2016 Research Students

Au Sable’s commitment to original research investigation and research experience for Au Sable students will continue in force for 2016. Au Sable is happy to have six research students on board this summer.

Read about our 2016 research efforts here and meet the team below!


Reforestation Management Team


Emily Weaver

Emily Weaver earned a B.S. in Environmental Science and Historical Studies from Geneva College (PA) and is also an Au Sable alumna. She interned at Greenwood Furnace State Park (PA) where she facilitated environmental education programs and conducted invasive plant surveys. She also worked as a research assistant for the Pennsylvania State University Plant Science department, controlling invasive plant populations in Pennsylvania state parks and assisting with herbicide research studies. Emily is interested in plant ecology and ecosystem health, so she is very excited to be a part of Au Sable’s Reforestation Management project this summer.   

Joseph Tolsma

Joseph Tolsma is a junior at Northwestern College of Iowa majoring in molecular genetics with a minor in chemistry. His love for biology began as a child during summer trips to a river where he collected plants and insects. These experiences sparked a life-long curiosity about the natural world that has continued through college. Fostered by his mother, a biology professor, Joseph explored the sciences as well as ways to incorporate faith into science. He has worked alongside professors at Northwestern on a variety of research projects as a junior scholar. These projects have focused on aquatic invertebrates, water quality, soil properties, and DNA storage techniques. Along with this work, Joseph was selected to be a YECA climate fellow for the 2015-2016 school year.  In the future, he plans to continue his education in graduate school and pursue God’s redeeming work in the world. 


Kirtland's Warbler Team


Cory Snyder

Cory is a junior studying Biology Education at Greenville College in Southern Illinois. Growing up in Jerseyville IL, a small town, he learned to love the outdoors largely because of where he lived and the places his parents took his three siblings and himself! Cory played outside, camped, hunted, fished, and took part in every other outdoor activity you can think of ever since he was young. It was through these many experiences that his parents taught him that the decisions he made mattered and affected others. Recycling, planting trees, composting, and being responsible in the outdoors are just a few of the values that Cory's parents instilled in he and his siblings. It is through these experiences, attending Greenville College, growing deeper in his Christian faith, and rooming with Mason Tennell (Au Sable researcher summer 2015) that Cory realized how much he loves the environment. Loving the environment for Cory looks like sharing that love with other people and letting everyone who knows him know that he is passionate about the environment and has a deep desire to care for it. Cory is ecstatic to get the opportunity to connect his education, passion, and faith during this summer at the Au Sable Institute of Environmental Science. "I look forward to working with and learning from some of the best scientists from around the country!"

Erin Hillman

Erin will be graduating in May 2016 from Eastern University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Environmental Science with minors in Biology, Political Science and Coaching. She also took the Tropical Agriculture and Missions course in Costa Rica through the Au Sable Institute in May, 2014. In the fall of 2015 Erin completed research using ArcGIS under the supervision of Dr. Rebecca Hays at Eastern University.  The research explored Suburbanization and Land Use Pattern Changes in Delaware County, PA. During her four years at Eastern, Erin was a member of the Eastern University Volleyball team and is participating on the first Track and Field team.  She was also Treasurer of the Political Science Honors Society (Pi Sigma Alpha), and the Vice President of the Environmental Science Club.  In her spare time Erin enjoys going on trips with her family, playing beach and grass volleyball with friends and doing photography.  


Boardman River Team


Jessica Tinklenberg

Jessica Tinklenberg will graduate from Taylor University in May 2016 with a degree in biology, and will attend Purdue University in August 2016 in pursuit of a Ph.D. in wildlife ecology, focusing on avian ecology. This will be her second summer as a research assistant at Au Sable Institute, studying the effects of dam removal on macroinvertebrates in the Boardman River channel. Jessica is passionate about God’s creation and about studying it both through the natural sciences and through the arts. She also enjoys being outdoors as much as possible—hiking, birding, rollerblading, sketching, or reading by the lake—and drinking far too much coffee. 

Alison Goetz

Alison Goetz is an undergraduate senior earning a bachelor degree in biology with an emphasis on marine/aquatic science.  She researched the zooplankton community ecology of nearshore Lake Michigan on Beaver Island last summer, and previously conducted a short project on the salinity tolerance of sea anemones at the Gulf Coast Research Lab in Mississippi.  In addition to research, Alison has a passion for marine animal care and rescue, and participated in a full-time marine mammal/carnivore animal care internship semester at the Indianapolis Zoo in Indiana, and an exotic animal care internship at the Newport Aquarium in Kentucky.  Alison currently volunteers as a SCUBA diver at the Newport Aquarium for the underwater maintenance of exhibits and in the shark tank as a safety diver for show presenters.  She enjoys pottery and other creative arts, is an avid sailor, and looks forward to this summer’s work on the Boardman River at Au Sable Institute.