An Opportunity to Study the World

An Opportunity to Study the World

Students Erin Roszkowiak ’25 and Zeke Changuris ’24, along with Assistant Professor of Integrated Sciences and Director of the Fulton Center for Sustainability Chris Mayer, will soon travel the world as recipients of the 2023–2024 Joan M. Thuebel ’52 Earthwatch Award. Selected annually and announced at the spring Academic Awards event, this award provides each recipient with a fully funded field research expedition hosted by the international nonprofit organization Earthwatch. It includes expedition fees, travel, and lodging, made possible by a generous donation from Joan Thuebel ’52, who has participated in 27 Earthwatch expeditions over the last few decades. We can’t wait to hear about their adventures and discoveries. No doubt they will follow in the footsteps of the 2022–2023 recipients.

Dean Elissa Heil, Erin Roszkowiak ’25 , and Chris Mayer

In the summer of 2023, recipients of the award traveled to Costa Rica and the Pyrenees mountains to join field expeditions and assist researchers with conservation projects. Myla Owens ’24, Kendi Long ’26, and Julie Raulli, professor of sociology, each took part in separate trips.

Kendi Long’s research expedition took her to the valley of Ordino, Andorra—near the border of France and Spain. For her, the trip was nine days working alongside two biologists to observe the effects of climate change on wildlife in the forest and alpine meadows. She monitored and recorded data at small mammal sites and nest boxes, each requiring different research and data collection. “Waking to the beautiful Andorran sunrise, measuring the adorable Bank Voles, scaling breathtaking peaks daily, and sharing many laughs with my team have become memories I will cherish forever,” she said.


For Owens and Raulli, it was off to Costa Rica. Owens studied marine mammals in Golfo Dulce, an area surrounded by national parks and protected areas. The purpose of her expedition was to gather information about the cetacean species—the bottlenose dolphin, the pantropical spotted dolphin, and the humpback whale. Her expedition crew spent 10-hour days collecting and reviewing data. “This journey was nothing short of transformative,” she said.


Professor Raulli spent a week in the hot and rainy mountains of Costa Rica to investigate the conservation of bees and other pollinators. Her team primarily worked mornings because of the heat and then took side trips in the afternoon, such as a visit to a small-scale coffee business. According to Raulli, each Earthwatch trip is a way for participants to push their own boundaries. For the students, maybe it was traveling to another country for the first time. For her, it was a chance to stretch herself in the natural sciences while observing what she called “such an amazing concentration of biodiversity.”

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