Page 2-3 - McGuire News

Basic HTML Version

Issue 6, April 2012
Issue 6, April 2012
ISSN # 1938-3029
Editorial Board:
Christine M. Eliazar Jaret C. Daniels
Thomas C. Emmel Jacqueline Y. Miller
Andrei Sourakov
Chad T. Douglas
Andrei Sourakov
Copy Editor:
Paul Ramey
Graphic Designers:
Elecia Crumpton
Leah Welch
Alexandr Chuvilin
Andrei Sourakov
Sebastián Padrón
Kate Martin
Keith Willmott
Deborah Matthews
McGuire Center Staff
Badon, Jade, Graduate Asst.
Barszczak, Lukasz, Technical Research Asst.
Bliss, Andrew, Technical Research Asst.
Checa, Maria Fernanda, Graduate Asst.
Covell, Charles V., Curator of Lepidoptera
Daniels, Jaret C., Asst. Curator & Asst.
Director of Education
Douglas, Chad T., Technical Research Asst.
Douglas, Colin M., Technical Research Asst.
Doyle, Jonathan, Technical Research Asst.
Eliazar, Christine M., Program Asst.
Emmel, Thomas C., Director
Gallice, Geoffrey, Graduate Asst.
Hay-Roe, Mirian Medina, Research Associate
Hayden, James, FSCA Curator of Lepidoptera,
Immature Collection
Heppner, John B., Curator of Lepidoptera
Huber, Stacey, Technical Research Asst.
Kawahara, Akito Y., Asst. Curator of Lepidoptera
Koi, Sandy, Graduate Asst.
Lewis, Delano, Asst. Research Scientist, Lepidoptera
Lott, Deborah Matthews, Biological Scientist
Lukhtanov, Vladimir, Visiting Scientist & Curator
Miller, Jacqueline Y., Curator of Lepidoptera
Ortíz, Elena, Graduate Asst.
Padron, Pablo, Graduate Asst.
Park, K.T., Research Associate
Pence, J. Akers, Research Associate
Ponce, Francesca, Technical Research Asst.
Ponce, Joan, Technical Research Asst.
Romero, Cassandra, Technical Research Asst.
Rossetti, Kristin, Technical Research Asst.
Sanchez, Stephanie, Technical Research Asst.,
Endangered Species
Schlachta, James B., Operations, Asst. Director
Segebarth, Craig L., Technical Research Asst.
Segebarth, Ian K., Technical Research Asst.
Sourakov, Andrei, Collections Coordinator
Standridge, Matthew, Technical Research Asst.
Thomas, Kelly, Technical Research Asst.
Turner, J.D., Research Associate
Turner, Nancy C., Research Associate
Warren, Andrew D., Senior Collections Manager
Whelan, John ‘Court,’ Graduate Research Asst.
Willmott, Keith R., Associate Curator of Lepidoptera
Xiao, Lei, Genetics Lab Manager
How long have you been volunteering at the
I’ve just passed the three-year mark in January.
What made you start volunteering here?
I grew up a country kid in the area inland of
San Diego and I developed a deep appreciation for
nature. Going to museums and zoos were always
my favorite outing trips when I was young. When
I re-located to Gainesville, I wanted to establish
some kind of link to UF because of my interest in
attending here to finish my degree. The Museum
was the “tractor beam” that I naturally gravitated
What do you do for the Museum?
My duties here presently involve working in the
collections room assisting Dr. Sourakov in sorting
and accessioning a large moth collection from
Papua New Guinea. Of the 34,000 moths in the
collection, I’ve sorted them down to approximately
4,083 species. I’m now in the process of pulling as
many species representatives as possible for DNA
bar coding referencing.
What kind of training did you receive when
you first started volunteering?
I received a crash course in specimen collection
acquisitions and how they’re processed, and you
also get a broad introduction to Lepidoptera
taxonomy--which is a little overwhelming at first.
A big help to the particular tasks I perform is being
very meticulous with coordinated motor skills.
Has volunteering at the Museum helped you
develop any new skills?
Working in the refrigerated collection room
helps you hone your cold tolerance (grin). I
eventually brought in a designated sorting jacket
which makes the environment a lot more tolerable,
but that just comes with the trade. What you
gradually start to pick up are the characteristics of
the Lepidoptera families the collections managers
use to distinguish one family from another. Some
of the unique features of some of the genera are
just so unusual, it makes them easy to remember.
What activities are you involved in outside
of the Museum?
Outside of my volunteer time, I work as
a technician in a medical research lab at the
College of Medicine where I take care of most
of the lab management tasks. My boss, who’s
a neuroscientist, studies the neural circuitry
involved in stress response and the mechanisms/
factors contributing to hypertension. Because
it’s physiologically linked, it’s a field of research
that doesn’t really conform to the 9-5 time frame;
and the duration of our experiments typically
last weeks and months instead of hours and days.
I don’t know if you could call it a benefit or job
“perk,” but I normally get to handle brain tissue as
part of my routine at work. (That’s not something I
usually walk up to every person and share!) Some
of my other conventional hobbies include cooking
and trying new recipes, and gardening--which is a
whole other world in itself.
What do you enjoy the most about
One of the most rewarding things in life is just
contributing time to a much bigger worthy cause.
What I like about the Museum environment is
that you’re constantly working around people who
are very passionate about what they do; and it’s
just a welcome setting to be around. My biggest
hindrance to the amount of time I can contribute
to the Museum is my availability during the day;
and I have to give honorable mention to Dr. James
Hayden (the on-site curator for DPI) who I’ve
coordinated with to go in and work late a couple
of nights during the week. It’s really given me an
available window to getting the project finished
around my demanding work schedule
Do you have any advice or words of wisdom
for people thinking about volunteering here?
If I was “fresh off the bus from out-of-
town” with an interest in nature and keen on
volunteering at the Museum, I would do myself
the favor and spend some time on the Museum
website and just marvel at all the different
departments. If you have an interest in a particular
subject, I wouldn’t let that stop you from trying to
connect with one of the staff members through the
volunteer coordinator about a possible position
opening. The staff members that I’ve encountered
are always welcoming and responsive to anybody
willing to contribute time toward a big project
they might be in the middle of. There are usually
more projects than there are hands to do them.
How long have you been volunteering at the
About two and a half years.
What made you start volunteering here?
I’m a non-traditional biology student, returning to
school after working in the medical field in the Shands
Transplant program. It took me a while to realize that
what I love to do is science and I think having the
hands-on volunteer experience will help me. When I
complete school I hope to work in science advocacy.
Also, I grew up in a small, Midwest town in a time
before internet. Museums gave me a chance to see
more of the world.
What do you do for the Museum?
Currently, I am accessioning one of the donated
collections. This involves adding labels and sorting a
collection of butterflies and moths. These particular
specimens resulted from rearing caterpillars in Costa
Rica which was done to learn about life histories of
these animals. The vouchers are deposited at this
Museum in perpetuity because they will be safe here
and accessible to researchers if questions arise.
Has volunteering at the Museum helped you
develop any new skills?
The Museum has given me more focus and has made
me a better student.
What activities are you involved in outside of the
Despite health issues due to cystic fibrosis (I had
three organ transplants), I have a wide range of
interests, from comics and Dragoncon to backpacking
through Europe.
What do you enjoy the most about volunteering?
I really like all of my coworkers. I also enjoy seeing
people getting paid for doing a job that I hope to have
one day after graduation.
How long have you been volunteering at the
Four years.
What made you start volunteering here?
Before retiring I worked in neuro-anatomy for
University Hospital in Stonybrook, NY. When
we moved down here, I knew that I wanted to do
something meaningful to keep busy.
What do you do for the Museum?
I curate the McGuire Center’s collections for Dr.
Keith Willmott. Also, I used to volunteer for Dr.
Hongshan Wang in Paleobotany, but he was able to hire
me part time last summer.
Has volunteering at the Museum helped you
develop any new skills?
Before volunteering here I didn’t know how butterfly
collections worked and now I understand the process.
What activities are you involved in outside of the
All of our hobbies focus on natural history. We’re
focused on butterflies, birds and plants. We like to
make observations and have traveled both locally and
internationally to observe butterflies.
What do you enjoy the most about volunteering?
I enjoy making order out of chaos. It’s also impressive
that the volunteer program is a coordinated system.
Michael McCowan sorts moths in the collections.
Chris Simeur works in the collections.
Jane Blanchard (top) curates ithomiine butterflies (bottom).
VOLUNTEER profile:
Michael McCowan_ _______________________
Chris Simeur __________________________________
Jane Blanchard ________________________________
Tithorea tarricina
(South America)
Viviennea tegyra
(Central America)
Trosia nigropunctigera
(Central America)
Methona curvifascia
(South America)
Horama oedippus
(Central America)
Veladyris pardalis
(South America)