Ecology Major Provided Research Opportunities at Home and Abroad

Rachel Snyder

October 30, 2019

From studying red-eyed tree frogs in Panama to working with endangered species at the Memphis Zoo, our ecology program led Rachel Snyder '17 to a variety of opportunities both in and out of the country.

As a sophomore, Snyder went to Costa Rica to study the environment with four professors over spring break. She traveled there again as part of a workshop to study the relationship between leaf cutter ant activities, microbiology, biogeochemical cycling and ecosystem processes at La Selva Biological Station.

"Both the class and the workshop opportunity allowed me to gain more research experience and inspired me to pursue graduate studies in tropical ecology and amphibians," Snyder said.

While at Susquehanna, Snyder also did research on the effect of the invasive Japanese Knotweed on native species with David Matlaga, assistant professor of biology, along with several amphibian research projects with Tanya Matlaga, assistant professor of biology.

"Every professor was approachable, and whether it was for help with schoolwork or personal problems, their doors were always open if I needed to speak with them," Snyder said.

After graduation, Snyder spent a summer studying the hatching of red-eyed tree frogs in Panama and then moved to Memphis to study native species, such as the northern leopard frog, at the Memphis Zoo. She examined methods to help amphibians reproduce, which was particularly important for the endangered species she got the chance to work with.

Snyder now teaches undergraduate biology courses, is pursuing a master’s in biology and has joined the Watling Lab at John Carroll University in Ohio. She is considering applying to Ph.D. programs in the future and may pursue a career in academia.

She will head back to Costa Rica for field research in summer 2020 and says, “I am excited to be able to build upon my knowledge from my past research experiences for this project.”

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