Student travel grants bring 17 wildlife students to Cleveland

Each year, wildlife students look forward to the annual TWS conference. This year, 47 percent of conference attendees were students, and student travel grants helped make it easier for 17 of them to attend the 25th annual TWS conference in Cleveland.

These grants were thanks to donations and support from TWS chapters and sections, as well as additional funding provided by The 1000 group of donors.

“The student travel grant provided by The Wildlife Society helped alleviate the costs of attending the conference, which I greatly appreciated,” said Conor Egan, a graduate student North Dakota State University who attended the TWS conference for the first time.

“It was great to rekindle old friendships, network with wildlife professionals and hear about new and exciting topics from the field,” he said. “I didn’t know what to expect for my first national TWS conference, but the opportunities for professional development exceeded my expectations, and now I plan on attending many more.”

Students who received the grants also presented an individual paper or poster at the conference. But aside from getting the opportunity to present their research, many students took advantage of the networking and learning opportunities at the meeting.

“What I found was helpful were all of the networking opportunities,” said Heather  Abernathy, a  PhD  student  in  the  Department  of  Fish  and  Wildlife Conservation  at  Virginia  Tech. “Researchers I wanted to interact with and ask questions about papers, I sought them out at networking events and established good connections that way.”

She also attended a certification board meeting to understand more about how to become a certified wildlife biologist. “They answered questions I couldn’t find online and how to get there,” she said.

The grant also helped Charlotte Hacker, a PhD candidate at Duquesne University, attend her first TWS conference.

“The TWS conference facilitated numerous networking events and exposure to inspiring research,” she said. “It also gave me the opportunity to disseminate my own work to experts in conservation, who provided me with valuable feedback and advice for future efforts.”

Others who received student travel grants were Sara Abercrombie from Purdue University, Sarah Fischer from University of Toledo, Emily Potratz from the University of Illinois at Chicago, William Cooper from George Mason University, Rachel Larson from California University Northridge, Kelsey Stoneberg from Bowling Green State University, Adam Yaney-Keller from Purdue University Fort Wayne, Andrea Crary from University of Toledo, Kathleen McGrew from University of Delaware, Adam Parlin from Miami Univesity, Lara Mengak from Virginia Tech, Bram Verheijen from Kansas Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, Kansas State University, Carly Aulicky from Kansas State University and Alex Beatty from the University of Alberta.

Header Image: Student travel grants helped 17 students attend the 25th annual TWS conference in Cleveland. ©Erik Drost