Sam Silknetter ’14
Denver, Pa. | Cocalico High School
Clubs/activities: Men’s Rugby
Post-Graduation plans: Attend graduate school for either fisheries biology or another ecology-based major.
Favorite class: My favorite course would have to be Ecosystems. It was a small class, only eight students, so we were able to pile into a university van and go to field sites to see different representative ecosystems. On one trip, we were able to see firsthand the devastating effects of flooding following Tropical Storm Lee. It made an impression far greater than any textbook or lecture could ever have made.
The most exciting thing about studying biology at Susquehanna: We are about a half a mile from one of the oldest rivers in the U.S., and we have a faculty driven by personal research. These two things have made my education studying ecology at SU a dream come true.
Why did you choose to study ecology? My father is a field biologist specializing in reptile and amphibian studies. I loved working out in the field with him, but I also knew that I was as interested in the non-living environment as I was with the living parts. I decided on ecology because we study the living organisms as well as the geology, climate, and other earth processes that shape their way of life. It was a happy medium between biology and environmental science, and for me it has been the perfect fit.
Alex Zawacki ’13
Ridgewood, N.J. | Midland Park High School
Minors: Earth & Environmental Science
Clubs/Activities: The Crusader, Geoclub, Biology Club, SU Comic Book Club president, WomenSpeak
Post-graduation plans: Peace Corps, graduate school for paleontology
Favorite class: Ground Penetrating Radar. It's very field based, and we're always outside applying what we've learned in class. I'm working with the professor to write a scientific paper based on one of the projects we're running. It’s an incredible experience—getting to apply the classroom to the field.
The most exciting thing about studying ecology at Susquehanna: I would have to say definitely the field trips. We've gone fossil hunting for 400-million year old rocks, rowed kayaks out on lakes, and visited an abandoned town with a mine fire burning hundreds of feet below. They really bring the course to life!
Summer or independent research: This summer I'll be working on two separate research projects. By the end of the summer I'll have co-authored two scientific papers with one of my professors.
Also over winter break, a few members of GeoClub went on a five-day road trip /camping expedition as part of a one-credit class, which was formed just for the trip. We went fossil hunting at an incredible site in Ohio and visited a 400-mile cave system in eastern Kentucky. I did a lot of research into the fossils we collected, and learned a lot about the history of the area.