Ben McKenzie is a graduate student working towards an M.S in Wildlife Science. Ben earned his B.S in Ecology and Biodiversity from The University of the South in Sewanee, TN. Past research includes geospatial analysis of salamander distributions in the Cumberland Plateau region of Tennessee, the effects of land use on salamander abundance and geospatial analysis of the degradation of vernal pool networks on the Cumberland Plateau. Ben is currently working to model the potential role of shipping in the spread of Aedes mosquitos in the gulf coast region of the US.
Katie Izenour is a PhD student. After earning her MPH in Epidemiology from Tulane University, she has spent almost 10 years working as a consultant for the government supporting the US Navy, US Air Force and Centers for Disease control and Prevention. Most recently she was an analyst at the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) in Washington DC conducing analysis of on routinely collected data for Male Circumcision as well as for adolescent girls and young women. She supported the countries of Haiti and Tanzania during her time at PEPFAR. Katie’s passion has always been animals; feeing unsatisfied with her desk job, she took a leave of absence in 2016 to spend a total of three months volunteering at an animal shelter in Cairo, Egypt and at a wildlife sanctuary in Agra, India. It was during this trip that she decided it was time for a career change and time to get out from behind her desk. She was deeply touched by the Sloth Bears that are in the sanctuary in India, they all have a heartbreaking story of human captivity and have all contracted Tuberculosis. The lack of information and knowledge about TB in the bears, particularly if it can be transmitted back to humans was very interesting to Katie given her background in Epidemiology, she started her PhD in the Department of Pathobiology at the Auburn University College of Veterinary Medicine in summer of 2018.
Jocelyn Lindner is a graduate student working towards an M.S. in Zoology from the University of Otago, New Zealand. She completed her undergraduate studies at the University of Hawaii at Manoa where she graduated in Natural Resource and Environmental Management, specializing in Wildlife Management. Part way through, she studied Rainforest Management abroad with the School for Field Studies to the North Island of New Zealand and Queensland, Australia. She was also an intern for the Hawaiian Institute for Marine Biology shark lab, the Marine Mammal Research Program and a volunteer at the Honolulu Zoo elephant section. She then returned to New Zealand and graduated with a Postgraduate Diploma in Wildlife Management from the University of Otago. Now, she is a member of the Evolutionary and Ecological Parasitology research group with supervision from Professor Robert Poulin. Her thesis aims to determine the diversity and abundance of parasites in Eulemur macaco, the black lemur. This entails collecting fecal samples from three locations in Madagascar, and using microscopy and sequencing to compare parasites between individuals, groups, and environments. “I am very fortunate to have Sarah Zohdy as my co-supervisor and to be included as a member of the Disease Ecology and Evolution in the Tropics lab.”
Shelby Zikeli is a graduate student working on an M.S in Wildlife Science and hopes to continue at Auburn for a PhD. She received her B.S in Science from California University of Pennsylvania. Past research includes; studying the presence of Toxoplasma gondii in Madagascar’s small rodents as well as aiding in a long -term study of the relationships between native and invasive species in Ronamafana National Park, Madagascar. She is currently working on small mammal research relating to Lyme disease and the abundance and distribution of its small-mammal host species in Alabama.
Shakara McGirt is a senior majoring in Wildlife with a Pre-Vet concentration. With already having her Associates degree in Biology, she plans to keep building on to her degrees by getting her Master’s degree by studying infectious diseases in primates. Then she plans on going to veterinarian school to become a rehabilitation veterinarian or zoo veterinarian. In her free time she loves to fish and go on nature walks with her dog.
Cullen Anderson is a Wildlife Ecology and Management student. He is an outdoorsy dude and loves just sitting out in the woods for hours, hiking, and generally enjoying nature. He is interested in predator ecology in general, but specifically carnivore genetics in Madagascar. He is also interested in the genetic identity of the mysterious Malagasy black forest cat known as the fitoaty.
Kirsten Rice is an undergraduate in the school of Forestry and Wildlife here at Auburn. Her major is wildlife science pre-vet. She has always had an interest in working and interacting with wildlife, especially elephants. Currently, she is working on a project dealing with the interactions and disease transmission between humans an elephants along with helping out in the lab with Dr. Zohdy’s projects. She loves working with animals and hopes to one day travel to different countries working on progressing elephant conservation and care.
Jordan Broadhead is a junior in Wildlife Sciences Pre-Vet and is currently Vice President of the Wildlife Society and a School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences Student Ambassador. After graduation he would like to attend vet school and pursue a career in zoonotic disease research. His current research interest is rodent-eating snakes and their impact on disease reservoir populations in the eastern rain forests of Madagascar. In his free time he enjoys caring for his eleven snakes and two aquariums, working out, and spending time outdoors.
Seth Rankins is working on his B. S. in Wildlife Ecology and Management. His current research project focuses on the detection of Ehrlichia spp. and Anaplasma spp. in in white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus). Additionally, he is interested in identifying what morphological characteristics influence an individual deer’s susceptibility to infection by the previously mentioned bacteria.
Janet Roberts studies Natural Resources Management with a minor in Natural Resources Ecology. As part of the Disease Ecology Lab, she will be examining lemur dietary health. She has been in love with these primates for years and hopes to one day apply her experience in research to a classroom environment where she can teach young people the importance of science and lemurs together!