Ian VanDonkelaar; Masters Student
I was born and raised in southwestern Ohio, where I spent a lot of time in the woods and fields. I always loved going out and looking for fossils. This eventually led me to get my BS in geology at the University of Cincinnati. While I was there I was the saber coach for the fencing club. UC hosted the North American Paleontological Convention during June 2009. Dr. Dornbos gave a presentation about the changing information landscape during the early Cambrian. After talking with him afterwards and ended up here at UWM perusing a MS in Paleoecology from the Geosciences department.
- Previous degrees (Degree and University)?
I have a BS in geology from the University of Cincinnati.
- Expected graduation date?
- What is your field of study and how would you describe it to a prospective graduate student?
Paleoecology with a focus on sensory structure evolution, feeding habit and movement type in early Cambrian arthropods. Basically I’m measuring the length and with of eyes and antennae and comparing them to body length. I then add in the movement type and feeding strategy of each species and look for patterns.
- What brought you to UWM to study Geosciences for your graduate degree?
Dr. Dornbos was giving a presentation at the NAPC meeting at the University of Cincinnati. I talked to him afterwards and he mentioned that he had funding for the project and that he was looking for a graduate student to work on it and encouraged me to apply at UWM.
- What's been your best experience so far?
My favorite experience so far was when I got to tour Chengjiang and Fuxian Lake in China when I went there to gather specimens.
- In graduate School, have you gotten the opportunity to travel as part of your education?
Yes. I went to Chengjiang in China’s Yunnan province to get my samples.
- What trait or thing has allowed you to succeed in graduate school?
The help and advice that I have received from the professors.
- Do you have any advice that you would give to a new graduate student in your program?
Time management is really important, procrastination kills.
- What has been the hardest part about being a graduate student (Is there anything that you've had to "give up" as a graduate student)?
The hardest part was last fall when my schedule got pretty crazy. As for things that I had to give up, I didn’t have air conditioning last summer and it was pretty rough.
- What are your plans after you graduate?
To find a job, preferably one that still allows me to do field work.
- How would you describe the Department of Geosciences at UWM to a prospective student?
It’s a small department full of friendly people, so if you need help with something you shouldn’t hesitate to ask.
- What has been your favorite activity while you’ve been in Graduate School in Milwaukee?
- What do you most enjoy about Milwaukee?
There’s a hardware store about a block away from my house and I’ve met a few other archers since I’ve been here.