EEB Honors Program
The Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Honors Program is designed to enable students to complete a significant independent research project that will be formally submitted in thesis format and publicly presented as a talk or poster.
Read more about the Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Honors Program.
Many of our honors students go on to excel at graduate school and beyond. Here are two May 2009 graduates who received high honors on their theses.
Shifra Zipporah Goldenberg
Shifra Goldenberg graduated with her concentration in ecology and evolutionary biology and a minor in Near Eastern studies in May 2009. Her thesis is titled "The diatoms of Ford Lake: bloom dynamics and whole lake manipulation in a eutrophic urban impoundment." She is currently adapting her thesis for submission to an algal research journal.
Goldenberg performed researched in the limnology lab of Professor John Lehman. Outside of EEB, she studied Arabic language, which included study abroad in Egypt. This year she is applying for graduate programs in behavioral ecology.
Emma Volkman earned her bachelor’s of science degree in biology with a concentration in ecology and evolutionary biology and a minor in Spanish language, literature and culture in May 2009. She began her research through the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program as a freshman and enjoyed it so much that she developed her own project during her junior and senior years, which became her thesis, “The effects of dietary consistency on the mandibular form of Peromyscus maniculatus bairdii.”
Volkman played trumpet in the Michigan Marching Band and Michigan Pep Band for four years and volunteered at St. Mary's Student Parish on campus. She worked in the Ruthven Natural History Museum's Mammal Division and began medical school in the fall of 2009 at Southern Illinois University School of Medicine.
Here's what one EEB concentrator, Pat McLaren, said about his independent research experience:
"Throughout my project I learned a great deal. Initially, I had registered to do independent research simply to satisfy a requirement in the EEB concentration to graduate. It had never occurred to me to do independent research before, and once I found out it was required of me I looked at it more as a duty than an opportunity. But after a whole year of research, I can honestly say that this was one of the most rewarding educational experiences I have ever had.
Independent research allowed me a structured environment to explore genetics in a way that I had never considered in a traditional classroom setting. I was allowed to learn things through exploration rather than memorization. My project allowed the sort of hands-on learning that is so often lost in such a large institution like this one. Just completing a simple reaction left me feeling like I had accomplished something. I could see the raw data and the results take shape right in front of me; it was no longer someone showing me something about genetics, but instead it was me discovering something to show someone else.
Before I started my research I was not fascinated with genetics, nor did I actively try and learn more about the way genes worked, but now I am more curious than ever. I am planning on staying in Dr. Julia Richards' lab in the Kellogg Eye Center after graduation to complete my project and have received a grant from the Fight for Sight foundation to continue through the rest of the summer, and I now know at the end of my senior year just days from graduating this "duty," as I once considered it, has opened doors of opportunity, and for that I am forever grateful to have had this opportunity.”
McLaren graduated in 2007 with a concentration in ecology and evolutionary biology. The name of his thesis was "Sequence variants in CLCN3 and the associated risk of glaucoma." He is currently a second year medical student at Wayne State University, Detroit.