Herpetologist Highlight

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Herpetologist Highlight

Name: Jen Terry

Age: 24

Website / Twitter Handle / Instagram: Instagram: @jerryfromthemarsh

Where do you work? Arkansas State University

Position: M.Sc. Biological Sciences Student (I am also a part of the social media team for Herp League!)

How did you get there? I attended Bucknell University and received my B.A. in Animal Behavior with a minor in Environmental Studies. During the first two summers in college, I interned at the Philadelphia Zoo and Clyde Peeling’s Reptiland in the animal care departments, where I got a lot of hands-on experience with working with a variety of animals. As a junior at Bucknell, I took an upper-level biology course, Amphibian Biology and Conservation with Dr. Mizuki Takahashi. Fascinated with herps, I began volunteering in Dr. Takahashi’s lab the following semester and eventually conducted a project analyzing paternal care behaviors in Japanese Giant Salamanders which lead to my first publication (https://zslpublications.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/jzo.12615)! The summer before my senior year, I interned at The Wetlands Institute in Stone Harbor, NJ in which I had the opportunity to develop my own research project surrounding diamondback terrapins and take part in the road patrol efforts. My experiences at The Wetlands Institute led me to apply to the Diamondback Terrapin Husbandry AmeriCorps position at the Georgia Sea Turtle Center on Jekyll Island, GAs. During my two terms of service, I served as the primary personnel on the Jekyll Island Causeway monitoring for nesting diamondback terrapins and worked with native reptiles and birds in a rehabilitation context. In the fall of 2017, I saw Lori Neuman-Lee’s post for a MS position on the ECOLOG listserv and saw that her expertise lined up with my interests and the skills I wished to gain. I emailed her within a day or two of seeing her post and the rest is history!

Was there any particular hardship that you had to overcome to work in your position?

As a first-generation student, I did not always have the same financial resources or direction as some of my peers. I also make great efforts to combat my imposter syndrome.

What advice do you give to someone interested in your profession? What advice might you have for someone from an underrepresented group who is interested in entering your field?

Talk to people in your field– you may hear about a great organization, a connection, or take something from their own journey. There is value in your experiences that aren’t necessarily related to science – take all your experiences to make yourself a well-rounded individual! Give yourself the credit you deserve. Challenge yourself to go out of your comfort zone!

What’s your favorite herp? Diamondback terrapin (Malaclemys terrapin)

Why are you an HL member?

I am aware of the strides this organization is making to foster a more inclusive and diverse community. I hope to contribute in my own way!

Is there anything else you would like to add?

I’m still fresh in my program and in my career in general – I’m still figuring out my strengths, interests, and developing my skillset!

Is there a good caption for your attached photograph?

Jen poses with an alligator snapping turtle (Macrochelys temminckii) at Arkansas State University’s 2018 BioBlitz!


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