Student Research Profile: Jeff Grabow & Brandon Kim

Jeff (left) and Brandon (right) reviewed thousands of photographs in order to identify, describe, and quantify the mammals present in the PUC forest.

Meet Jeff Grabow and Brandon Kim, both senior biology majors at PUC. They both plan on continuing on to dental school after graduation. For the last several years, they have been conducting ongoing research to identify and count mammals in PUC’s back 40 forest.

Who are you?
I’m Jeff Grabow and I’m a senior biology major. I plan on a career in dentistry.

I’m Brandon Kim and I’m a senior biology/pre-dentistry student. I plan on going to dental school and specialize in oral maxillofacial surgery.

What did you do?
We participated in ongoing research to identify and count mammals in PUC’s back 40 forest. We were responsible for collecting data from motion-capture wildlife cameras, editing out non-data, and entering results into our log. These data include the species name, the time of day that the photo was taken, and the concentration of animals “captured” in a particular habitat.

When and where did you do this work?
Jeff: I’ve been part of this research project for the past two years.

Brandon: My research started in spring of 2017 and will continue through winter of 2018. We spend most of our time visiting the cameras in the back 40 and collecting/replacing memory cards. We view and categorize the photos in Clark Hall.

What did you learn?
Jeff: During this project I learned about the rich abundance of mammals we have in our woods here at PUC, including bobcats, river otters, and bears. I also learned about working with a team to come to the best conclusions when analyzing data.

Brandon: There are so many different things I learned from this experience but the most important is to be precise and to pay attention to detail. When looking at thousands of pictures a day, one has to keep a keen eye out for certain things within an image. Similarly, I realized the importance of having good communication skills as well as finding a research partner one enjoys working alongside. Having someone who is there for you as well as making a task more enjoyable is something I consider a significant thing I learned in this research project.

How did you experience at PUC help you prepare for this experience?
Jeff: My time at PUC taught me to write in an appropriate manner for our research. In addition, Dr. Hayes’ passion for animals (especially birds) has contributed to my growing admiration for the nature here on our hill.

Brandon: Being a biology major, one of the classes that helped me throughout this research project was Introduction to Research Methods. This course helped me throughout this research experience as it laid a foundation that enabled me to categorizing each animal to their specific subcategories within Excel. It helped me with the end of quarter research paper that we needed to submit that showed the culmination of our research that quarter. Similarly, taking Ecology helped when it came to an understanding the main goal regarding this project and how to break down each animal into their groups.

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