For some, the woods serve as a peaceful sanctuary – an escape from the noise and pressures of life. The woods are also a place to observe the beauty of nature and its many living creatures.
A perceptive Emily Cieplik ’19 grew up exploring the woods near her home, taking notice of the toads, bugs, and birds.
“I used to bring toads home and keep them for one day before releasing them,” said Emily. “Eventually I became really interested in birds. They are all unique and interesting to watch.”
Emily brought her love for nature with her to SUNY Corning Community College, where she majored in liberal arts math and science.
“Being able to start at SUNY CCC is exactly what I needed out of high school because I was very shy, and I needed the small class sizes to build my confidence,” said the Corning, N.Y. native. “It has also given me the opportunity to do different research projects.”
In her General Biology II course, Emily completed an independent research project, where she researched the feeding behaviors of Black-capped Chickadees. This project solidified her decision to become an ornithologist.
According to Professor of Biology, Dave Pindel, Emily’s love for nature and science has grown at a remarkable pace.
“Emily has a deep appreciation for the natural world and a strong level of confidence in herself that continues to grow,” said Dave. “All of these things will benefit her greatly as she moves forward toward a career in ornithology."
After graduation in May, Emily plans to transfer to either SUNY Oswego, or SUNY ESF (SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry) to study zoology or wildlife science.
“When I become an ornithologist I want to perform research on bird migration patterns and their different behaviors,” said Emily. “But eventually I would like to become a professor. I would love to be able to teach students one day.”
For right now, Emily is looking forward to focusing on her major. She’s also eager to move away from home for the first time.
“It’s scary, but exciting,” she said. “I’ve gained a lot of confidence over the past two years and now I’m excited for new opportunities.”