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Family trips to national parks sparked Michael’s interest in wildlife. He narrowed his interest to birds when introduced to ornithology by a camp counselor and conducted wildflower and bird surveys at a local wildlife sanctuary for a service project in high school. His college search included courses in ornithology as an important factor.
A Presidential Scholar, Lola Aiken Scholar, and Honors College student, Michael worked with Associate Professor Allan Strong ('83) on an honors thesis, examining influence of moon phase on singing behavior of Whip-poor-wills.
Each summer, Michael expanded his experience by working on bird surveys. He counted and banded California gull chicks for the Mono Lake Committee in California to help managers better regulate lake levels. At the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge in Virginia, he surveyed nesting Piping Plovers, American Oystercatchers, and Least Terns.
Michael is off to graduate school at the University of Arizona to study effects of environmental contaminants on songbirds.