Faces of AOS: Olivia Jo Utley Bio

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• My position with AOS:
Membership Committee member

• My current full-time title and institution:
PhD student at Michigan State University

• My current career stage:
Graduate Student

• My lineage of mentors/labs:
In undergrad I worked under Dr. David Westneat for 3 years at University of Kentucky, and I now work with Dr. Catherine Lindell at MSU

• #badlyexplainyourjob:
I put up next boxes in orchards and hope “good” birds come. Then I use a giant boat battery and a camera to do surveillance and see if the “good” birds chase the “bad” birds out of the orchards.

• My favorite bird and why:
This is so so so tough, because I can find a reason to love every one of them, but I’m gonna go with American Kestrels because they’re so small and yet such feisty birds. They’re fighters and I love it!

• I am involved with AOS because:
Because I love and research birds and I think it’s important to connect with others who do as well to progress ornithology and the overlapping fields of research. Science is nothing if it’s not being shared and pushed forward.

• The best part about being a member of AOS is:
Connecting with people who are as passionate as you are about wildlife and science!

• Birds are important to me because:
I think they are an amazingly unique group of organisms and are vital to the ecological functions of this planet, on top of just being very cool creatures and fun to work with.

• Advice I have to offer a student (master’s level or younger) in ornithology:
Get involved in everything. Like yesterday.

• One ornithology question or problem I would like to solve or see solved:
How humans can coexist with birds with minimal negative impact on them. Also why have AMKE’s been on the decline for 40 years?


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