College of Science and Mathematics

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Cal Poly Student to Travel to Africa to Conduct Research

A Cal Poly student will travel to Kenya later this year to conduct research on marine protected areas.

Michelle Meyers, a senior majoring in biological sciences, will continue research she began last year while working with Cal Poly biologist and California Sea Grant extension agent Jennifer O’Leary.

While in Kenya, Meyers will assess management practices and take part in a national meeting of wildlife managers from the Kenya Wildlife Service. The research builds on Meyers’ senior thesis, which evaluated what fishermen, vendors and other locals know about the ocean and marine protected areas and how important they think these areas are.

“I never thought that I would be able to travel and go see how this work has affected that area,” Meyer said. “I think this experience will definitely prepare me for the future.”

Meyers was selected as a recipient of a Baker and Koob Learn by Doing grant. The $2,500 grant will fund her travel to Kenya. The grant — named for former Cal Poly President Warren J. Baker and former Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Robert D. Koob — supports hands-on, project-based learning opportunities for Cal Poly students.

"Michelle really embodies the Cal Poly Learn By Doing approach,” said O’Leary, adding that Meyers has taken a leadership role in entering and evaluating data.

“Given Michelle's work ethic and dedication to this project, I am very excited that the Baker Koob Award is allowing her to come to East Africa,” she said. “This is a truly unique opportunity for a biology undergrad to learn about on-the-ground conservation and management."

Although she knows she’ll be taken out of her comfort zone, Meyer says she’s excited to travel to Kenya.

“I never thought I would be given an opportunity like this, especially as an undergrad,” she said. “So I’m really honored to truly get out there and Learn by Doing.”

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