Written by Julia Criscione, Geology Museum Assistant
Last month, Camryn Kozachek, one of our undergraduate student researchers, presented her work at the Geological Society of America’s national meeting in Indianapolis!
Camryn came to the Geology Museum in the Fall of 2017 through the Rutgers Aresty Program. This program supports undergraduate student research by connecting talented students with faculty mentors to work on research projects in a field that interests them. Camryn’s research project at the Geology Museum involved working with the museum directors to develop an educational activity to be used in an informal educational setting, like the Museum’s monthly Late Night Events, and the evaluation tools needed to assess the activity's effectiveness.
After much thought, Camryn chose to focus her activity on the Ice Age and the animal adaptations that would be either beneficial or detrimental to animals in a colder environment. Her final activity had visitors choose from a variety of body parts to create a fictional animal that was then examined and “scored” to see if it would have survived better in today’s climate or in an ice age environment. Her results to date show that museum visitors have had a great time both creating their fictional creatures and seeing how they would survive in each environment, while also learning about natural selection, climate change, and the Ice Age.
Camryn did a wonderful job presenting the results of her yearlong research project at the 2018 Geological Society of America’s annual conference. She was one of the only undergraduate students that presented alongside many professionals and professors in the field of geoscience education in a session that focused on new and exciting advances in hands-on activities, virtual field trips, and other types of non-traditional, geology-based course activities.
This project is not finished, as two new undergraduate students have undertaken the next steps of this research during the 2018-2019 academic year through the Aresty research center. Stay tuned for more results of this project!