I started studying animal cognition and intelligence during my undergraduate experience at Bard College, where I had the opportunity to test the problem-solving abilities of a New Zealand parrot, the kea. This catapulted me directly into thinking about the nitty gritty questions of animal intelligence, and I haven't stopped since! Now I'm a third year graduate student in the Psychology PhD program at Oakland University. I started studying skunks in my second year here (September 2014) with a test of their visual acuity; that study was to help us better design puzzles for skunks. It turns out they have pretty poor vision, but still good enough to see large puzzles! We always try and use food rewards at least 1"x1" to ensure they can see the food.
As well as this project, I'm researching the innovative abilities of bears and cats, the mood biases and photograph recognition of an American black bear, if gorillas and black bears can spatially represent numbers, and mood biases in rescued and neglected horses.
In my (non-existent) free time, I ride my horse, Jazz, through the Michigan woods with my twin sister. Being a twin has definitely influenced my passion for science. Growing up, the two of us dissected all of our differences, trying to pinpoint the exact environmental factor that caused them (e.g. she is 3 inches taller than me, probably due to her getting more nutrition in the womb). I also enjoy playing board games, hiking, camping, and trying to teach my dog how to play fetch.