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NRT Trainees

2016-2017 Cohort


kbKyle R. Broadfoot

I’m an M.S. student in Biology at the University of Oklahoma. Broadly interested in conservation and sustainability, my thesis work has been focused on using NEXRAD weather radar to quantify populations of a migratory songbird at the continental and decadal scale.



claude-300x225Claude L. Buerger IV

I am a geographer from Mobile, Alabama interested in urban areas. These areas are the most uniquely human habitats on Earth and can both inform and inspire us to greater things. I am interested in how historic urban structures, forms, and patterns have been abandoned or replaced with more modern structures, forms, and patterns and how we could update both historic and modern structures, forms, and patterns to become more sustainable.

TrentTrent Cason

I am a second-year PhD student in the Sociology Department at the University of Oklahoma. My research focuses on global economic, social, and environmental inequalities. Specifically, I am interested in the effects of globalization on Less Developed Countries with respect to increasing levels of inequality and environmental degradation. I graduated from the University of Oklahoma with a B.A. and M.A. in Sociology. My thesis entailed a quantitative examination of how individual and national level characteristics shape attitudes regarding income inequality in one hundred countries for the years 1984-2014.

HLPHeather K. LePage

I am a Biology M.S. student in Dr. Eli S. Bridge’s lab at the University of Oklahoma and the Oklahoma Biological Survey. My research interests include tracking the movements of individual animals to understand what goes on at a population scale. My thesis focus involves using Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology to examine the cognitive abilities of birds exposed to heavy metal contamination.




WOWilliam Oakley    

I am a Ph.D. Biology student in Eli Bridge’s lab at the University of Oklahoma (OU). My disciplinary research is currently focused on the ecology, life history strategies, and conservation biology of landbirds. I am particularly interested in exploring potential applications of UAV’s, automated radio telemetry, and radio frequency ID in addressing my research questions. I am also pursuing my interdisciplinary research interests through an NSF National Research Traineeship (NRT) Program and its Earth Observation Science for Society and Sustainability (EOS3) interdisciplinary certificate program. Before arriving at the University of Oklahoma, I worked as a field technician on various bird research projects in South Carolina, Delaware, Mississippi, Oklahoma, and Peru. I also worked for several years as a Naturalist leading classroom and outdoor-based environmental education programs for school groups and the public on Kiawah Island, South Carolina.


2017-2018 Cohort


cropped-eos3_earth_obs_scie_for_society_sustain_logo_ac.jpg      Elizabeth Besozzi

coming soon…


PCPaula Cimprich

I’m Paula Cimprich and I study biology with a focus on conservation, movement ecology, and ornithology as a graduate student in the Master’s program at the University of Oklahoma. Growing up in rural Ohio, I gained a strong appreciation for nature and the interactions people have with nature. My goal is to contribute to effective conservation planning by studying the ecology and natural history of organisms and increase public knowledge and concern about environmental issues through outreach programs. I am currently investigating questions about habitat use, behavior, and movement during the post-breeding period of adult black-capped vireos (Vireo atricaptilla), a migratory songbird breeding in shrublands of Oklahoma and Texas. The post-breeding period is time after most nesting is complete but before these birds migrate to winter areas and has been difficult to study since birds are highly vagile. I used radio telemetry to follow individual adult black-capped vireos in the Wichita mountains of Oklahoma after delineating breeding season territories and monitoring breeding success. When I’m not happily climbing around the rugged terrain of the Wichitas looking for birds and dodging rattlesnakes, I relax by baking bread using my sourdough starter and trying out new food recipes (because when you’re eating peanut butter sandwiches every day in the field, you think about other food a lot).


MDKMaryanne E. Dantzler-Kyer

I am a Ph.D student in Dr. Michael Patten’s lab at the University of Oklahoma. My master’s research focused on niche-tracking behavior through observational studies of Neotropical migrant birds. Specifically, I studied patterns in habitat selection between breeding and wintering grounds based on microclimate and vegetation structure variables. For my dissertation research, I will continue to work to understand niche-tracking behavior with use of tracking technologies, physiological, and behavioral experiments.


JMJohn Muller

I research the winter ecology of grassland birds. Grassland birds have had one of the steepest population declines of any North American bird guild and are therefore in great need of conservation help. These population declines are typically attributed to several different changes in land cover; conversion of natural prairies to agriculture, afforestation due to fire suppression, desertification due to overgrazing, and fragmentation from an increase in development. For most grassland birds their ecology on the breeding grounds is well known, but their migratory and wintering life histories are lacking or completely unknown. For effective conservation of species, it is crucial to look at their entire life cycle, the majority of which is during non-breeding seasons (migration or winter). http://jamuller.oucreate.com/


MPMeelyn Pandit

My research focuses on how anthropogenic factors such as noise, climate change, and supplemental food affect avian migration and on integrating microtechnology into field biology. I am also interested in how access to nature and wildlife can affect mental health in low income communities. With the relatively inexpensive Raspberry Pi microcomputer, I hope to make biology more accessible to the general public through bird feeder and nestbox cameras, providing a window to nature. My ultimate goal is to develop a curriculum based on local wildlife and implement this curriculum in elementary schools around Cleveland County.


Print      Haley Smith

coming soon…


RWRick Wolford

Rick is a sociologist who specializes in social stratification, gender, human sexuality, and environmental sociology. Rick’s master thesis focused on parent/child relationship quality and its effects on a child’s bullying frequency, which is archived in the University of Oklahoma library. From there, Rick transitioned his research focus on work precarity and its effects on fertility, family formation, and gendered role attitudes in Japan. Rick continues to perform this research focused on work precarity, but is now concerned with these relationships in Thailand and South Korea. Rick’s newest research interest is looking at rural living in America and how it impacts environmental attitudes.



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