Past Contributors

We’ve ordered our past contributed blog entries alphabetically by the author’s last name. Don’t forget to check out #FemFieldSecrets on Twitter to see other tips and comments!


Gabby Barnas (@gabbrobasalt)

Since graduating from the University of Minnesota with my B.S. in wildlife biology in 2017, I have been moving from one seasonal field job to the next. I have largely worked in the Midwest, with the bulk of the last two years being based in the Chicago metropolitan area working with urban wildlife. I am currently looking for graduate school opportunities, with the intent to study urban wildlife ecology and behavioral ecology with a focus on herps. Follow me on Twitter to see what I’m working on these days, since it tends to change frequently! 

Olivia Box

Olivia is interested in the areas where forest management, ecology, and natural history meet. At UVM, she joins the silviculture and applied forest ecology lab and is studying the effects of Asian Longhorn Beetle (ALB) in Worcester County, Massachusetts. This past summer she visited sites previously treated for ALB and collected data on the vegetative communities and assessed the current forest conditions. Throughout her masters, she aspires to delve deeper into how forest management will evolve under the pressures of climate change, and to more effectively communicate her research to the public.


Kadambari Devarajan hiking in the Western Ghats with friends from the next NCBS cohort, a few months after post-thesis defense

Kadambari Devarajan (@kadambarid)

I am an engineer-turned-ecologist (computer-scientist-turned-conservation-biologist, if you will) and my research involves applying quantitative tools to visualize and analyze scientific data. I am a data geek who likes to study wildlife populations and behavior. I’m an alumna of the Wildlife Biology and Conservation program at the National Center for Biological Sciences (NCBS) and Wildlife Conservation Society – India. As a PhD student in Organismic and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, I’m working on multi-species models with a focus on monitoring vertebrates. I live to eat, travel, and read, not necessarily in that order. I’m a compulsive reader, unpredictable writer, insatiable traveler, adventure junkie, highly-excitable photographer, ardent naturalist, borderline twitcher, enthusiastic FOSS evangelist and user, and food fanatic.


Alyssa Eby

I am currently a Master’s student at the University of Windsor using energetic physiology to assess success of Thick-billed Murre foraging strategies in the Arctic. In the field and at home I enjoy birding, reading, and spending time outdoors. I am passionate about seabird conservation and would love nothing more than to continue working with seabirds in the future. I, of course, am looking forward to many more fields seasons with limited showers!


Becky Friesen

Becky is a Canadian field biologist who has worked on conservation projects in Canada, Peru and Honduras with six different organizations over six years. She currently is conducting her Masters research studying the response of butterfly communities to anthropogenic forest fires at the Universidad Autónoma de Nuevo León in the Sierra Madre Oriental mountain range of northeastern Mexico. Follow her work and learn about effective wildlife conservation on Instagram at @becky.outside.


Sanja Hakala @SanjaHakala

I am currently finishing up my PhD looking at the impacts bison have on grassland birds. When I have spare time, I like to hike, read, and cook. Currently, mapping out a future career that ties my love of ecology, restoration, and the outdoors.

Heather Herakovich @HHerakovich

I am currently finishing up my PhD looking at the impacts bison have on grassland birds. When I have spare time, I like to hike, read, and cook. Currently, mapping out a future career that ties my love of ecology, restoration, and the outdoors.


Collette Lauzau


Elisabeth Maxwell (@studentofwater)

Elisabeth is a marine scientist and ocean explorer. She earned two masters degrees from the University of Maine, one in marine biology and one in marine policy, where she studied the soft-shell clam fishery in Maine. Her interests range from resource management to marine ecology and conservation. Elisabeth is an active scientific diver and is currently diving with several research projects along coastal Maine.


Constance O’Connor (@fishes_oconnor)

Dr. Constance O’Connor is a conservation scientist with Wildlife Conservation Society Canada, where she leads the freshwater research and conservation program for the far north in Ontario. She is dedicated to finding conservation solutions for the globally important freshwater ecosystems of Canada’s northern boreal, and the people and the wildlife that rely on them. She is also the mom of two young kids!


Dr. Elizabeth M. Phillips (@nofutti)

I am a marine ecologist with broad interests in describing and quantifying ecological processes in the ocean. I completed my PhD in June 2018 at the University of Washington studying the influence of the Columbia River plume on predator-prey interactions, and am starting a post-doc with NRC in the fall. I also just completed a Science Communications Fellowship with Washington Sea Grant. In my spare time I love getting on (or in) the water with my son, adventuring in the mountains, running, and traveling.


Kimberly Riskas (@KimberlyRiskas)

I recently finished my PhD studying illegal fishing in the Indian Ocean and Southeast Asia. Spent most of my 20s chasing sea turtles around the globe and embarrassing myself in foreign countries. Currently crafting a career that combines science writing, editing, travel, and lots of time outdoors. Blogging on these topics at The Little Blue Dot Press.


Dr. Karen Samonds

I am an Associate Professor at Northern Illinois University, and paleontologist focused on the origin and evolutionary history of Madagascar’s modern fauna. In association with my research, I also co-founded the NGO Sadabe to help promote the coexistence of people and wildlife in Madagascar (

Kirstie Savage

I just finished my Master’s where I looked at coyote diet and impacts on small mammal communities. I also just had my second baby! Now I plan to raise these babies, explore the job market, and look into PhD programs. In my/our free time, we love to travel travel travel! We also love rock climbing, canyoneering and most everything outdoors!

Dr. Kaitlin Stack Whitney

I am currently a Visiting Assistant Professor (that jargon means limited term appointment, sort of like a postdoc with a lot of teaching) in the Environmental Science Program and Science, Technology & Society Department at the Rochester Institute of Technology in Rochester, NY.  My science research focuses on insect communities in human-dominated landscapes and novel ecosystems. I have two kids, one of whom was born when I was a graduate student and the other when I was an adjunct professor. I enjoy hiking and canoeing with my family.


Dr. Annelies Van de Ven (@archaeoa1)

I just finished up a PhD looking into how we can better incorporate the public reception of archaeological artefacts into museum programming and display. Since starting as a researcher I’ve been able to travel around the world – visiting museums, excavating sites, learning about other cultures and collaborating with some amazing scholars. My favourite place to be is out on site, trowel in hand, uncovering new information about how people lived in the past, followed closely by interacting with a group of keen learners about heritage, museums and archaeology. When I am not traveling or researching, you’ll probably find me exploring the London coffee scene, singing and dancing along to my favourite musical track, or commenting loudly at a movie or tv show I am watching.


Raela Wataha (@raela_wataha)

I graduated from Juniata College in 2018 with a B.S. in Wildlife Conservation. My post-graduation goals include obtaining an array of field skills while working in new environments before pursuing a M.S. in Wildlife Biology/Applied Ecology. Being bitten by a travel bug as an undergraduate, I have high ambitions to work abroad. So far, I’ve had technician positions in northern Illinois and southern Texas and am loving the oh-so-glamorous seasonal fieldwork life!