Undergraduate students

Ryen Nielsen

Ryen is a junior at the University of Wyoming where he is pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Wildlife Biology alongside a minor in Creative Writing. Ryen’s interests lie in a variety of areas, but he is most interested in entomology. He became interested in entomology when he was offered the opportunity to spend a summer traveling throughout the Intermountain West searching for fireflies. This research culminated in a poster that was presented at the 2021 Entomological Society of America meeting that displayed a model predicting the distribution of fireflies in the region. He was awarded second place in the undergraduate Systematics, Evolution, and Biodiversity section for his efforts. Ryen is most interested in pursuing a career where he can meld his passions of conservation education and entomology, so he can teach people just how neat arthropods truly are. When he’s not in the lab or the field, Ryen can be found reading classic literature in coffee shops, or hiking in the woods where he can be seen collecting weird rocks, sticks, or bones.

Ryen leads the Behavioral Complexity Lab’s jumping spider behavior ecology project. He will be studying populations of Salticus and Habronattus jumping spiders around Wyoming. In the lab, he will leading studies on life-history trait variation, crypsis, and response to predation risk.

Ryen’s Twitter feed.

Bernadette Aguirre

Bernadette is currently in the first semester of her senior year as a zoology major at University of Wyoming. Previously, she has conducted fieldwork for an extensive small mammal project and conducted some lab work for random projects here and there. In Fall 2021, she was instrumental in helping annotate audio transcriptions for two projects on red-capped manakins (Ceratopipra mentalis) from Panama. She is currently helping with additional video/audio transcriptions for our Hawaii VINE Project and a field-based acoustic playback experiment conducted on the Galapagos. Bernadette took two years off from school to join the military as a flight medic in the Air National Guard (aka Air Guard). Bernadette claims that she joined just because she wanted to wear a cool flight suit (even though, in her words, they aren’t that comfortable). Bernadette is excited to continue working in this lab, as it’s her first time truly back since taking a break and since COVID hit!

Angela Zhu

Angela working in the lab to gain more skills with data processing using R. She is working on processing corticosterone assay data from Thamnophilus atrinucha collected at the Panama PLUMAS sites. Her monumental effort is helping push this project forward! Angela will be in charge of quality control of the dataset and merging the data with capture records. The analysis will take place in Summer 2022.

Nar Trippel

Nar is a student in the Wyoming Research Scholars Program who is interesting in quantifying extreme (and Black Swan) events in natural systems. She will be taking entropy-based approaches to understand environmental predictability for different bird species. This work will integrate large datasets on stress hormones, breeding phenology, and species distributions.

Makayla Loveland

Makayla spends most of her time working as a student mentor for Zoology & Physiology undergraduates in the Cowboy Coach program. In the lab, she is running the Bird-Window Collision Project, for which she has recruited nearly 50 volunteers for campus-wide mortality surveys.