My name is Eric Becker and I’ll be a senior at the University of Kansas. I’m currently studying organismal biology with an unofficial concentration on entomology with a bit of arachnology. I’m particularly interested in behavioral biology. In addition to the research being conducted as part of the course, I’ll be using this opportunity to work with parasitoid wasps, a group of insects I have an interest in. I plan to compile a list of parasitoid wasps in Costa Rica that are attracted to cantharidin, a toxic substance produced by blister beetles.
I am a soon-to-be junior majoring in organismal biology and minoring in Spanish. I enjoy sports, traveling, and trying new things. I am a pre-med student and have recently taken to the task of learning more about the health care of different regions of the world. Going to Costa Rica will hopefully give me a chance to observe firsthand some differences and similarities between the systems there and in the U.S.
My name is Kristen Bontrager, I am a senior at Washburn University majoring in Biology with a focus in ecology. Currently I am working on expanding our herbarium collection and documenting the species of oaks in our research plot in Topeka, Karlyle woods.
My interests include growing plants, the soil composition that they are able to grow the best in including biotic and abiotic matter. In the summer I am usually in my garden, which I bring inside in the colder months and continue to grow in my own semi-greenhouse all winter long. I have a passion for eating food that I know where it comes from, and what exactly the nutrients are. I also enjoy hiking throughout the entire year. As long as I have the proper clothes to wear, I can manage to hike in the snowy months with my dog.
My name is Emma Overstreet and I'm in my fourth year at KU. I'm currently majoring in Genetics, but I have broad interests in organismal biology and particularly entomology. I love travelling and hiking and am always looking for ways to spend time in nature. While in Costa Rica, I hope to broaden my knowledge of ecology and appreciate the incredible biodiversity the tropical climate has to offer, while gaining useful insight into the process of field work and research.
For months I have looked forward to my expedition to the Costa Rican rainforest. In just 10 days I will depart from Kansas City and arrive in the city of San Jose. I have never had the opportunity to leave the United States before, so my Costa Rica adventure will be unlike anything I have experienced thus far in my life. Being a biology major interested in research, I am insanely excited to study the rainforest and all of the organisms the ecosystem has to offer. This research trip will expand not only my scientific skills, but also my understanding of the world outside of America. As I continue to prepare for the trip, I have developed a few goals that I would like to accomplish while in Costa Rica. First, I would like to improve my ecology and field biology skills. Secondly, I seek to improve my understanding of foreign cultures because I have never had the opportunity to leave the United States. Finally, I am interested in improving my photography skills, and my note taking skills so that the trip can be documented and saved for the rest of my life. Words can’t explain how excited I am to be given this opportunity, and I will continue to count down the days until we depart for Costa Rica!
My name is Vickie Grotbeck and I am a junior at KU, studying Organismal Biology. I hope to learn all about the aspects of field research while in Costa Rica. This will be my first time leaving the US, so I am looking forward to not only gaining scientific knowledge, but some cultural knowledge as well. I can apply what I learn from this trip to future life experiences, since when I graduate I want to do tropical field research. - Vickie
My name is Tim Mayes, and I am about to be a senior at KU majoring in Organismal Biology. I am extremely excited for this trip to Costa Rica. I am leaving early to travel with my dad and cannot wait to immerse myself in this new culture and view a new way of life. Once the program begins I am looking forward to exploring the rainforest and researching the insect life. This will be my first time conducting research so I am interested to see what the process involves. I plan to document as much as possible through a multitude of mediums in order to both remember the trip and aid in the research to be conducted. -Tim
Hello! My name is Kaitlin Neill. I am participating in the 2015 Field Biology Study Abroad to Costa Rica! I am a junior at KU majoring in Organismal Biology, minoring in astrobiology and chemistry and am in the UKanTeach program. My plan after college is to teach middle school or high school biology and chemistry.
This is the first time that I will be leaving the country. It’s exciting and scary at the same time. though it is comforting to know that I already know two of the other people going because we went to the same high school. I booked the flights all by myself and felt very much like a grown up. Everyone assures me that I will love Costa Rica, which makes it scary that it won’t live up to expectations, thus I have refrained from looking up any beautiful pictures on the internet. I expect my first post after arrival will mostly consist of “Oh my goodness, this place is awesome!” then a list of cool stuff we see. Keep a lookout for it :)
My name is John Kaiser and I will be a junior at KU studying Molecular and Cellular Biology. I have a deep interest in studying organisms on both the ecological and molecular levels. During the Field Biology Program to Costa Rica, I hope to expand my scientific knowledge and research skills by engaging in ecological exploration to better understand the interactions between organisms in the lush ecosystems of Costa Rica. Additionally, I plan on learning more about the Spanish dialect native to Costa Rica in order to better understand the diversification of the Spanish language and culture throughout Central America. -John
My name is Alex Barbour, and I would like to take the time to tell you a little bit about myself, my interests, and my family. Upon first meeting me, you will find that I am quite shy and quiet. As I get to know people and open up, you will find that I am laid-back person who likes to joke around. In my spare time I love to listen to a wide range of music, follow soccer (Chelsea and Sporting KC), and hang out with my friends. I listen to almost every type of music out there ranging from EDM to classical. I just enjoy good music, and I try not to write songs off just because they fall into a certain genre. As for soccer, the BPL has just finished its season, so I have shifted my focus to our hometown team and the women’s national team. The day that we leave for Costa Rica the women’s world cup will begin, so if the games are broadcast in Costa Rica you will probably find me watching them.
My future interests lie with healthcare. I am currently working in the laboratory of Drs. Mary and Elias Michaelis on West Campus. The goal of the group is create a therapeutic for Alzheimer ’s disease. Thus far the group has developed a seemingly non-toxic drug that appears to decrease neuropathology. I am very excited to have joined this group, and I look forward to helping them progress towards creating an effective drug for the debilitating disease. After KU I will either join a lab to pursue a PhD or head to medical school. My family consists my father, mother, and one little brother. My father is an investor, my mother is an accountant at Sprint, and my little brother is pursuing music producing. All of this information should aid you in getting to know me at least briefly. -Alex