Summer 2019 MSC Students
Written by Adam Stergis
The department of Invertebrate Zoology received some invaluable help in the summer of 2019 thanks to some very passionate and motivated students. Zainab Hayat, Charlotte Adamo, Madelyn Jamsa, and Matias Zenklusen all contributed their time and hard work to the department's collections at the Museum Support Center this past summer. Whether it be updating the curation of older specimens, scanning taxonomic data for our database, or rehousing specimens in the USDA parasite collection, these students presented an outstanding quality of work with a great degree of enthusiasm, and their work is very much appreciated by all of us in the department.
Zainab Hayat helped catalog and archive taxonomy cards, preserve newly acquired specimens, and manage old invertebrate collections. The Smithsonian was a big part of Zainab’s childhood, so she was thrilled to find an opportunity for a summer internship at the NMNH. Because this internship will allow her to grow as a researcher, educator and collaborator, she knows that she will be better prepared for her future in medicine. One of the most rewarding things for Zainab is the ability to work with the museum’s extensive collections, including an octopus collected by John Steinbeck. Zainab is a senior at the University of Maryland, College Park, pursuing a degree in Political Science.
Maddie Jamsa worked primarily on collections and research material management. Her roles included digitizing taxonomy cards, helping to maintain the crayfish collections, and learning sample preservation techniques as well as curation of preserved specimens. This past summer, Maddie’s goal was to get a better understanding of collections management, the process of preserving invertebrates, and the nuances of working in a research lab. Growing up and attending school in the Metro area allowed her to experience the NMNH from an early age—it’s her favorite museum. Maddie loves the museum’s atmosphere and the amazing people within it, so this internship is perfect for preparing for her future goals. Maddie is an undergraduate at the University of Maryland pursuing a degree in Environmental Science and Policy with an emphasis on Wildlife Ecology.
Charlotte Adamo focused on rehousing parasite specimens (mostly nematodes) from the USDA collections into the NMNH collections, and arranging them according to species. For Charlotte, this internship was an incredible behind-the-scenes experience and helped shape her understanding of the inner workings of institutions that serve both as formative experiences of wonder and inspiration, as well as resources for research. Charlotte was interested in being able to have direct contact with specimens and to understand the techniques used in curation more thoroughly. Charlotte is a junior at Princeton University pursuing a degree in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology with minors in Latin and Visual Arts.
Matias Zenklusen helped us out this summer as a volunteer and largely participated in digitizing taxonomy cards, sorting and separating out mixed lots of multiple taxa, and recurating specimens from the parasite collection. He valued the opportunity to learn about the different species of parasites that live in our world, as well as the work that goes into maintaining a museum collection. This volunteer experience has fueled his interest in finding more opportunities to work with the National Museum of Natural History in any capacity so he can learn more about the natural world. Matias is a junior biology major and paleobiology minor at the University of Maryland in College Park, Maryland.