SNR Alumni: Madeline Davis - Prepared for Graduate Studies
My name is Baylie Fadool, and I graduated from UNL in December 2020 with a Bachelors of Science in Biological Sciences. Since then, I have been volunteering at the Bimini Biological Field Station Foundation (BBFSF) as the Media Manager and Outreach Coordinator in South Bimini, The Bahamas. Part of our mission at BBFSF is to offer educational opportunities to early career scientists by hosting university courses for up to a week at our station. The University of Miami was one of these courses that came from March 11-17, 2023, and one of the graduate students was a graduate of the UNL School of Natural Resources with a degree in Fisheries and Wildlife named Madeline Davis. It was a graduate-level course in Tropical Marine Biology for graduate students completing a Masters of Professional Science degree. I asked her a few questions about her experience during the week and how UNL helped propel her career choices.
Baylie: What made you interested in marine biology?
Madeline: I’ve always loved the ocean from a young age. Being from Nebraska there wasn’t many opportunities to go to the coast other than vacations with my family. I love being in the water whether it was competitively swimming or wake boarding at the lake. My love came from working at Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium where I helped educate the public throughout junior high and high school at our educational wagons. Then in my senior year of high school I also got to volunteer in the aquarium helping with all aspects of diet prep, feedings, daily water testing and cleanings. My freshman year of college I then interned in the aquarium and had more responsibilities feeding the sharks, rays and sea turtles we had there. From this experience I also received college credit through UNL.
Baylie: What are you doing now, and how did UNL prepare you for this?
Madeline: Now I am a graduate student at the University of Miami doing my MPS degree in Marine Conservation. My undergraduate degree at UNL prepared me through my many classes in the School of Natural Resources in the Fisheries and Wildlife degree. The classes that stuck out were Herpetology, Ichthyology, Wildlife Field Techniques, and Vertebrate Zoology courses that set me up well for a Master’s degree in marine biology. Although they were focused on Nebraska wildlife, we did have little aspects that touched on marine wildlife. Before graduating from UNL, my advisor Sara Winn also set me up with a study abroad program at The School for Field Studies in South Caicos part of the Turks and Caicos Islands. This experience added to my love for field work in marine biology. I would recommend that study abroad for anyone interested in field research in marine biology!
Baylie: What opportunity did you have at the BBFSF, and what did the experience mean for you?
Madeline: At the Bimini Shark Lab, I got to take a course offered through the University of Miami called Tropical Maine Biology. We were able to snorkel every day around the many coral reefs and interact with the species of sharks and rays around Bimini. This experience was something I’ve wanted to do for many years after finding out about the Bimini Shark Lab and have always wanted to intern with the lab. It was a great experience all around and got to experience remote field work in South Bimini on top of my time in a remote field station in South Caicos. It truly solidified that I love working in marine field work and educating around shark conversation. I hope one day I can return to the Bimini Shark Lab.
Baylie is working with Lindsey Chizinski, Ecology Lecturer in SNR, to develop the short course in Marine Ecology that will hopefully launch January 2024 at the Shark Lab of BBFSF.