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By Eboni Ellis
Howard University News Service      

Howard Biology Student Participates in Arizona Ecological Research

WASHINGTON (August 12, 2013) – Howard University biology sophomore Earyn McGhee traveled to Arizona for three weeks this summer to track lizard populations at the Southwestern Research Station in the state’s Chiricahua Mountains. The station is affiliated with the American Museum of Natural History.

McGhee served as a research assistant to George Middendorf, Ph.D., Howard University biology professor, and collected data for a long-term lizard demography study. She was supported by a National Science Foundation Undergraduate Mentoring in Environmental Biology grant for the  research. During the academic year, McGhee is a member of the California Club, Howard University Environmental Society (HUES) and Howard’s Strategies for Ecology Education Diversity and Sustainability (SEEDS) chapter.

McGhee said she learned about the opportunity from a friend. She said the summer experience has led her to reconsider career options. 

 “This was an eye-opening experience,” McGhee said. “After graduation, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to go on to veterinary school or study to get a doctorate. This experience has geared me in the direction of getting a Ph.D., so I can continue researching.”

Middendorf has mentored Howard undergraduate and graduate ecology students for the past 33 years and currently serves on the Ecological Society of America’s Committee on Diversity and Education, as well as on the board of directors of the Organization for Tropical Studies as vice chair of the academic diversity committee.

An article in the August issue of the Ecological Society of America journal, Frontiers in Ecology, notes McGhee’s work this summer. The article, co-authored by Middendorf, discusses ways to teach ecological concepts to diverse groups with the aim of facilitating more informed decision-making and stronger environmental policy.

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