Published: May 17, 2018
emily releasing pike

Completing an honors thesis has been the best decision I made in my college career. I was so lucky to be able to be mentored by Dr. Chris Ray, and have learned so much about how science works in fieldwork, data analysis, and communicating results. I was able to spend a summer doing fieldwork on Niwot Ridge assisting Dr. Ray with her research and conducting my own project on pikas. For me, this fieldwork was the perfect way to combine my passions for biology and the mountains, and has inspired me to pursue this type of work in the future. I have also appreciated all that I have learned in analyzing my data from the field, and writing and defending the thesis itself. I never knew how cool it could be to turn a series of numbers or measurements into a graph that shows relationships in a meaningful way, and have came to love reading different papers about what other researchers have found. This project has given me the opportunity to apply my knowledge of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and experience science in a way not possible in my coursework, and I would do it again in a heartbeat. The process took a lot of hard work and determination, but was not as scary a thing as I imagined it would be; I even had a lot of fun and enjoyed myself along the way. I may be a bit biased, but I think pikas are the cutest study subjects in the world - what's not to love?