I have built friendships with so many different people as well as business connections for a future job. This summer I hope to gain even more skills related to boating and conducting research. I also hope I gain more confidence and independence in myself as a scientist and as a person. This summer will hopefully help me figure out what career path I want to take. Graduate school in the future is possible, but what I would love most is to have a job in conservation and sustainability. I want to travel to different countries and show people the importance of their environment and sustainability.
I have learned so much already and it’s only the first week! I can’t wait to see what this summer brings for me as well as the Thomas More College Biology Field Station. There is so much to be done here and I hope to leave a positive impact.
Hi! My name is Haley Jackson and I am a sophomore Environmental Science major at Thomas More College. I am from Winchester, Kentucky, home of Ale-8 and beer cheese. I enjoy traveling, hiking, playing with dogs, and eating Chipotle. My favorite movie is probably The Incredibles and my favorite book is Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer. This summer, I am interning with SD1 in the Environmental Academy. We have a few different jobs which include taking macroinvertebrate samples, water quality testing, and hydromodification, which is measuring the changes in the physical shape of the stream.
As for my future, I am still in the process of figuring out what I want to do. I am hoping to use my experiences and knowledge gained this summer to help decide between going into environmental science or genetic counseling. I’ve always enjoyed science and have known that I want to pursue a career in the scientific field. I hope to make new friends and experience new things this summer at the Field Station. I am so excited to begin this journey!
My name is Riley Kinsella and I am a senior at Thomas More College. I am majoring in biology with a focus on aquatic ecology. This will be my second year as an intern at the Thomas More College Biology Field Station. Last summer I worked as an intern on the “River Crew,” analyzing the biological and physiochemical parameters of the Ohio River, and this year I will be an intern on the “Stream Team,” working within the streams of Northern Kentucky in collaboration with Sanitation District 1.
In my free time I enjoy fishing, camping, boating, hiking, and spending time reading sci-fi and fantasy novels in my hammock. My favorite movies include The Lord of the Rings series as well as any of the Star Wars movies. My favorite meal is steak and potatoes with grilled peppers and onions. I have a diverse music interest but typically listen to alternative and indie rock. One of my favorite activities is attending music performances with my brother and dad.
My future career goals include working in field biology and possibly teaching at a college level one day. My main interests fall within aquatic biology, although I am also interested in entomology and herpetology. Throughout my childhood I loved playing in streams and lakes, and working at the Thomas More College Biology Field Station has allowed me to start my career path in this field science.
I hope to gain more experience in the field this year working with SD1 as I become more enlightened about macroinvertebrates and the way in which storm and wastewater can influence the structure of streams in the Northern Kentucky area. I am also extremely excited to be working with this year’s other interns and seeing what opportunities this summer will bring.
My name is Will Neltner. I am a senior biology major at Thomas More College on the pre-medical track, and I hope to attend medical school upon graduation from TMC. I grew up in the Northern Kentucky/Greater Cincinnati area and attended Covington Catholic High School. At Thomas More College, I am heavily involved in many clubs on campus, including Student Government Association, Biology Club, Pre-Health Professionals Society, BBB Biological Honors Society, and Campus Ministry among others. In addition, I am a member of the James Graham Brown Honors program. I have had the privilege of studying abroad in London, England and Dublin, Ireland, as well as attending a medical mission trip to Nicaragua over spring break of last year, both of which were transformative experiences that taught me a great deal and gave me a broader life perspective.
I currently work at Neltner Foothold Farms, where I have been employed since the seventh grade, aiding in various stages of the hay production process, as well as raising beef cattle and chickens and performing a variety of maintenance tasks. Most of my hobbies revolve around being active and the outdoors, as I enjoy playing and watching almost any sport, weight lifting, biking, swimming, hunting, fishing, kayaking, canoeing, etc. I also enjoy watching movies such as The Lord of the Rings trilogy, and I have a deep appreciation for a wide variety of musical genres and artists, from Brad Paisley and Zach Brown Band to Jon Bellion and Lil Dicky.
This summer I am working as a Laboratory Technician at the Thomas More College Biology Field Station. This is my second summer on the job, as I worked as a lab intern at the Field Station last summer as well. Working in the lab, my team and I perform a variety of tasks that largely revolve around the propagation of a broad array of aquatic life native to the region (such as freshwater mussels, fathead minnows, and long nose gar just to name a few), animal husbandry, water quality testing, wild fish acclimation, tank maintenance, and environmental education of visiting students. This year, I hope to further build on my foundation of knowledge of the ecology of the Ohio River that I began forming last year. In the future, I hope to bring my passion for aquatic ecology and environmental awareness to my profession in the healthcare field in order to promote more sustainable living practices. A healthy body starts with a healthy ecosystem!
My name is Jonathan Frommeyer and I am a sophomore biology major on the marine biology track at Thomas More College. I am in the biology club at the College, as well. I live with my parents, Michelle and Chad, and have a younger brother named Josh. I love all sports, whether its playing or watching. My favorite hobby is to spend time outside. Things like playing basketball, hiking, fishing, or swimming, any outdoor activity is something I like to do. My favorite movies are the Fast and Furious movie series. My favorite food is Mexican food. My summer position at the Thomas More Biology Field Station is as Environmental Educator and I am a work study student. My long-term career goals include going to graduate school and eventually working at an AZA (Association of Zoos & Aquariums) institution. My hope for the summer is to acquire great learning experiences that I can use to boost my resume and that help me secure internships in the future.
Hi! My name is Joe Rector and I am a senior at Hanover College in Hanover, Ind. I am a biology and geology double major. I’m from Aurora, Ind., and have two younger brothers and a younger sister. I am on the cross country, and track and field teams at Hanover. I enjoy fishing, playing the piano, kayaking, and biking in my free time. I can’t really say I have a specific favorite musical artist, but bands and artists like Cream, Guns N’ Roses, Jimi Hendrix, and Stevie Ray Vaughn are pretty good. Though I’m not exactly sure about what I want to do long term career wise, working in something ecology related, whether in research or with a consulting firm, would be very enjoyable.
This summer I am on the Ohio River Bioassessment team. Through this internship I hope to gain a new set of skills that I can use to help better myself both as a student and as a professional. The hands on practical scientific skills I will gain this summer are something that you can’t really get in a classroom, so I think this will be a very beneficial and fantastic experience. I’m also looking forward to the networking opportunities available through working with so many professionals from so many different fields! The independent research projects we are doing, in addition to our Field Station duties, will also add to the learning experience as we develop our own hypotheses and test them. I am very excited for this wonderful opportunity and hope it will be an amazing summer.
My name is Maryann Meadows and I am a junior biology major on the marine biology track at Thomas More College. I am a member of TMC’s Biology Club and Tri-Beta, I am also the secretary and treasurer of the Marine Biology Club. Outside of school, I work at the Newport Aquarium in the exhibits department and at BB Riverboats in the sales department. In addition to being an intern for Thomas More College, I am a summer intern with the WAVE Foundation working with STEM outreach programs that bring animals to schools, summer camps, daycares, and nursing homes. In my free time, I love to bake, and hammock.
This summer, I am part of the aquaculture and animal husbandry team, better known as the “Lab Team.” We take care of and monitor the fish, mussels, and other organisms that enter the lock house doors or nets. I hope to be able to make connections with the organizations that we work with, such as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, ORSANCO (Ohio River Valley Water Sanitation Commission), and SD1 (Sanitation District 1). I also want to gain field experience and lab skills.
My future goals include obtaining my doctorate degree in marine biology. I would love to work with coral reefs in research or with a rescue, rehabilitation, and release program for marine mammals.
Hey everyone, my name is Nathan Ramsey and I’m a fifth year senior at Thomas More College working towards an environmental science degree. This is my fourth summer as an intern at the Field Station. I am an environmental educator as well as a STEM mentor this year, but have assisted with the other crews in past summers. As an environmental educator, I take the responsibility of teaching field trips ranging from elementary to high school students. I am also returning as a STEM camp mentor, which is a week-long high school camp for students interested in science, technology, engineering, and math.
My interest in the environment developed at a very young age, fishing on the Ohio and the Licking Rivers. I want to make a change in the overall health of the waterways in the tri-state area.
May 30 | Tuesday
Hi, I’m Jocelyn! Most of my friends just call me by the first half of my name though (Joce or Joc depending on how you split it). I’m currently a junior at Amherst College up in Massachusetts, although I’m originally from Cleveland, Ohio. I’m a biology and statistics double major.
Some more information about me:
- I have a younger sister (Olivia) and a younger brother (Chase)
- My family currently has two dogs: a labradoodle (Buddy) and a Shorkie (Truffle).
- I play hockey at Amherst (#24).
- I’m a big New York Rangers fan!
- I also really enjoy singing and I’m a member of the Women’s Chorus at Amherst.
- My other hobbies include drawing, playing video games (Legend of Zelda and Skyrim are my favorites), getting food with friends, and watching my favorite sports teams.
- Favorite Movies: Star Wars (particularly Empire Strikes Back)
- Favorite TV Show: Game of Thrones
- Favorite Food: Any good burger
- Favorite Dessert: Ice Cream
- Favorite Song: currently anything by Josh Turner
This summer I’m a member of the River Bio-assessment Crew (the River Crew). This will be my first time doing any form of field research. I’m really fond of aquatic and marine organisms, particularly sharks, so I’m really excited to get a chance to work with the diverse array of fish species in the river. I’m also quite honored to be a part of such a long-term project that provides crucial information on the biological health of the Ohio River. On a lesser note, I’m also hoping I’ll be a decent boat driver by the end of the summer!
In the future, I plan to attend graduate school for marine biology and possibly get a doctorate. In an ideal world, I would be able to do field research (maybe off the Eastern coast), teach, and coach hockey at a small college. Most importantly though, I want to be able to have direct interactions with the organisms that I’m researching. Getting up close and personal with some pretty cool aquatic animals is really the biggest thing I want in life!
My name is Emilee Urichich and this coming school year I will be a junior biology major within the marine biology track at Thomas More College. I am involved in Biology Club, Tri-Beta, Marine Biology Club, and Blue-Green Club, as well as volunteer at WAVE at Newport Aquarium. I also play percussion in Thomas More College’s Marching Saints and sing in the choir. Besides playing instruments and singing, my hobbies include painting and drawing plants and animals. Growing up on a farm has allowed me to fall in love with the outdoors. In my free time, I hike, camp, boat and canoe all around Kentucky and Ohio.
This summer I am part of the “Lab Team” or Aquaculture Crew where I take care of many of the organisms, such as mussels, frogs, and fish at the Field Station. While at this internship, I hope I learn some of the skills necessary to help me in my career, such as toxicity tests and monitoring of aquaculture systems. My long term career goal is to become a marine biologist and help save the oceans. Hopefully I will be working with algae and coral reefs in areas where coral bleaching is becoming more prominent.
May 30 | Tuesday
My name is Morgan McNeely, and I am a sophomore biology major at Thomas More College. I grew up on a farm with my younger sister, Melanie, and love doing outdoor activities, some of which include fishing, hiking, and riding horses. I have played the piano since second grade, and I love country music. This summer, I am working as an environmental educator. So far, I have worked many field trips. Some of my duties include watching the kids at lunch, teaching them about the stops on our nature trail and about water chemistry with my friend, Grace, and helping them on the boats when we go on the river. When I am not working field trips, I work on keeping the lodge clean, and occasionally go out seining for feeder fish and searching for macroinvertebrates. Most recently, I have been working with the other environmental educators to design a trail brochure for our visitors. I am not yet sure what I want for my long-term career goals, but I have always felt a strong pull towards field research. I am hoping that this experience will help me to explore my options and get some experience. While I am here, I hope to develop friendships with my new coworkers, and learn how to drive a boat.
My name is Stacy Partin and I am a junior studying molecular biology at North Carolina State University. There, I am a part of the University Honors Program and am active in several sustainability organizations on campus, namely the NC State Stewards. I have also had the opportunity to work in three different labs in my time at NC State, ranging all the way from entomology and marine biology to toxicology. While I love my home state, I am very excited to be living somewhere other than North Carolina for the first time! Additionally, I enjoy listening to all types of music (particularly alternative rock), swimming, and long distance running.
This summer, I am joining the “River Crew” which is a group of interns doing bio-assessments of the Ohio River. This mostly consists of comparing fish from upstream and downstream sites caught with various nets. My hope for this experience is that I can simultaneously gain a better understanding of my research interests, develop skills, and foster new friendships.
May 28 | Sunday
Hi, my name is Laura Finke, and I am a senior at Thomas More College majoring in biology. I am on the pre-physical therapy track and hope to attend PT school next fall. In addition to being a biology major at Thomas More College, I am on the softball team. I’m also in the Honors Program and am involved with Student Government and the Biology Club. I love outdoors activities such as hiking, biking, and canoeing and love to play just about any sport.
I am a part of the Lab Team here at the Field Station working with many things such as aquaculture and animal husbandry just to name a couple. The Lab Team works with the fish, mussels, and minnows in the lab every day feeding them, keeping their tanks clean, and maintaining the condition in which they need to live. From this summer, I hope to gain a variety of knowledge and experience about different species found within the Ohio River to broaden my horizon about subjects that I won’t have much of an opportunity to study in the future. I hope that I can take the knowledge that I learn this summer into the health care field to provide information that not many are aware of.
Get to know Olivia Goessling, member of the River Crew:
I am a junior at Northern Kentucky University studying biology and environmental science. I run track at NKU. Besides running, my other hobbies include camping, fishing, hiking, hunting, and kayaking. My favorite movie is The Patriot. My top three favorite music artist are Garth Brooks, Johnny Cash, and Tim McGraw. I do not have a favorite food, but I do love trying new foods whenever I get the chance.
My childhood memories are based mainly on outdoor adventures. At a very young age, my dad taught my siblings and me to fish and to hunt deer. Hikes in the woods consisted of tree quizzes, while butchering deer entailed anatomy trivia. As an intern at the Field Station, I am excited to broaden my knowledge of the outdoors and gain a deeper appreciation for biodiversity. I am on the River Crew and will be participating primarily in fish sampling using three different methods: hoop nets, gill nets, and electrofishing. After finishing my undergraduate degree, I hope to attend graduate school and obtain a job as an ecologist.
May 26 | Friday
Hello! I’m Grace Kahmann and I am a sophomore at TMC double majoring in biology (marine bio track) and education. I am an outdoors enthusiast and love to swim. My role is Environmental Educator at the TMC Biology Field Station. It is my job, with the help of my fellow educators, to lead all of the field trips that come to the Field Station. Our goal for each field trip is to teach the students about the Ohio River and why it is so important that we study it. We want all of them to leave here with a newfound love for the River and a desire to protect it.
I personally teach the water chemistry course. In this course, we teach the students about the general geography of the river as well as show them how to do a ‘checkup’ on the river. I love to hear what they think about the health of the river and then be able to completely change their opinion with all of the positive data we have as well as the results from our own checkup. In the long term, I would like to get my master’s degree and pursue a career in marine biology. I would like to start out working in the field to gain a lot of knowledge of the subject and then eventually share my knowledge with others as a high school biology teacher. My hopes for this summer are to gain a lot of knowledge and experience that I can take with me and use throughout my career.
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