Where Are They Now?

Our FBQ Students have gone on to promising graduate and Professional careers. They are doctors, teachers, research scientists, and government workers, among many other things.

Here are some of them:

Genevieve Erwin

Genevieve and the Limpets The lessons I learned on the FBQ have been incredibly valuable and transferable to my current work in computational evolutionary genetics. I am now a member of Katie Pollard's lab at UCSF, working towards a PhD in Bioinformatics; my career goal is to become a professor, researching and teaching evolution and genetics. Even though my current research is very different from the research topics covered in the FBQ, the experience helped form a solid foundation for an understanding of day-to-day real science that is applicable in any research setting.

Genevieve Erwin is now a graduate student at UC San Francisco


Britny Calsbeek

Britny Calsbeek In addition to shaping my future career path, the FBQ informed my current research goals of studying how variation is maintained in natural populations. As a PhD student at the University of Vermont, I am now studying how color variation is maintained in wall lizards in the French Pyrenees Mountains. The diversity I observed rainforest toads in Ecuador as well as the outstanding diversity I observed in the rainforest in general motivated my decision to explore the evolution and maintenance of color variation in the wild and to pursue a career in evolutionary biology.

Britny Calsbeek is now PhD candidate at the University of Vermont


Robert Walsh

Robert Walsh Currently, I am in my first year of graduate school at UC Davis. I secured admission into the competitive Graduate Group in Ecology because of the Field Biology Quarter. Not only was the experience valuable in and of itself, but it inspired me to get more involved in research during the remainder of my stay at UCLA. I most likely would not have done any research with faculty were it not for the FBQ because I was simply unaware of the rewarding possibilities. Furthermore, the FBQ was a great way to get to know professors and graduate students that supported me through the process of applying to graduate school.

Robert Walsh is now a PhD candidate at UC Davis


Matthew Holte

I am now a middle - school science teacher in Southern California. The FBQ changed the way that I thought about science so much, that I don't think I would be a science teacher now if it had not been for my participation in the program. I now try to help change the way that my students look at science (as an active process of investigation instead of a passive one) so that they too can see how it affects their daily lives. Each year I begin by talking about what I've done in my life so that my students get an idea of who I am. And each year I spend time telling my students about my experience in Nicaragua. I explain that things that are difficult are often the most rewarding experiences that they will have and they will remember them forever. I encourage them to try their hardest, even if they feel they won't succeed because, in the end, it will be worth it.

Matthew Holte teaches middle school science


Jaime Winternitz

Jaime Winternitz I was collecting monarch butterflies in the mountains of Mexico this past week for a chapter of my Ph.D. dissertation and the field conditions reminded me of my past EEB Field Biology Quarter. Maybe it was because I was working in another Latin American country again wishing I knew Spanish, or maybe it was because of the heart - stopping beauty of the remote field sites, but I starting thinking of the required field component of my undergrad major. It has now been over three years since the field ecology class trip to Tiputini, Ecuador, and I still can remember the experience vividly...the course prepared me for the trials and excitement of field research, and made me realize that the fun of research comes from the spontaneity and complexity of nature. The field biology quarter cemented my commitment to ecological research by allowing me the opportunity to test - drive the life of a field researcher. For that I am forever grateful

Jaime Wintnernitz is currently a PhD Candidate at The University of Georgia, Athens - she celebrated a birthday during her FBQ trip


Zoe Donaldson

Zoe Donaldson When I eventually applied to graduate school, I was confident in my decision to enter science and in my intellectual abilities as a scientist in large part because of the independence fostered by the field biology professors. In 2003, I received the prestigious Howard Hughes Predoctoral Fellowship to support my graduate work, and I have no doubt that my field experience made me a much stronger candidate for this award. I continue to draw on many of the lessons I learned from Dr Martin Cody and Dr Greg Grether, even though my thesis work is in a different field

Zoe Donaldson is now a PhD candidate in the Neuroscience Program at Emory University


Dr. Cory Unruh

Dr. Cory Unruh I unearthed my FBQ notebook/journal thought I would share a few snippets of my experiences in the jungle... "I was talking to Greg [Grether] about my project and he told me that he thinks I should go to grad school. Actually, he said that he thinks I have a curiosity and passion for the work and that I need to discover for myself what it is that I want to do. Wow! None of my professors have ever told me anything like that before. Maybe I am meant to do this kind of work." ... Had I not participated in the Field Biology Quarter, I am quite sure that I would not be the scientist I am today. After graduation, I worked as a field assistant on an animal behavior project in New Mexico. The following fall, I entered the graduate program at UC Davis where I recently completed my PhD in Entomology. FBQ was the beginning of my career in the field and I am certain that my experience there contributed to my successes in graduate school

Dr. Cory Unruh recently graduated from UC Davis


David Castanon

This course was the highlight of my undergraduate education and resoundingly confirmed my chosen field of study and subsequent career. Over the years I recruited subsequent graduates of this program to the great benefit of my organization.

David Castanon is now Chief of the Regulatory Division, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Los Angeles District


Susan Garity

Susan Garity [FBQ] has not only allowed me to obtain my dream job, but it is also a continue testament to my success in the field. I now work with a collection of over 76 species of animals, including canids, felids, primates, raptors, rodents and reptiles. As a manager I am in charge of not only the all staff biologist/educators but also of all aspects of the animals' care. I provide veterinary care, restraint, training and handling through operant condition, diet preparation, enclosure maintenance and quality behavioral enrichment.

Susan Garity is wildlife biologist and manager for The Animal Guys, a wildlife education company in Sylmar, California

Hemesh Patel

Hemesh PatelFBQ really was a blast and I look back fondly on my memories from the outback. After graduating UCLA, I did a masters at georgetown in physiology, then I worked as a lecturer at UCI, and this year I finished medical school at western university of health sciences, and have started my residency in family medicine at UCI

Hemesh Patel is a resident at UC Irvine

Claire Zugmeyer

Claire ZugmeyerWhen I am questioned about my education at UCLA, my FBQ experience is always at the top of my list...Participating in FBQ was excellent preparation for the challenges I would face in graduate school. I have recently obtained my masters degree in wildlife biology at the University of Arizona...I am now working for the Sonoran Insitute, a Tucson based conservation non-profit. I am part of a team working on a large conservation effort of the Santa Cruz River. Our work includes ecological monitoring, restoration, and policy work on a regional and binational scale. I am really pleased to be able to apply skills I learned while participating in FBQ and graduate school to local conservation issues.

Claire Zugmeyer is a conservation biologist with the Sonoran Institute