Recent Environmental Science Alumni

Corey Callaghan - MS August 2015

I grew up in a small town in Western New York and have always been enthralled by the outdoors. I received a B.S. in Environmental Sciences and Mathematics in 2013 from Canisius College located in Buffalo, NY. Through my undergraduate studies, I became enveloped in birds and birding. I then did undergraduate research focusing on the nocturnal flight-calling behavior of warblers. I have conducted bird surveys as a biological technician for the USFWS and the Rocky Mountain Bird Observatory. My experiences and avid interest in birds led me to Dr. Gawlik’s lab, where I look forward to the opportunities that lie ahead. I received my Masters in Environmental Science from FAU in August 2015. For my thesis, I studied the Purple Swamphen and conducted the first formal study on the species in North America. I analyzed their diet contents and investigated for any selectivity they may be showing. I also used a modeling approach to investigate how/if exotic birds spread from urban to natural areas.

Leonardo Calle - MS May 2014

I got introduced to ecology in 2005 after reading Alan Beck's book on the "Ecology of Stray Dogs". Beck's research focused on the impact of stray dog populations on public health. He investigated, successfully, relationships between the distribution and abundance of stray dogs in Baltimore, socioeconomics, trash pick-up days, nutrient distribution, and rodents. I found his observations to be incredibly keen and creative, and they were what had initially inspired my pursuit of ecology. I returned to college in 2006, and shortly thereafter, in 2008, I volunteered as a field technician in the Avian Ecology Laboratory. My first real experience in ecology was flying in a helicopter to remote parts of the Everglades. I was hooked. The folks in the lab, and Dr. Gawlik, have been incredibly supportive and great mentors. I have been with the lab since that time, and I have involved myself in a variety of research projects and ecology education outreach programs. I am also proud to say that I am part of the Ecological Society of America's SEEDS program and the SEEDS chapter at FAU.

I received a B.S. in Biological Science from FAU in 2010, and I received my Master’s in the Environmental Sciences program at FAU in May 2014. For my thesis research, I examined the effects of hydrological and habitat factors on intertidally foraging wading birds and developed a predictive model of wading bird foraging habitat for intertidal systems.

Leo is currently pursuing a Ph.D. at Montana State University.

Richard Botta - MS May 2014

Although I acquired interests in my surrounding natural environment at an early age, I have not academically approached it until recently. Initially, I received my B.B.A. in International Business and Trade from FAU in 2007. As I completed this degree, I realized my true interests were elsewhere. As a young boy I spent much time outdoors, both here in the states, and in Argentina. Many days were spent with the wilderness as my playground. With this in mind, I returned to FAU to gain the tools I needed for a career in the environmental sciences.

After taking classes in the disciplines of Ecology and GIS, I volunteered in the Avian Ecology Lab here at FAU with a large scale project studying aquatic prey concentrations for wading birds in the Everglades. This only opened my appetite for research in these fields, and this lead to becoming a technician for the Fauna Concentration Project. Afterwards, I aided as a technician for a project with avian communities in the Stormwater Treatment Areas in the Northern Everglades. I received my M.S. in Environmental Sciences from FAU in May 2014. For my thesis, I used environmental factors, including vegetation and hydrology to create a habitat suitability model for wading birds in Lake Okeechobee and validated the model using Lake Okeechobee nest effort data.

Rich is currently an Environmental Scientist with the South Florida Water Management District.