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Joe W. Ecology and Environmental Biology


South Milwaukee, WI


Ecology and Environmental Biology


Member of Foodlums: The Foodlums are a community of local food advocates that meet together to learn about local food, eat great food, and grow their own food, all with the intent of creating a more sustainable Eau Claire. 

What is your favorite course?

I think my favorite course would have to be conservation biology(Biology 328) but I liked my nutrition course too, and studies of tropical environments.

Who is your favorite professor?

It's a three way tie between Prof. Deb Fruend, Prof. Paula Kleintjes – Neff and Prof. Todd Wellnitz, but I am not trying to play favorites. I have had the better half of the biology department as my professor, and they all have been great.


Have you done research? If so what are you researching?

I've been able to take part in many research projects.  I've done two research projects on lichen community ecology, one project on riparian stream invertebrates, and one psychology research project on women in STEM disciplines. This coming summer I will be traveling to Cambodia for six weeks to do a biological assessment of community forest maintained by villagers and Buddhist monks.

Where has your research taken you?

In the spring 2011 I went to Argentina through the TIES program and spent the semester learning about the geology, biology, economics and culture of the Andes Mountains and the region of Mendoza. I also spent the last summer as an intern in the Galapagos Islands and I was able to take a class through UWEC studying island ecology. See photos below from my travels.

What skills or techniques in biology have you learned at UWEC?

Tons of stuff. Off the top of my head, I learned how to use statistical analysis programs( ex ArcMap, R, Excel), build research studies, create a diet plan, identify insects, plants, birds, fish. I've dissected animals, sequenced my own DNA, mixed chemicals, I have learned a lot cool things.

"My favorite experiences would have to be my research opportunities. They allowed me to do a lot of traveling and learn a lot about the world and simultaneously about myself. They have done a lot to shape me."

Have you had any internships or jobs related to your field?

Yes, I was an intern at the Charles Darwin Research Station (CDRS) in the Galapagos
Islands last summer. It was a tremendous experience in many different ways. My
job was to photograph and maintain plant specimens in the CDRS herbarium as
well as us a computer program to prepare animal, plant, and insect photos for
the stations online database. This is a link to one of my photographs. You can see my name in the copy write

Have you presented at any conferences or authored or co-authored any papers?

Yes, I've been a co-author on one paper, and presented six posters at student research day. I have presented at Ecological Society of Americas annual conference in Austin TX in 2010. I will hopefully be presenting the research I do this summer at the Asia Network annual conference in Chicago next spring.

What are your favorite UWEC spots and events?

I like to listen to live jazz and other shows put on in the cabin. They are great because they are free, low key and have booked really talented people.  The forum is also a great place to see a show. I also like to listen to guest speakers in the Bio department. There is also a free movie put on in the theater every week so I hit that up sometimes.

Excellence. Our Measure. Our Motto. Our Goal.