Three Hendrix students are spending their summer conducting research in the Galapagos Islands.
Kaylen Holman and Yaraseth Elorza, both sophomores, and Rosie Ronca, a senior, traveled to the area recently and will remain on the islands, which belong to Ecuador, until mid-August.
Hendrix biology professor Adam Schneider recently facilitated a three-week summer research trip there where the botanist volunteered in the Charles Darwin Research Station’s herbarium and spent time shadowing the three Hendrix students as they began their projects.
During their time, Holman and Ronca are set to work with tortoise rehabilitation and breeding centers through the Giant Tortoise Restoration Initiative with the Galapagos Conservancy and Galapagos National Park and conduct field work for a migration study on multiple islands in the Galapagos, some of them uninhabited by humans.
Elorza will work with the Galapagos Verde 2050 Project, implemented by the Charles Darwin Research Station (CDRS) with support from the Galapagos National Park Directorate to restore degraded ecosystems and develop sustainable agricultural practices.
Holman and Elorza are a part of the first cohort of Hendrix STEM Scholars and their summer research is funded through a $650,000 National Science Foundation S-STEM grant awarded to the college.
A Hendrix senior, Ronca’s trip is funded through a Hendrix Odyssey Program grant.
Schneider’s travel was made possible through Odyssey and faculty development funding.
As an undergraduate at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire (UWEC), Schneider participated in the same program, so he contacted the researcher he had worked with at CDRS to explore possibilities for Hendrix students. Schneider was among the first participants in the program through UWEC, and on this year’s trip, met the current cohort of UWEC students and faculty.
“Seeing the continued vibrancy of the program that inspired him nearly a decade ago and knowing that he is still realizing its benefits has fueled his hope to create a sustained program that sends Hendrix students to the Galapagos every year,” a news release from Hendrix states.