Ph.D. Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, 2005
Year of Memory: 1999
Having been a graduate student in the Museum of Zoology from 1999 – 2005, the Ruthven Museum is at the heart of my whole Michigan experience.
In the winter of 1999, I came to visit campus as a prospective graduate student, and after my shuttle from the airport dropped me off in front of the Michigan League, I proceeded straight to the museum to meet with faculty. Within the first few minutes of browsing the exhibit museum, I decided that the University of Michigan was the place for me. I had a strong and immediate sense of belonging.
I have many wonderful memories from both the exhibit museum and the research wings, but perhaps my favorite is from one of the times I was leaving the museum at 2am after an evening of researching bat behavior for my dissertation. As I was walking in the basement hallway, about to return home for the night, a bat flew past my head. At first this didn’t register as odd, because I’d just left a room full of my own research subjects three floors up. But then it occurred to me that the basement hallway was not where I should be seeing a bat fly around. Too lazy to return to the 3rd floor to get my butterfly net, I successfully used my baseball cap to catch the bat mid-flight (on the first try!). It was not one of my research subjects, but instead a local big brown bat that had made its way inside, and who was trying to find his way out. I was glad to oblige him.