What's it Like to be a CORRE Intern? Let's Find Out!

What’s it Like to be a CORRE Intern? Let’s Find Out!


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, 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.


Writer’s Prompt: The Blue Mind

On June 14, Dr. Wallace J. Nichols was the featured speaker for the Marine Biology and Conservation Lecture Series sponsored by Thomas More College and WAVE Foundation. Dr. Nichols is the author of the book Blue Mind which explores the parallels between a healthy, happy mind and a relationship to nature, in his case to water in particular. The CORRE interns were prompted to give their take on this concept.

For more information on the Marine Biology and Conservation Lecture Series, visit thomasmore.edu/lectures


Haley holds her blue marble as she takes in the beach view in South Caroline.

June 30 | Friday – Haley Jackson | Stream Team

I feel like this prompt is completely appropriate as I am currently at the beach. I’ve been thinking a lot about the importance of “Blue Space” and how it really does have such a strong impact on our mind. We have been coming to the same beach here in South Carolina for 17 years and it really feels like a second home. I have so many wonderful memories playing in the ocean with my cousins and brothers, kayaking through the marsh, going crabbing, and my personal favorite, night walks on the beach. There is not another place I’ve found where I feel more at peace than walking along the water’s edge with no flashlights, no music, no distractions, just the sound of the water. The only thing that makes it better is when a giant loggerhead sea turtle starts making her way up the beach to lay her eggs. This week I’ve watched four! The peace I find watching these beautiful creatures and listening to the sound of the water is honestly indescribable. Nothing else matters when you are on the water. Life is peaceful and joyful, even if it’s just for a few minutes. Dr. Nichols names this concept the “Blue Mind” and I now believe it is a necessity to get my dose of Blue Space as frequently as possible.

I was worried that this summer wouldn’t feel like summer, being away from home living at the Field Station and working. I was worried I would end up just as stressed about things as I get during the school year. I was totally wrong. Living on the Ohio River and being able to wake up to that view every morning and have access to the water whenever I feel like walking to it has been such a blessing. It is so calming and has provided me with so many amazing memories already. I can’t wait to continue to make more memories on the water with the awesome people I’ve met so far!


Woolper Creek where Morgan spent many hours by the water.

June 30 | Friday – Morgan McNeely | Environmental Educator

I have always had a love for water; I know lots of people do. However, I never thought about why until Dr. Nichols’ asked us at his lecture at the Newport Aquarium. I grew up in Burlington, Ky., and Woolper Creek runs through my family’s property.  I cannot even begin to imagine the number of hours I have spent in that creek throughout my life, and I still like to go sit on its banks when I get the chance. There was always something very calming about being in the woods and watching the sun shine off the water. I loved to look for snakes, watch the ducks swim, fish, and slide around on the ice in the winter. I would take my friends to the creek when they came over because I wanted them to enjoy it as much as I did. We had many good times there. I associated the water with home, and it brings me comfort whenever I am around it.

Blue marble given to each attendee at Dr. J. Nichols lecture helps to view the world through a lens of blue.

Dr. Nichols proceeded to tell us that our love of water can be explained through neuroscience. I found it fascinating and enjoyed his talk about the science of emotion. Before his lecture, I had never heard the two talked about together. I always heard science was about facts not feeling. What people fail to realize is the psychology of emotion is science. Research shows that when people make memories on the water they become happier, and we become emotionally attached to it. This love and attachment drives successful conservation efforts to save our waterways. I am truly blessed to be able to work on the Ohio River this summer at the Thomas More College Biology Field Station. I am making new memories with new friends on the water, and as an Environmental Educator, I hope I am helping to instill a love of our water in the students that come to the Field Station. We can all live healthier lives when we have “Blue Mind” and enjoy the beauty of our natural world.


June 29 | Thursday – Joe Rector | River Crew

I think that Dr. Nichols’ Blue Mind concept is very relevant to people today. I think that many of us are spread so thin and stressed so much that we do not often take time to just appreciate what relaxation and the sense of comfort and home, that water provides us. We rush here and there and are pulled in every direction by the distractions of the modern world, but inside we have all those memories of peace and tranquility offered by water. We just don’t always tap into that because we’re stuck in a chaotic spin cycle and don’t always realize it’s there or that we can reawaken those sensations by going to the water.

Growing up along the Ohio River I have been around the water my whole life. I always blew it off though as dirty and disgusting and something to be avoided. I never really noticed until relatively recently what it means to me. There’s something to be said about the raw and untamed power that the river holds. Sometimes it is swollen and raging and angry, while other times it is calm and peaceful. Nonetheless it is always there, stoically and silently pressing on into the Mississippi. That in itself puts me in awe of the Ohio and humbles me.

I think that the water that means the most to me, my “Blue Space” is North Hogan Creek, a tributary of the Ohio River and a place of calm for me. I often went to the Creek and still go kayaking and fishing in its peaceful waters. The thick canopy of trees blanketing the tranquil murky waters sends all stresses away. The smell of the woods and the water in the speckled shade washes all worries downstream with the slow but steady current. When I think of a place of complete peace, that is the place I think of. I have so many memories of swimming and fishing and wasting away whole days on the water there; it will always have a special place in my mind.


Kayaking on Lake Cumberland.

June 29 | Thursday – Emilee Urichich | Lab Team

Emilee and her sister enjoying a sunset on the water.

I’ve grown up loving water so when I read Dr. Wallace J Nichols book The Blue Mind, I knew he felt the exact same way that I do when it comes to water. I’ve practically been raised in the water, despite living in landlocked Ohio. My parents call me a little mermaid because I would spend hours and hours in the water. I go swimming in pools, lakes, and rivers every opportunity I get. I go boating every summer with my family, and every once in a while I get to go to a Florida beach. Some of my favorite memories include my family going canoeing out on a small lake and casting our tiny little fishing poles into the water. We would sometimes take the canoe/kayak down a stream or river, and other times we would just go creekin’ for the adventure of it. I just can’t get enough of the blue

space! I remember when I was little, I would go to the bottom of the pool, look up at the surface, and just watch the light play across the water. I’ve even painted this image on canvas and hung it above my bed just so I can see it when I go to sleep.

Emilee, her siblings, and
cousins found a small light house on Lake Erie by Geneva on the Lake.

Recently, I found a letter I wrote in fifth grade telling my future self what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote that I wanted to be a marine biologist and save the oceans. I kept that letter because being a marine biologist was something I know I can do, and that pursuing that career would still fuel my love for water. Dr. Nichols’s book appeals to the emotions we all have that are connected to water, and through those emotions in the human brain, we can save our Blue Planet.


Lake on the Olivia’s family farm in Falmouth, Ky.

June 29 | Thursday – Olivia Goessling | River Crew

In 2005, my Mom and Dad bought a 100-acre property near Falmouth, Ky. We use this land for hunting, hiking, fishing, and swimming. It is an oasis for my family. My Dad once told me the three-acre lake found on the farm was a necessity for him to want to purchase the property. Dr. Nichols talked about how unique the Thomas More College Biology Field Station is due to the combination of Green Space and Blue Space. Those unique characteristics, both the Blue and Green Space found in and around the property, are what made me and my family fall in love with the landscape.

Olivia holding a catfish.

My memories of our farm do revolve around that lake. Dr. Nichols mentioned how being near, on, or in water could help with memories, and I believe that is true. With clarity, I am able to recall the time I spent with my Dad in the deer stand, overlooking the lake. I remember the grill outs we had on the dam. I remember the bonfires we had to clear the sides of the lake for trails. I remember the times my siblings and I ice skated during the coldest part of winter. I remember the times my Dad and I would go out on a row boat and fish for hours. I remember the hours we have spent out there swimming, rain or shine, hot or cold. I remember laughing and talking to friends in the green space of the farm, friends and family that are now in heaven.

While keeping my old, fond memories, my brain is currently saving new ones. On River Crew, we go out on the boats in the morning and in the evening. I try hard to make mental notes of how the water, sky, and trees look. I try to remember the conversations we have while out on the boats. I don’t want to miss a detail, because I want to remember it all. Having a Blue Mind and appreciating Blue Space, I feel as though I am called further towards studying aquatic ecology. I want to preserve the Blue Space so future generations can spend time in rivers, creeks, and lakes, just like I am currently doing.


Twelve Mile Creek, one of Riley’s favorite locations to take the boat out and go fishing.

June 29 | Thursday – Riley Kinsella | Stream Team

Dr. Nichols’ talk really hit home for me when talking about “blue space” and the positive impact water can have on the mind. Being a second year intern at the TMC Field Station, I have come to have a deep love for the Ohio River and the surrounding bodies of water within Northern Kentucky.

I’ve been around water all my life. Throughout my childhood I would play in creeks, catching whatever animals I could find. I would be ecstatic to hear from my parents that we were planning to go fishing at my grandparents’ or headed to Florida for a trip to the beach. There isn’t a bad memory I have when it comes to being close to the water.

Even now I find myself distracted driving across bridges, trying to get a glimpse of whatever river it is I’m crossing. There’s been many nights where I have time to waste and just drive along Route 8, or sit along the lock wall at the Field Station to take in all the “blue space” this area has to offer.

Dr. Nichols is correct to say that water has some sort of positive impact on an individual’s mind. For me it brings peace and comfort being near water. It serves as a place to relax, have fun, and be with friends. It also serves as an ideal location for me to collect my thoughts when the chaos of school and work becomes stressful.

I enjoy the Ohio River very much and hope others will see it as more than just a nuisance that one has to cross so they can get to work. If one really takes in the beauty of water they will come to realize it’s true value.


June 29 | Thursday – Laura Finke | Lab Team

A few weeks ago, we had the pleasure of hosting Dr. Nichols at the Field Station and attending his lecture at the Newport Aquarium where he shared and explained his concept knows as the Blue Mind. His concept challenges us to reflect upon our experiences that have made us fall in love with nature, but more specifically with water. He shared the story of his journey of the Blue Mind experience and challenged us to do the same. 

My Blue Mind experience starts with my father. Having grown up in Northern Kentucky my entire life, I have always been surrounded by the Ohio River and the beauty that encompasses it. While we never went boating on the River during my childhood, I grew up with stories my dad would tell us about canoeing with his family, white-water rafting, and just being out on the water. I could tell, with his of telling those stories, that he couldn’t wait until we were old enough for him to take us out himself.  He was a huge advocate of camping and every year, my entire family would camp out at East Fork Lake for a weekend. We would always spend a majority of our Saturday down by the lake and on the beach; I looked forward to that day every year. We also were able to go canoeing together and explored different waters of the Rocky Mountains.

His passion for nature and water, especially water recreation activities, has easily been passed on to me.  I have always had a love for water and being at the Field Station this summer has only increased that. While I have always felt an air of peace and calmness surrounding me when I am around water, that peace and happiness increases at the Field Station.Maybe its because of the fact that I am surrounded by not only the river, but by a vast array of nature as well or maybe it is because I love the work that I am doing there. Whatever the case may be, the river helps to make it feel like a home I never want to leave.

With my ever-growing love of water, I hope to not only spend as much of my remaining time here this summer taking full advantage of the river and all it has to offer, but to also continue to increase my experiences with different water bodies. I know that the awe and peacefulness that water brings can not only be inspiring, but thrilling, and the places that it can lead us are innumerable.


View of the Ohio River from the Lodge.

June 29 | Thursday – Teresa Urban | River Crew

After Dr. Nichols’ visit to the Field Station and talk at the Newport Aquarium, I began to think more about what water meant to me. I am intrigued by the concept Dr. Nichols proposed about your brain being connected to water. Suddenly, it all made sense to me, why I love the water and this world so much, life is connected by water. Not just in that scientific “all life needs water to exist” type of way but, in that emotional connection kind of way.

When I first think about water, I think about my childhood. I think about being on the beach with my mom and I am in a small baby-blue swimsuit with yellow daisies on it chasing the tide. I think about shrimp broils with my cousins and cookouts at my aunt’s pool. I think about my friend’s birthday party in New York when he and his dad swam all the way out to a buoy from the rocky shore in the cold ocean. I think about that character building moment when I passed the swim test at the local YMCA and I could finally swim in the deep end of the pool. The water makes me feel connected to the memories and the people that I’ve left behind but also the new faces I have yet to meet and the places I have yet to go. Dr. Nichols truly gave me a new appreciation for the water and its emotion value. Now every time I look at the water, I take a minute to take it all in. I feel it in my fingers, I splash around in it a bit, and I try my best to let the feeling and the moment find a resting place in my mind.

The most beautiful thing about living at the Thomas More College Biology Field Station is the Ohio River. This River and this place holds so much value in my heart and in my mind on this day and in the days to come. The River has not only given me an opportunity to figure out a future career path, it’s given me the opportunity to meet the most amazing people in my life. I have made countless memories on the Ohio’s banks and in its waters. From bonfires, to swimming, to boating, the least I could do is tell everyone how much it means to me. What I want most of all is to keep making memories by the water and in water. I imagine myself visiting the Station a lot in the future, long after the internship is over, and receiving my dose of Blue Space.


June 29 | Thursday – Jonathan Frommeyer | Environmental Educator

I have always loved water. Ever since I was little I loved the ocean and walking into it and having the waves run onto my legs. One of my first memories of the ocean was with my Uncle in Ocean City, Maryland. He carried my brother and I out on his shoulders past where we could walk and I can remember how awesome it was it be out that far. The ocean and water itself has always been calming to me. I also love to fish and swim not just in the ocean, but in rivers and streams too. I remember going to the Newport Aquarium when it first opened and being in awe of all the amazing creatures that live in the water. That moment is what inspired me to water to become a marine biologist and study those amazing creatures. I love all animals, but my love for the water and the animals that live in the water is much greater.

Blue Mind really spoke to me because it allowed me to imagine and feel like a little kid again just closing my eyes and picturing going back to the fantastic, vivid memories of my childhood. I have always been able to relax better in the water and knowing that it is my calling and my happy place. I want to be able to study and learn everything that the water provides us not just for recreation and biology, but all aspects of it. Learning about the great unknown of the deep oceans is amazing that there is so much water and ocean on the planet, but we know almost nothing that is down there. Having these thoughts and memories be so strong from one thing that is so vast and inspiring is what Dr. Nichols’ Blue Mind speaks about. The water is the best place to do anything, just being near it relaxes people. He used the example of beach front property and how just being by the beach makes things more expensive, but that investment proves that it relaxes the mind and the body better than someone who is not right on the beach. He brings in the psychological and biological parts of water to show its magnificence and the effect it has on humans.


Grace enjoying every minute on the water – in Scotland!

June 28 | Wednesday – Grace Kahmann | Environmental Educator

For as long as I can remember, the water has always been my favorite place. My mom was a swim lesson instructor and was teaching me to swim before I could even walk. My family and I take an annual trip to St. Andrew’s in Panama City, which is where I fell in love with the ocean. I swam competitively for 10 years, on three different swim teams. I swam in a summer league, for my high school, and for a club team. There was a time I spent more time in the water than on land.

Unfortunately, Thomas More College doesn’t have a swim team, so high school marked the end of my competitive career, however, not my obsession with water. TMC offers a course that no other school in the area does: marine biology. Though it is only a track within biological sciences, there are still so many wonderful opportunities that are offered related to marine bio.

The College sponsors a Marine Bio Lecture Series, in which world renowned marine biologists come and give a presentation about their work. It was through the lecture series that I got an internship position at the Newport Aquarium. The most recent lecture featured Dr. Wallace J. Nichols as the speaker. He has performed research all over the world and has done remarkable work with sea turtles, but the turtles aren’t what really intrigued me in his presentation. He talked a lot about the mind and the psychology of water; how water makes us happy. As a person who has spent a lot of time in the water I can agree with that 100 percent. Water makes me so happy. ‘The Blue Mind’ (also the name of his book) is this concept or even more so, a mindset. With this mindset, just looking at water or even a picture of water can ‘detox our digital enslavement.’ He believes that scientific evidence is there to back it up. His talk just made a lot of sense to me, I never realized that there might be more to my water obsession than I thought.

Living at the Field Station, I am right there on the water. Every morning I wake up to this fantastic view of the river; pictures just don’t do it justice. I am so lucky to have this opportunity and I just hope that everyone can find their own path to the water because it is so worth it. “You need water. And water needs you now. I wish you water.”


June 26 | Monday – Stacy Partin | River Crew

A river access near Stacy’s home near New Bern in North Carolina.

Stacy on the beach in North Carolina.

I grew up on the coast of North Carolina only 40 minutes away from the beach (if you have the right driver). I lived in a small township right outside of New Bern, and can remember walking down to the river access as soon as I was old enough to go by myself. I began spending a lot of time there in my adolescence, wading by myself in waters just high enough that I wouldn’t be disobeying my parents’ “no swimming” rule. I began to share this treasure with my friends, and it quickly became the hangout of choice. After my first heartbreak, my father let me skip school and sat with me by the water to remind me that the world carries on. When I got a little older, and we began to have access to cars and jobs to pay for gas money, every once in awhile my friends and I would sneak out to the Atlantic Beach Circle to enjoy the company of other young adults by playing cornhole and singing karaoke. (Sorry, Mom and Dad!) For the most part though, my best memories include running along the shorelines with my best friend, or simply watching the moon glisten on top of the vast ocean from the view of a lifeguard tower.

Hanging out in a hammock under the dock with friends.

In addition to being a source of recreation for me and my friends, it seemed to be one of the sole things that would provide peace for me in a time where I felt very confused about life. How would I cope with being away from home in a big city? How do I choose a major? How do I know what career path is right for me? For whatever reason, the water was always able to center me and remind me it was okay not to have all of the answers. Hearing Dr. Nichols put a name to this feeling, “the blue mind,” and also put a name to its evil cousin, “the red mind,” was almost laughable to me because it was just too true. Besides water, there are other sources of peace to tame the “red mind” including music, meditation, green space, etc. The importance of preserving of these spaces cannot be understated. When scientists and conservationists are trying to persuade the general public to act in a way that is more sustainable, they typically appeal to the resources our ecosystem provides us. While this tactic is certainly valid and useful, I think we should all be more mindful to include the fact that these precious resources also make our experience here on earth more enjoyable. Being near the water compels me to think beyond myself, find my place in the world, and serve others. Hearing Dr. Nichols speak on his blue mind concept has reaffirmed my goal to protect it.


June 23 | Friday – Jocelyn Hunyadi | River Crew

Jocelyn (second from right) and other interns attend Dr. Wallace J. Nichols presentation called Blue Mind as part of the Marine Biology Lecture and Conservation series sponsored by TMC and WAVE Foundation.

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.


Writer’s Prompt: discuss the Independent Research Project you will work on through the summer months


June 11 | Sunday – Olivia Goessling | River Crew

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.


June 11 | Sunday – Will Neltner | Lab Team

Blue Catfish

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.

Channel Catfish

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.


June 11 | Sunday – Maryann Meadows | Lab Team

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.


June 11 | Sunday – Jonathan Frommeyer | Environmental Educator

Jonathan and Andrew Seiler will work to determine what species of arboreal ants populate the banks around the Field Station.

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.


June 11 | Sunday – Joe Rector | River Crew

Zebra mussels are an invasive species that first appeared in the Great Lakes region in the late ’80s.

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.

Joe’s Independent Study includes testing the colonization rate of zebra mussels.

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!


June 10 | Saturday – Teresa Urban | River Crew

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 are 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!


June 10 | Saturday – Grace Kahmann | Environmental Instructor and Morgan McNeely | Environmental Educator

Luna Moth that visited Grace’s porch several evenings in a row.

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.

Example of the lamp used to collect insects attracted to the bulb.

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.

Morgan McNeely | Environmental Educator: This summer I am performing an Independent Study with my friend, Grace (Kahmann – fellow Environmental Educator), to test insect attraction to different types of light. After sitting out on the porch of the Field Station Lodge at night and observing a variety of insects, it became the inspiration for our proposal. The goal is to determine which type of light attracts the most insects and if different species of insects prefer different types of light. Scientists believe that insects use light for navigation. They mistake artificial light for the natural light of the moon, and this confusion causes them to circle around our light bulbs. We will design a bug trap with a lamp attached, and each night we will use a different type of light in the lamp. Each bulb will be tested three times; we will be testing LED, halogen, yellow bug light, incandescent, and compact fluorescent lights. Each trap will be set for the same amount of time, and after each night, we will count and record the number of each species of insect trapped.


June 10 | Saturday – Riley Kinsella | Stream Team and Haley Jackson | Stream Team

One way that macroinvertebrates are obtained for data analysis is through using a net to stir up sediment and then sweep for any potential aquatic species that may be present.

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!


Four-foot-long gar found during River Crew bioassessment duties.

June 8 | Thursday – Stacy Partin | River Crew

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.

Stacy with the soft-shell turtle found upstream of the Zimmer coal power plant.

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.


June 8 | Thursday – Jocelyn Hunyadi | River Crew

Jocelyn holds a longnose gar, one species of fish she will study for her independent project.

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.

Illustration of an emerald shiner

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!


 June 8 | Thursday – Emilee Urichich | Lab Team

Several species of mussels that are found in the Ohio River and studied at the Field Station. Emilee will specifically research their algae diet.

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.


 June 7 | Wednesday – Laura Finke | Lab Team

Map of the Twelve Mile Creek Watershed.

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.


Writer’s Prompt: Tell us a little about yourself and what you hope to accomplish with this internship.


 June 7 | Wednesday

Hello! My name is Teresa Urban. I am a sophomore at Thomas More College pursuing 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.


 June 5 | Monday

Haley interning with SD1 in the Environmental Academy at the Field Station.

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!




 June 4 | Sunday

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.


 June 2 | Friday

Will Neltner enjoys participating in a variety of outdoor activities.

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.

In the lab at the Field Station.

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!


 June 2 | Friday

Jonathan performing his role as Environmental Educator during one of the many field trips at the BFS.

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.


June 1 | Thursday

Joe displays one of the fish found in the Ohio River during his duties as a member of the Bioassessment Crew.

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.


 May 31 | Wednesday

In addition to interning at the Field Station, Maryann works at the Newport Aquarium and is an intern for the WAVE Foundation.

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.





 May 31 | Wednesday

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.


Jocelyn and other members of the River Crew, out for a spin!

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!



 May 30 | Tuesday

Emily feeds squid to a sea turtle while volunteering with WAVE Foundation.

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.



Morgan assisting with a field trip at the Station.

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.


 May 30 | Tuesday

The River Crew, including Stacy, head out on the water.

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.


Lab Team hard at work keeping the fish, mussels, and minnows happy in their tanks.

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.



 May 27 | Saturday

Olivia Goessling shows off her fishing skills.

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.




Grace helps a student identify macro invertebrates.

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.

Grace teaches a group of high school students from Lloyd Memorial High School how to test the secci depth of the river.

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.