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Alumni Spotlight

Life takes each of us to a different place. Sometimes, we are pleasantly surprised to see where we land. After leaving 21CCCS, Teresa found herself in the rainforest. In this “Alumni Spotlight Blog,” read below to learn more about her incredible adventures following graduation!



tpeganA few years ago I couldn’t possibly have imagined that the summer after my freshman year of college, I would find myself in the rainforests of Malaysian Borneo, living out my dream of studying birds.  But, last summer that’s where I was: living in an idyllic cabin on a pond in the jungle, watching and filming the most beautiful birds I’ve ever seen, and helping to answer (and ask!) questions about their poorly-known biology.

I had this wonderful opportunity because I joined a research group at my college. Participating in it has taught me so much about planning international expeditions, coming up with research questions, and doing real-world science (which is a lot more exciting than reading textbooks!)  My experience with Borneo and my classes at Cornell have reinforced my desire to pursue this kind of work for the rest of my life, and I plan to continue my studies to become an ornithologist.

My advice to current high school students is that you shouldn’t dismiss your dreams, even if they’re a little out of the ordinary.  Doing what I love motivates me to work hard and do the best that I can. I wouldn’t want it any other way.
Also, get to know your professors if you go to college; they may seem a little intimidating at first, but in my experience they love what they do and they love sharing it with their students.  Some of them know of exciting research opportunities as well!

If you’d like to read about the research I helped with in Borneo (or just see pictures of gorgeous birds and other Bornean wildlife), check out my group’s website by CLICKING HERE.