Senior Research Spotlight: Jessica Fanelli

A senior who conducted research last summer talks about her experience.
Senior Research Spotlight: Jessica Fanelli

A senior who conducted research last summer talks about her experience.

Meet Jessica Fanelli '21. 

What work did you do thanks to the fellowship?

Thanks to the Royal Scholars Summer Fellowship, I was able to begin the research for my senior thesis this past summer. My project, A Study of the Breeding Bird Communities in the Lackawanna State Park in the Summer of 2020 focuses on how the avian communities in the Lackawanna State Park change over three different habitat types (field, forest, and edge). This summer, we recorded avian species in the Park using acoustic recording devices. The songs recorded in the summer were then analyzed for species identification in the fall and winter. This fellowship allowed me to take time off of working this summer to learn bird song and delve into applicable primary literature.

Tell us about your research mentor.

My research mentor is Dr. Robert Smith. He has been truly invaluable to me with all of his help and guidance throughout this project.

fanelli-fieldwork.jpgWhat did you achieve?

I have been able to collect a vast amount of song data which I will now use to conduct occupancy models which will help me to estimate the distribution of avian species across the three habitat types in the Park. This will generate an understanding of how habitat impacts the distribution of species across the landscape.

What was one thing you learned about yourself as a result of the work that you did?

I am very glad that I was able to conduct this research as it allowed me to pursue my interests outside of the medical field before beginning medical school. My passion has always been for medicine, but I also enjoy the ecological sciences. I am glad that during my time as an undergraduate, I had the ability to further those interests with my research.

Did doing this work shape what you want to do going forward/the type of research that you want to do?

Going forward, I will be able to use the skills I have gained in data analysis, and particularly using R for analysis, to work with datasets. R is a very versatile program, and using it for this project has given me the skill set to use it to analyze data sets associated with future research that I may take part in.

Tell us about your summer research -- email

(Image above: This image is one of the recorders we used to record the bird songs this summer. This particular recorder is in an edge habitat.)

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