NSF Undergraduate Mentoring in

Environmental Biology (UMEB)

Texas A&M University System



Dr. Rodney Honeycutt


Dr. Robin Autenrieth

Dr. Lee Fitzgerald

Dr. Frances Gelwick

Dr. Heather Wilkinson

Dr. Kirk Winemiller

2003 Student Researchers


Texas A&M University

Department of WFSC

TAMU-Corpus Christi

TAMU International University


For Additional Information or To Apply, Contact

Dr. Rodney Honeycutt

Our Program

The Texas A&M UMEB program brings together environmental biology faculty from Texas A&M University, and faculty and undergraduate students from other A&M System institutions that have high percentages of minority students

Prairie View A&M University
Texas A&M-Corpus Christi
Texas A&M International University
Texas A&M-Kingsville

Five to ten students will spend each academic year working with a faculty mentor from their home institutions, and then spend the summer working with a Texas A&M University mentor and conducting field and laboratory research.

Throughout their participation in the program, there will be a constant interaction between the students and mentors. It's a good way to get the students to consider graduate school and increase interest in environmental biology as a career.

Faculty from participating schools will identify and recruit qualified, motivated students for the multi-year program. We hope to recruit students in their sophomore or junior years, so that participating students may continue their mentoring experience through their senior years.

The Texas A&M University faculty mentors and co-PIs are:

Rodney Honeycutt, professor in the Departments of Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences, and Biology;

Robin Autenrieth, an environmental engineer and professor in the Department of Civil Engineering;

Lee Fitzgerald, associate professor of Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences;

Frances Gelwick, assistant professor of Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences;

Heather Wilkinson, assistant professor of Plant Pathology and Microbiology; and

Kirk Winemiller, professor of Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences.

Research interests of the faculty mentors include food webs, managing fisheries, stream ecology, plant-parasite interactions, environmental risk assessment and toxicology and population genetics of threatened or endangered species.

Summer 2003 Student Researchers


commom eiderManuel De Los Santos- Coming Soon





N IbarraNatalie Ibarra- A sophomore in Biology at Texas A&M International University in Laredo. Her academic interests relate to the evolution and ecology of fishes, specifically predator/prey interactions and other life history strategies.

At her home institution, Natalie has participated in research on the monitoring of water quality in the Rio Grande, and she has considerable laboratory experience associated with the biochemistry of a variety of animals.

This past summer Natalie worked with Dr. Frances Gelwick on the effects of salinity on growth and survival of juvenile pinfish. These microcosm experiments were used to evaluate response of juvenile pinfish to varying degrees of salinity as a basis for understanding how changes in salinity might influence other species of fish in areas subjected to changes in salinity.

This fall Natalie will continue her research in Laredo under the supervision of Dr. Ken Tobin. Natalie's long-range goal is to pursue an advance degree in either marine science or aquatic biology.


R LopezRosana Lopez- A junior in the Biology at Texas A&M University-Kingsville. After a break in her college career, Rosie decided to complete her Bachelor's degree. After taking a course from Dr. Andy Soto, she began volunteering in his laboratory, where she identified and enumerated fish samples.

Through this volunteer work, she gained an interest in parasite assemblages associated with fish communities and the overall food habits of various species of fish.

This past summer Rosie collaborated with Jenny Birnbaum and Dr. Kirk Winemiller at Texas A&M-College Station on a project pertaining to the effects of brush management on the diet and growth of the green sunfish occupying the Perdenales River Basin.

This research required extensive field collecting as well as numerous hours associated with the identification of food items derived from dissected stomach contents. Rosie plans to incorporate the techniques learned this summer into an on-going research project in Dr. Soto’s lab at Kingsville. Rosie's long-rang goals are to continue her education and hopefully earn either a Masters of Science or Doctorate degree in Biology.



E OchoaElizabeth Ochoa- A sophomore majoring in Biology at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi.

Beginning in the fall of 2003, she will transfer to Cornell University or the University of California at Santa Barbara where she wants to pursue a degree in Ecology with an emphasis on Avian Biology.

Elizabeth has experience with wildife rehabilitation through her participation at the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina Recovery Center, and she has participated in research on the Saw Whet Owl.

This past summer she conducted with Glenn Proudfoot and Dr. Rodney Honeycutt on research pertaining to sex ratios and sexual dimorphism in the Ferruginous Pygmy Owl, a species listed as endangered in Arizona and of special concern in Texas. Molecular techniques were used to genetically determine the sex of nestlings and compare to field identification techniques base on plumage color.

In the future, Elizabeth wants to conduct research on intraspecific communication patterns, behavior and habitat use in birds. She used this past summer as a means of learning research methods, both laboratory and field, that may prove useful in her later graduate studies.


C RobertsonClinton Robertson- A junior in the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences at Texas A&M-College Station. His emphasis area is Fisheries Ecology and Management, and his long-range goal is to pursue a Masters of Science degree.

Currently, he is conducting research with Dr. Kirk Winemiller on the resource use of sympatric species of gar located in associated oxbow lakes and the Middle Brazos River system.

Upon completion of Bachelor of Science degree, Clint plans to seek a Masters degree in fisheries biology. His professional goals include working with the fisheries program at Texas Park and Wildlife, and eventually working with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on broader issues of fisheries management and protection.

After retirement, Clinton aspires to becoming a professional bass angler.


R RamosRegina Ramos- A junior in Biology at Texas A&M-Kingsville. Her main academic interests are ecology, genetics, molecular biology, and plant physiology.

Under the direction of Dr. Alice Hempel, Regina has developed an interest in botanical systems, especially as they relate to genetics and physiology. One of her main goals is to learn more about techniques used to study the genetics of plant populations.

This past summer Regina worked with Dr. Heather Wilkinson at Texas A&M-College Station on the influence of parental genotype and mating types on quantitative traits in field isolates of Neurospora crassa. This required the analysis of ascospores derived from the progeny of 32 possible crosses.

She intends to continue her collaboration with Dr. Wilkinson and learn more molecular techniques in Kingsville. Regina's long-range goal is obtain an advanced degree in either plant genetics or plant physiology. She feels that early exposure to a variety of methods will provide her with the necessary expertise to pursue research in the future.


C Solis Christina Solis- Coming Soon








Last modified: 29 August, 2003