Maggie Saunders always knew she wanted to work in animal conservation.
Maggie Saunders was never a bird lover. That’s until she completed an internship at Second Chance Wildlife Center, a Maryland wildlife rehabilitation hospital where she cared for up to 100 birds at a time.
“I used to be a big mammal person, but 75 percent of the animals we took in at the center were birds,” explains Saunders. “We nurtured baby birds from incubators to small cages to the flight cage.”
As a freshman biology major, Saunders knew she wanted to work with animals or in conservation. Biology professor Mark Bulmer taught an animal behavior course, and Saunders recalls how “Professor Bulmer helped me find my way to pursue the animal behavior concentration,” part of the interdisciplinary studies program.
This led her to get involved with a research project on ghost knife fish, working with biology professor Jay Nelson.
“During mating, the fish generate a larger electrical output. We look at sensory patterns and electric signals during courtship to help us identify the sex of the fish,” describes Saunders, who is grateful for the hands-on opportunities she had in the fish biology course at TU.
She plans to pursue a master’s in applied animal behavior and conservation, a natural selection for a student who worked on a horse farm during high school and whose family conducted an annual spring turtle patrol in rural Calvert County.
“Animal conservation can do amazing things for a species,” says Saunders. “I am looking forward to contributing to the field and protecting and extending the life of certain types of animals.”