REU: Kate Merrick  
 
 

 

I was born in central New York state, where I was surrounded by forests and old fields for just enough of my impressionable young years to develop a lasting enchantment with running around outside exploring the nature of living things all around me. At the age of five I headed west on my first big adventure, which eventually landed me and my family in southern California, and may have inspired my lifelong wanderlust. With this as my beginning, it’s hardly surprising that I’m drawn to field ecology.
I graduated from high school in Escondido, California in 1999, and spent parts of the next year camping around California, sailing on a tall ship to Panama, and studying Spanish in Costa Rica…in between working various minimum wage jobs. In the fall of 2000 I moved to Ohio and entered Oberlin College, where I would eventually become a Biology major with a minor in Environmental Studies. In between my academic commitments I dabbled in various environmentally-minded student organizations and tutored children in the local elementary school. I spent my summers at a residential summer camp in the Adirondacks of New York, where I worked on the high ropes course, taught other activities around camp, and led hiking trips into the mountains.
In the spring of 2003 I ran off to Puerto Rico, where I established and then filled an internship in Fisheries Biology at the UPR-Mayagüez Marine Sciences Department, located on Isla Magueyes off the fishing village of La Parguera on Puerto Rico’s western south coast. I lived with a thousand-odd Cuban iguanas (rumor has it that the second toe from my left foot now resides in one of their bellies) on the little campus island for three months, and house-sat in La Parguera for another two, while I lived out my long-standing fanatasy of learning to scuba dive and exploring a new world of biological curiosities underwater.
After returning to Ohio the next fall, I completed my senior year of college and graduated from Oberlin in May, 2004. Before long I headed west once again, this time for an REU internship at the University of California’s White Mountain Research Station in Bishop, on the east side of the Sierra Nevadas. The summer has been full of field trips to the lovely Humphreys Basin to study the (less lovely) wolf spiders that inhabit alpine lakeshores. I never knew a summer could fly by so quickly.

About Us Science Fridays Staff Corie Cann: Bio Research Project References