Nora Abelsen

Wildlife Ecology and Conversation Sciences

What the Research Entailed

Nora Abelsen working at desk in office.

This past year and semester I was a lab assistant/technical assistant for the Mammal Spatial Ecology and Conservation Lab. My mentor was Dr. Dan Thornton. For my research project, I assisted one of the researchers where I sorted camera trap images taken in northern Washington into separate folders so that they would be ready for analyzing. I also did equipment (cameras, livetraps, locks) inventory, maintenance, and testing.

Becoming a CAHNRS Coug

I am a freshman majoring in Wildlife Ecology and Conservation. Being part of the Ignite program made me feel connected to some of the faculty and students. It helped me experience actual research going on at WSU. The Ignite program was one of the reasons why I chose to come to WSU. The opportunity to gain experience was something special to WSU that I did not see at other universities.

What the Research Taught Nora

Before this year I had a vague idea of what a future in environmental sciences would look like. Being able to see and be part of actual research has helped show me what it would be like. Having the opportunity to get involved instead of just seeing and hearing about it was very beneficial in helping me see that this is the field I want to be part of. Working in a lab has taught me that every area of research starts out with seemingly simple work, but it is important because it is what everything else is built from. I also have learned about species in Washington and what to look for to identify different animals. My favorite part about the research was looking through the photos and seeing what animals lived in that area. I liked seeing how the kinds of animals and their prevalence varied with the different locations. There were so many pictures of situations that I would never have seen in person, and it was exciting to see how animals behave without human presence or interference. I definitely want to do more research in wildlife ecology and conservation in the future at WSU.