Highlighting Graduate Student Activities

From the Field – A tale of two chipmunks Read about MVZ Graduate Student Kwasi Wrensford’s field work adventures with chipmunks in the most recent edition of Berkeley Science Review. (Design by Natalie Goh)

Where have all the vultures gone? MVZ’s Mackenzie Kirchner-Smith Investigates! Today, 14 of the world’s 23 vulture species are threatened with extinction, particularly in Africa and Asia. In California, the California condor, categorized as “extinct in the wild” in 1987, remains critically endangered. Mackenzie said, “In recent California history, for a time we were down to a single scavenger — the turkey vulture. And that’s a huge shift from having five different scavenging birds at one time.” Mackenzie is investigating how vultures differ from other raptors by focusing their overall skull morphology.

In the April issue of “Meet the MVZ” learn about how students and faculty have adjusted and refocused one year after lock-down.


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As part of Women’s History Month and UC Berkeley’s annual Big Give fundraiser the MVZ is excited to share profiles of female graduate students at the museum.

Congratulations to MVZ graduate students Kwasi Wrensford and Lawrence Wang on being selected as part of the inaugural class of Science at Cal’s Berkeley SciComm fellows!

In the December issue of “Meet the MVZ” learn about second year PhD student Valeria Ramírez-Castañeda and her efforts to promote diversity and inclusion in the sciences. Valeria is in Dr. Rebecca Tarvin’s Lab and was recently published in the PLOS ONE Journal.


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MVZ Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Working Group presents the “Meet the MVZ” newsletter! “Meet the MVZ” introduces the graduate students, affiliates, and postdocs that have joined our community over the past year.


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Learn about Shannon O’Brien’s (Lacey Lab) research on Tuco-tucos. Her recent paper in Biological Journal of the Linnean Society (Facultative sociality in a subterranean rodent, the highland tuco-tuco (Ctenomys opimus) was made into a video by the Linnean Society. Don’t know what a Tuco-tuco is? Find out below!