Mentee Achievements

Annette Kang

Annette Kang – Annette is a Biological Sciences major with an Environmental Sciences minor who joined the lab in spring of 2017! Annette’s work contributed to the 2018 publication “Worker-caste differences in brain investment reflect soldier behavioral specialization” by O’Donnell, Bulova, Barrett, and von Beeren; she is also has contributed to another ongoing project studying safer insecticides. In the fall of 2017, she was selected to participate in the Bioko Biodiversity Protection Program, which she followed up with a sustainability-focused study abroad in Costa Rica in 2018. In 2018, she also won the DAAD RISE Germany Award, to perform research with O’Donnell lab collaborator Dr. Cristoph von Beeren on the diet preferences in ant-parasite communities, in Darmstadt, Germany. In addition, she is also a 2018-19 Udall Scholar  thanks to her dedication studying sustainability and the environment. Annette has presented her work from the lab at Drexel University’s Nerd Nite, and has gone on to present her international work multiple times to global audiences; she also has two publications (one a first-author) from a previous research experience her freshman year.  Annette, a previous Drexel STAR (Students Tackling Advanced Research) student, is now working on her Drexel Supernova Capstone Project in the O’Donnell lab. Annette hopes to attend graduate school with the goal of becoming a professor.

Cheyenne McNair

Cheyenne McNair – Cheyenne is an Environmental Science major who joined the lab in the summer of her freshman year as a STAR (Students Tackling Advanced Research) student working full time, and has been a star in the lab ever since! Her work over the summer was presented first at the 2017 STAR Summer Showcase, a poster entitled The Pest Relief: Does erythritol act as an insecticide for ants?, which she also presented at the Drexel Biodiversity, Earth, and Environmental Science Research Day in 2018. Additionally, her work contributed to the poster Does brain structure covary with sociality in spiders? A comparative test in the genus Anelosimus (Araneae: Theridiidae), presented at the 2018 Drexel BEES Research Day by Meghan Barrett. In addition, Cheyenne was awarded the 2018 Espenschade Outstanding Undergraduate Research Achievement Travel Award, presented by the Drexel Biodiversity, Earth, and Environmental Sciences Department to support the research of an outstanding undergraduate student studying environmental science.  Cheyenne is currently working on the effects of D-mannitol on fruit flies and anticipates attending graduate school after graduation.

Serena Joury

Serena Joury – Serena is a sophomore at Drexel, combining environmental science with product design. She first joined Meghan and Dr. Dane Ward in the summer of 2018, as an iSTAR (internationally, Students Tackling Advanced Research) student to Cuba where she studied Melipona beecheii visual learning abilities using FMPER. She presented her results at Drexel University’s STAR Summer Showcase in 2018. Serena hails from Jordan and loves being by the water – she is an accomplished scuba diver and also on Drexel’s sailing team.

Chandler Olson

Chandler Olson – Chandler is a sophomore Biology major at Drexel University with ambitions to pursue a career in biological research, focal area still undecided. Chandler joined Meghan with Dr. Ward as an iSTAR (internationally, Students Tackling Advanced Research) student to Cuba where he studied Melipona beecheii morphology in the summer of 2018. He presented his results at Drexel University’s STAR Summer Showcase and continued to work on his research in the lab. At Drexel, Chandler is also a member of the varsity wrestling team and the Biological Honor Society.

 

Zack Smith

Zachary Smith – Zack is an ambitious environmental science major at Drexel University who just completed his freshman year. Zack was previously an intern at Lacawac Sanctuary where he found his passion for working in freshwater environments. Zack joined the rest of the iSTAR team in Cuba during the summer of 2018, studying Cuban native bee diversity. He presented his results at the STAR Summer Showcase and has continued researching community ecology in the lab. Throughout his life Zack has been an avid mountain biker, hiker, skier, and he also enjoys spending time outside with his family.

 

 

 

Michaela Schuster

Michaela Schuster – Michaela is a Health Sciences major with a minor in anthropology, who joined the O’Donnell lab in the summer of 2017. She presented her collaborative research with Sumaiya Zahid in a poster entitled: Do paper wasps have morphological worker subcastes? A test in the neotropical warrior wasp, Synoeca septentrionalis (Hymenoptera: Vespidae), at the 2018 Drexel Biodiversity, Earth, and Environmental Sciences Research Symposium. She has since gone on to work on the effects of D-mannitol on fruit flies and credits the O’Donnell lab for helping her realize that she wants research to be her career path moving forward. She is excited to attend graduate school in the Philly region after graduation.

 

Lauren Hultgren

Lauren Hultgren – Lauren entered the lab in the winter of 2018 to help set up a short experiment but, after realizing the awesome power of insects, decided to stick around! Lauren is interested in veterinary science and will be graduating in a year with a degree in Environmental Science (concentration in Biodiversity and Evolution). In the past, she has helped corral ants for a pesticide project but now spends her time assessing bee ovary development for Meghan’s collaborative project with the Papaj lab at University of Arizona. She also works with Dr. Dane Ward on Urban Ecology projects while interning at a veterinary center learning about (and playing with) dogs.

 

 

Angelina Gomez – Angelina is an Environmental Sciences student who just joined the lab in the spring of 2018 after taking a class with Meghan. She is currently working on studying the sex specific effects of D-mannitol on fruit flies. Angelina has also worked in the New Jersey Pine Barrens, studying local plants; in her ‘spare’ time, she serves a

s a Dragon Scholars Mentor and a Math Tutor at Drexel.

 

 

 

 

Devneet Kainth –Dev, a Biology major, joined the lab in spring of 2018 after taking a class with Meghan – she is currently studying the developmental effects of D-mannitol on fruit fly larvae. Before joining the O’Donnell lab, Dev worked on a SEA-PHAGES honors project studying soil bacteriophages which she presented in her poster ‘The Effect of Soil Bacteriophages on Non-Soil Bacteria and their Potential Relatedness to Mycobacterium smegmatis at the 2017 Drexel Phage Poster Symposium.

 

Sumaiya Zahid – Sumaiya is a Biology major who joined the lab after taking a class with Meghan in the winter of 2017, until her co-op in the spring of 2018. She was instrumental to the 2018 publication “Worker-caste differences in brain investment reflect soldier behavioral specialization” by O’Donnell, Bulova, Barrett, and von Beeren. She also presented her collaborative research with Michaela Schuster in a poster entitled Do paper wasps have morphological worker subcastes? A test in the neotropical warrior wasp, Synoeca septentrionalis (Hymenoptera: Vespidae), at the 2018 Drexel Biodiversity, Earth, and Environmental Sciences Research Symposium.

Sophi Schneider – Sophi is a rising junior in high school who is excited to learn some new lab skills in the O’Donnell lab this summer!

Former Mentees:

Margaret McCurdy – Maggie, an Environmental Engineering major, joined Meghan and Dr. Dane Ward in the summer of 2018 as a Drexel iSTAR student (internationally, Students Tackling Advanced Research), studying Melipona beecheii thermal tolerance. She presented their results at the STAR Summer Showcase in 2018.

Natalie Carroll – Natalie, a Biology major, joined the O’Donnell lab in the winter of 2017! She spent most of her time in the lab learning about arthropod brains; her work contributed to the poster Does brain structure covary with sociality in spiders? A comparative test in the genus Anelosimus (Araneae: Theridiidae), presented at the 2018 Drexel Biodiversity, Earth, and Environmental Sciences Research Symposium.