Kelsey Flowers - Success Story

Kelsey Flowers headshotAs a native of Northeast Ohio and an avid birder, one reason I was interested in Salisbury University was its location, since a multitude of birds migrate along the Eastern Shore each year. I was quickly drawn to the Applied Biology Graduate Program and was thankful to secure a teaching assistantship that supports me while I complete research working alongside my advisor Dr. Jeremy Corfield.

Collaborating with Dr. Andrew Iwanuik at the University of Lethbridge in Alberta, CA, I am investigating the somatosensory systems behind different feeding behaviors in waterfowl. Specifically, I will be taking micro-CT images at the Friday Harbor Lab in Washington State to look at nerve attributes within beaks, and I am counting nerve fibers in Dr. Corfield’s lab to understand how ducks, geese and swans obtain food efficiently. We have obtained specimens through the help of student and local hunters who have graciously collected a plethora of samples this hunting season.

I would not be able to complete this research without the funding assistance of sources such as the Henson School of Science and Technology Research Grant and the Graduate Research and Presentation (RAP) Grant. I plan to present this research at the Maryland Ornithological Society (MOS) Convention this February; the National Neuroethology Conference in Brisbane, Australia, this summer; and J.B. Johnson Club for Evolutionary Neuroscience and the Society for Neuroscience in San Francisco next fall.

SU has assisted me in furthering my lab research skills, an attribute that I lacked massively before starting my graduate journey. With the help of my advisor, graduate committee and faculty within the department, I also have gained skills and knowledge in fields I had not previously studied. After graduating in December 2018, I hope to work for an organization that assists in habitat management, specifically, one specializing toward avian species.