Student Profile

Kayli Thomas

Kayli Thomas

Major: Biology, Environmental Option with a minor in Environmental Chemistry


Class Year: 2017
Hometown: York, PA

Additional Information

Internships/Research/Projects:

The current project on which I have been working for the past two years is documenting not only the ectoparasite load of hippoboscid louse flies on migrating raptors, but also characterizing the microbial communities of these parasites using DNA extraction and metagenomic sequencing to determine if these communities varied among raptor species, changed temporally during migration, or hosted potential avian pathogens.

This summer, I was employed by the Wildlife section of the Department of Military and Veteran's Affairs at Fort Indiantown Gap in Annville, PA, where I worked closely with wildlife biologists actively managing wildlife habitat and populations. In this position, I was directly involved with measuring populations of the rare Regal Fritillary butterfly (Speveria idalia) via mark and recapture techniques, surveying and managing grassland vegetation, and the sampling and identification of amphibians and invertebrates in aquatic systems,

Inspirations:

 As a whole, I am inspired by Millersville's Biology department and the dedication of the faculty to ensure that their students are succeeding and obtaining a competitive education and valuable field and research experience.

Dr. Wallace, as my research advisor, has been extremely encouraging during the past near three years I have worked in his lab. His guidance and professional advice have made me a better student, scientific writer, and biologist, and I am extremely grateful for the many opportunities he has provided me during my time at Millersville, as well as while looking to continue my education in graduate school.

Highlights:

Some of the greatest opportunities I have been afforded during my research experience included being able to travel to multiple states to present my research, and receiving awards for my work at multiple conferences, including one first place award at the national level. Highlights from working as a Wildlife Intern this past summer include having the opportunity to work beside a handful of professionals in various fields each day, as well as being able to take part in wildland firefighter training.

Advice:

It's extremely valuable to get involved with research as early as possible in your college career, even if that initially just means working as a field hand on somebody else's project. Talk to your professors about your interests and goals and they will be sure to guide you to opportunities that will benefit you immensely in the long run.

Aspirations:

I hope to continue my education in a research-based graduate program after my graduation in the fall, and later pursue a career in wildlife conservation.