Grad student fellows and undergrad assistants

Graduate Student Fellows

Anya Hinkle
Anya Hinkle
Grad Student, UC Berkeley, Department of Integrative Biology; Bachelor’s degree from Earlham College (Biology)

“I worked as an environmental educator in Wyoming and Utah before coming to Berkeley in 1997, where I am currently pursuing my doctorate in botany. For my dissertation research I am studying Cordyline fruticosa, the ti plant, an aboriginal introduction to Polynesia. With genetic and other data, my research addresses archaeological questions of human colonization of the Pacific.”

Anna Larsen
Anna Larsen
Grad student, UC Berkeley, Department of Integrative Biology

“I am interested in the way that plants can help scientists reconstruct patterns of human colonization. In my research, I use genetic and morphological variation in the Candlenut tree to show how the populations of this plant on different islands in the Pacific are related to each other. Since the Candlenut tree was spread through the Pacific Islands by people when they settled the region, this also represents the pattern of human settlement. When I’m not doing my research, I like to go rock climbing, botanizing and I like to borrow my friends’ dogs and take them for walks.”

Pete Oboyski
Pete Oboyski
Grad Student, UC Berkeley, Department of Environmental Science, Policy and Management, Division of Insect Biology

“My area of specialization is entomology. For my dissertation I am studying the evolution of a group of Hawaiian moths, research that I hope will contribute to our understanding of speciation and evolution on remote islands as well as being useful in developing better ways to manage Hawaiian forests for native species. One of my goals for my work with the GK–12 project is helping high school students to learn how science is conducted and what it can tell us (or not tell us). I also hope that I can help foster an appreciation for biological diversity: it is often difficult to appreciate that even mosquitoes, cockroaches, and stinging wasps are important members of the ecosystem.”

Emily DuVal
Emily DuVal
Grad Student, UC Berkeley, Department of Integrative Biology; Bachelor’s degree from Rice University (Biology and Sociology)

“I am constantly impressed by the plants and animals I see around me, both during my field work in Panama and in my own backyard. My goal in teaching is to share some of this enthusiasm for nature with my students and give them the tools they need to ask, and answer, their own questions about the biological world all around them. My area of research is social behavior of animals and I am especially interested in what makes cooperative societies work. My dissertation is a study of the mating system of a small tropical bird, the Lance-tailed Manakin. These birds are unusual because instead of fighting over females, males must cooperate with each other, ‘dancing’ in teams, to attract mates.”

Sean Schoville
Sean Schoville
Grad Student, UC Berkeley, Department of Environmental Science Policy and Management; Bachelors degrees from UC Berkeley (English and Integrative Biology)

I study the evolutionary biology of animals, with my research focused on how the environment influences the formation of new biological species. As a biologist, I have been able to travel and enjoy the beauty of many remote natural landscapes, and I find great enjoyment in sharing these experiences and engaging people in understanding the complex life that surrounds them. I hope to continue exploring, studying, and teaching the wonders of our natural world.

Joe Spagna
Joe Spagna
Grad Student, UC Berkeley, Department of Environmental Science, Policy and Management, Division of Insect Biology; Bachelor’s degree from Claremont McKenna College (Biology and Philosophy)

“My field of study is the evolution of mechanical systems of arthropods—how they run, how they catch prey, etc, and to develop and test hypotheses about how these features evolved. I am particularly interested in spiders and insects, and how they have become so successful in terrestrial environments. To study this, there are two main things I do: the first is to establish the pattern of relatedness for the animals, called their phylogeny, or ‘evolutionary tree,’ using their genetics and morphology. Then, I study their biological characteristics to better understand the processes that may have led to the phylogenetic pattern. When not researching and teaching about bugs, I like to play with my family, watch sports, cook, make bad jokes, and read.”

Undergraduate Assistants

Susan Kim
Susan Kim
Undergrad student, UC Berkeley, Department of Integrative Biology. Future plans: Medicine

“Biology excites me! Studying cadavers in human anatomy lab, examining cancerous lymph node tissue at the microscopic level, scraping rocks for barnacles and algae, and peeling sunflowers to catch larvae are a few ways in which I enjoy biology. Given that there are several different, and equally valid ways to love biology, helping high school students learn biology is easy and fun. Marine ecology and human disease are two of my favorite fields of study. Although seemingly different, both fields will help me in my career as a physician. After all, the human body is in itself an ecosystem.”

Tina
Tina
Undergrad student, UC Berkeley, Department of Integrative Biology. Future plans:

Tina describes herself as “a graduating senior in the department of Integrative Biology at UC Berkeley. When I am not studying, I am most often found snowboarding, hiking, playing soccer, playing guitar, or general merry-making. Upon graduation, my immediate interest is to travel far, far away. In the long-run, I would like to work in the field of natural history filmmaking. Working with the GK-12 Richmond project has been a great experience.”

 
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