LAB MEMBERS

Katie Willgohs

ECCPL Lab Manager & Lead Researcher

FAB Research Associate

Katie is double majoring in Psychology and Animal Studies, with a minor in Environmental Studies. She grew up visiting facilities such as the Clearwater Marine Aquarium, Dolphin Research Center, Dolphins Plus, and SeaWorld which sparked her love for animals. Katie started in the ECCPL as a First Year Research Associate, and she continues working with other students in the Dog Behavior & Cognition Lab to conduct research studies, such as examining creative abilities in dogs as well object permanence capabilities in dogs. Katie is also assisting Prof. Highfill with elephant research as a research intern at ZooTampa. Before starting at the zoo, dolphins were her favorite animals, but elephants are quickly working their way into her heart. Katie’s favorite part about working in the lab is attending the International Conference on Comparative Cognition every year, as this is a great opportunity to meet others in the field and learn about their projects. After graduating, Katie hopes to earn her doctorate and use it to educate others on animal conservation and the importance of zoos.

Kerri Olzewski

FAB Lab Lab Manager & Primary Research Assistant

Kerri is double majoring in Psychology and Animal Studies. She grew up in the suburbs of Chicago very close to the Shedd Aquarium where she quickly realized her passion for animals and the environment. She participated in various teen programs and trips there before heading to Eckerd to continue learning. She is now apart of Professor Erin Frick’s Animal Behavior Lab, where they are currently planning exciting research on animal behavior. Kerri is also an intern and volunteer at the Florida Aquarium where she is continuing learning and working with various animals. She claims to have no favorite animal, but River Otters are close to the top of her list due to working with the ones that live at the Florida Aquarium so closely. Kerri is almost always surrounded by animals, whether it is at the aquarium or the dog day care she works at. After graduating, Kerri plans on working within the Association of Zoos and Aquariums community, in hopes to continue working on animal behavior and enrichment.

This interaction occurred under the supervision of the Florida Aquariums Animal Ambassador Internship.

Jenna Williams

ECCPL Lab Manager & Lead Researcher

Jenna is double majoring in Animal Studies and Psychology with a minor in Biology. Jenna started in the ECCPL as a First Year Research Associate, and she continues working with other students on studying dog welfare in dorms versus houses. She has a research internship with ZooTampa this summer where she will be studying the impact certain exhibits and experiences have on the willingness of visitors to reduce their plastic waste. Jenna grew up visiting many zoos, like the St. Louis Zoo and the San Diego Zoo, but her love for animals started with her first pet dog when she was three. After graduating, Jenna hopes to earn her graduate degree in animal studies and work to improve the lives of animals.

Michele Chaky

ECCPL Lead Researcher

Michele is triple majoring in Psychology, French, and Animal Studies. She first started working as a First Year Research Associate, studying dog behavior and cognition in the Eckerd College Dog Lab. Her love for animals started when she was 10 and first swam with dolphins. She spent the following years visiting places such as Clearwater Marine Aquarium, Dolphin Research Center, and GulfWorld Marine Park. She completed a marine mammal training internship with Southern Sea Otters at the Audubon Aquarium of the Americas. She currently is a behavioral research intern at ZooTampa studying the effect of up-close encounters on guests' conservation habits. After graduating, Michele wishes to spend the rest of her life with animals and apply her knowledge from Eckerd and ECCPL to educate the public on marine mammals, animal behavior, and conservation.


Kayla Fulkerson

ECCPL Lead Researcher

Kayla is an Animals Studies major, minoring in Psychology and Leadership Studies. Growing up with 3 cats around the house, and visiting facilities like The Denver Zoo, Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, and Busch Gardens Tampa Bay she has loved animals from a young age. For multiple summers in high school, Kayla participated in the Zoo, and Vet Careers camps at Busch Gardens allowing her to gain experience working with animals like elephants, tigers, general hoofstock, hippos, rhinos, cheetahs, and many more. This furthered her love for animals, and inspired her to become an advocate for conservation of species. After graduating, she wants to pursue a career in animal care or zoo education and conservation.

Adrianna Pulido

ECCPL Project Assistant

Adrianna is a double major in Animal Studies and Psychology. During the summer, she will be doing an internship at Croc Encounters maintaining the habitats of the animals. Adrianna grew up in a small town, but her love for marine life started when she was very young and spent her summers in Florida with her aunt and uncle. After graduating, she hopes to work as an animal trainer. She aspires to one day open her own dolphin-assisted therapy facility for children/adolescents with disabilities.

Cassidy Frieling

ECCPL Video Observer & Data Entry

Cassidy is majoring in Animal Studies with a minor in Marine Science. Growing up, she went to the Denver Zoo, Cheyenne Mountain Zoo and Denver Aquarium. She has been with the Denver Aquarium for two years now, where she volunteers, interns with the mammal staff, and works in dive operations. She has always loved animals, but her love skyrocketed when she started scuba diving. After graduating, she hopes to continue helping animals and go into marine mammal training and rehabilitation.

Sarah Rhodes

ECCPL Video Observer & Data Entry

Sarah is an Animal Studies and Psychology major. Growing up in Florida, she visited the theme parks a lot and her favorite, beside Disney of course, was always Seaworld. Her first memory of wanting to be a Seaworld trainer was when she was about three years old and that dream has not changed at all! The summer before her senior year of high school, Sarah finally saved enough money to go to Seaworld San Antonio's career camp which allowed her to realize she was okay with having to wake up at 4 to prep all of the smelly fish for the day if it meant doing what she loved. After graduating, she hopes to become a trainer at Discovery Cove where she can teach guests about conservation issues while they are in the water with a dolphin.

Lindsay Schweizer

ECCPL Video Observer & Data Entry

FAB Lab Research Aide & Social Media Coordinator

Lindsay is a sophomore double majoring in Animal Studies and Psychology with a minor in Spanish. She is from Fairfield, Connecticut and has grown up with 3 cats always in the house. Her love for animals began when she would visit the Beardsley Zoo in Bridgeport, Connecticut and the Maritime Aquarium in Norwalk, Connecticut on school trips. One year for her birthday instead of asking for gifts, she asked for money to donate to the Beardsley Zoo. When she presented the money to the zoo director, she was taken back to play with the Ocelot and feed the black bears. Lindsay’s favorite animals are a white rhino and Great Hammerhead sharks. At Eckerd, she is involved with the lab as well as the Anthrozoology club. She went to the Bimini Shark Lab in the Bahamas and assisted with research being conducted by the lab members. She is excited about the opportunities the ECCPL offers. She hopes to become a mammal trainer or an educator about zoos and aquariums to young students in the future.

Olivia Minney

FAB Lab Project Lead and Research Associate

ECCPL Literature Searcher

Olivia Minney is a double major in Biology and Animal Studies with a minor in Chemistry. Olivia has always loved animals and have dreamed of working with them since she can remember. She is a volunteer at Elmira's Wildlife Sanctuary and cannot wait to start her work in the ASRC! She hopes to do field work studying African megafauna in her career and eventually work her way up to a position in the US Fish and Wildlife Department.

Amber Konarski

FAB Lab Research Aide

Amber is a tertiary research assistant in the FAB Lab led by Dr. Frick. She is a junior marine biology and psychology double major with a minor in animal studies. She is from Pennsylvania and grew up going to camps at SeaWorld and Busch Gardens which first got her interested in animals, specifically marine mammals. Her favorite activity is scuba diving and she hopes to get her divemaster certification soon. During her freshman year, she began volunteering in the sea turtle rehabilitation department at The Clearwater Marine Aquarium. She has had two internships in Roatan, Honduras doing dolphin training and research. Eventually she hopes to end up working with marine mammals through animal care and training.

Aimee Beliveau

FAB Lab Research Associate

Aimee is double majoring in Animal Studies and Marine Science with a specialization in Marine Biology. She has just begun as a Tertiary Level Research Assistant in Professor Frick’s Animal Behavior Lab and can’t wait to start on a project. Growing up, Aimee attended at least one camp at the Indianapolis Zoo each summer and they were always her favorite. Since then, she has made a habit of visiting a zoo or aquarium on every trip she takes. Her love for animals began with her pet dog, hamster, and fish. This summer, she hopes to participate in a summer research program focused on marine mammals or sea turtles. After graduation, she plans to attend graduate school and pursue a research career studying the behavior of marine animals.

Victoria Brown

FAB Lab Research Aide

Victoria is a double major in Psychology and Animal Studies at Eckerd. Growing up she was constantly as the zoo as her mom was a zoo keeper at Brookfield Zoo in Chicago. Her love for animals really started when she visited the Shedd Aquarium with her kindergarten class. She has worked at and completed many of the teen programs at Shedd Aquarium since she was a sophomore in high school. She is now a part of Professor Frick’s Animal Behavior Lab as a Tertiary Level Research Assistant and she couldn’t be more excited. Her favorite animal is the sea turtle and one days she hopes to be a trainer for turtles deemed "non-releasable”.

Lily Collins

FAB Lab Research Associate

Lily Collins is a first year majoring in Animal Studies with a minor in Biology. She grew up in a suburb close to Chicago, Illinois. Lily is very passionate about marine mammals and loves to visit various aquariums as she travels. Her love for marine mammals grew from learning how to scuba dive at 11 years old and diving in different locations. Her interest for marine mammals, specifically dolphins, strengthened over the summer as she participated in a Teen DolphinLab with Dolphin Research Center. She is very excited to work with this lab and learn more.

Hana Koilpillai

FAB Lab Project Lead

Hana is a second year student double majoring in Marine Biology and Animal Studies, with a minor in Spanish. Hana has always loved animals, beginning with her love of dogs and horses. From a very young age, she knew she wanted to grow up and work with dolphins. When Hana began scuba diving her love for the oceans and its life grew, and she knew she wanted to pursue a career in marine science. She is also pursuing animal studies in hopes of integrating both majors to find a career in rescue and rehabilitation of marine mammals after graduating from Eckerd.

Caitlin Venancio

FAB Lab Research Aide

Cait Venancio is a freshman at Eckerd majoring in Animal Studies with a minor in Coastal Management and Environmental Studies. Growing up with 3 dogs and going to places such as Mystic Aquarium, Roger Williams Park Zoo, and Disney’s Animal Kingdom has sparked Cait’s passion for animals. As a child, she attended a summer camp at a local animals shelter that taught about pet care for a variety of animals. After Eckerd, Cait wants to work with habitat management or zoo/ aquarium animal conservation education.

Olivia Felicia

FAB Lab Research Associate

Olivia Felicia is a Sophomore at Eckerd College, double majoring in Animal Studies and Marine Science. She is originally from New Jersey, but she loves her second home in Florida! After college, she hopes to work with a marine wildlife rescue and with rehabilitation. Her favorite animal in the entire world would absolutely be her dog, Guinness, who loves popcorn just as much as she does. She really enjoys learning and working at Eckerd and she is really excited to be a part of the FAB Lab!

Moriah Young

FAB Lab Research Aide

Moriah Young is a third year student who is working towards a double major in Visual Arts and Animal Studies at Eckerd. She is also working towards a double minor in Art History and Italian! Moriah enjoys hanging out with friends, creating art, and spending time with her two bunnies! She hopes to pursue a career in animal behavior, whether in research or training.

Julia Groeber

FAB Lab Research Aide

Julia Groeber is a Junior and a Psychology and Animal Studies Double major. She has always had a love for the beach and the ocean and her favorite animals are Sea Turtles. She would like to become an animal trainer or study animal behavior at an aquarium or conservation/rehab center in the future.

Meghan Cook

FAB Lab Research Aide

Meghan Cook is a Junior at Eckerd College, with a love of marine mammals! She has worked with animals including: California Sea Lions, Moray Eels, and more! Her goal is to one day become a marine mammal trainer with an Association of Zoos and Aquariums accredited facility (hopefully Orcas at Sea World)!

Sonny Schoenhoft

ECCPL Literature Searcher

FAB Lab Research Aide

Sonny is a double major in Animal Studies and Psychology. Her love for animals began with her 4 family dogs, foster puppy litters, and as many trips to the Brookfield Zoo, Lincoln Park Zoo, and the Shedd aquarium as possible. One of her hands on experiences with animals was as a doggy daycare attendant and shadow trainer’s assistant, this grew her interest in how animals cognitively interact together. Currently, Sonny works at Southeastern Guide Dogs in the Puppy nursery and Puppy kindergarten as a canine care technician and puppy educator. After graduating from Eckerd, Sonny hopes to become an official service dog trainer as well as travel the globe and compare how dogs behave and interact with others differently in contrasting parts of the world.

Madeline Ketner

ECCPL Literature Searcher

FAB Lab Research Associate

Madeline is majoring in Animal Studies with a minor in Biology and Spanish. Throughout high school, she worked at the Greensboro Science Center Aquarium as a docent, which allowed her to educate her community about the ocean and its inhabitants. She is passionate about marine mammals and enjoys visiting aquariums and animal sanctuaries all over the nation. This passion was sparked from a young age due to spending a lot of her childhood on the East Coast. She is particularly fascinated in sharks and hopes to develop a career focusing on the study of shark psychology and behavior. This is her first year at Eckerd and she is beginning as a Literature Searcher.

Aubree Fisher

ECCPL Literature Searcher

Aubree Fisher is a sophomore at Eckerd College this year and is very excited to be joining the Eckerd College Comparative Psychology Lab! She is majoring in both Environmental and Animal studies with a minor in Anthropology. Aubree is just starting off in this group as a Literature Searcher and hopes to build on the foundations of her future in working with animals. She does not have much previous work experience with animals, but has interacted with them all her life. Having pets growing up, Aubree has always been interested in the lives of non-human animals, inspiring her to be involved in this field. She hopes to gain knowledge about the relationships we have with animals and to be able to educate others about what we can learn from them.

Julia Grasso

ECCPL Literature Searcher

Julia Grasso is an Animals Studies major with a minor in Psychology, and has a key interest in anthrozoology. Growing up, she frequently visited many zoos and aquariums, including The Denver Zoo, The Henry Doorly Zoo, The San Diego Zoo, and spent a summer working near The Monterey Bay Aquarium. Throughout the past few years, Julia has participated in many programs including: a dolphin training workshop in Marineland, Florida; research on a rare cat species in South Africa and how the global pandemic has impacted them; completed a year long internship at Disney's Animal Kingdom; and currently is a Behavioral Research Intern at ZooTampa. These experiences have solidified her passion for animals, and inspired her to work toward behavior and conservation. After graduating, she wants to pursue a dream career at Disney's Animal Kingdom.

Kasey Carr

ECCPL Literature Searcher

Kasey Carr is an Animal Studies major with minors in Marine Science and Spanish. She has grown up always having animals in the house such as dogs, cats, fish, hermit crabs, bearded dragons, and crawfish. She grew up going to New England Aquarium and Mystic Aquarium. Her family also travelled a lot and would stop at aquariums along the way, such as in Virginia and Florida. Living on the beach in Massachusetts, Kasey grew up with a love for marine animals. She went to SeaWorld Camp in Orlando for several summers and that’s when her love for animals grew even greater. After graduating, Kasey hopes to pursue a job in marine rescue and rehabilitation.

Sean Jacobson

ECCPL Literature Searcher

Sean is a double major in Biology and Animal Studies. He has spent his youth traveling and working with wildlife. He has also spent time researching sloth anatomy in Costa Rica, as well as monitoring lemur behavior in Madagascar. Sean has a dog at home named Puff who is pictured alongside him. In his spare time, you can find Sean and his Bearded Dragon soaking up the sun on the beach and lounging in a hammock. Sean started in the ECCPL as a First Year Research Associate, and he continues working in the lab.

Dylan DavidOff

FAB Lab Project Lead


Dylan is a sophomore at Eckerd, and is double majoring in Marine Science (Biology) and Animal Studies. As a kindergartener she fell in love with dolphins. She would meet up with friends and family at the Baltimore Aquarium and would give them tours when she was around 10 years old! One day, she hope to work with dolphins to study how the mechanisms in their brain function to help them thrive in their environments. During her freshmen year at Eckerd she found a new love for Horseshoe Crabs and she is now leading a study on their learning behavior. She can't wait to see where her Animal Behavior & Marine Science research career takes her!


*This interaction took place while surveying horseshoe crabs in collaboration with Professor Higgins research group at Eckerd College.


Jennifer Colucci

ECCPL Literature Searcher

Fab Lab Research Aide

Jennifer is a Psychology and Animal Studies double major, from Northern Virginia. Jennifer has always had a love and connection to animals and the ocean. As a kid, she would go to the beach every year and always look forward to seeing dolphins and other sea animals. Growing up she would attend various summer camps and volunteering opportunities, which fueled her passion for ocean conservation and sea life. After many trips to the Baltimore Aquarium, Mote Marine Lab, and Dolphin Research Center, she knew she wanted to work with marine mammals. Jennifer hopes to do research and conservation with Cetaceans, and maybe open her own marine mammal lab. Her favorite animals are a Bottlenose Dolphin and her dog , Kuzco.

Makenna Riley

FAB Lab Project Lead


Makenna is an Animal Studies major with a minor in Biology. Makenna has a love and passion for all animals, but her favorites include Crocodiles, Bats, Sharks, and many other animals that are often labeled as “scary”! She hopes to someday be on the forefront of their husbandry and conservation education. Makenna also works with the Herpetology Club on campus at Eckerd, conducting research on all sorts of local reptiles, such as the gopher tortoise! Makenna is the lead of the Reptile Enrichment Project.




Meagan Smith

FAB Lab Tertiary Research Assistant

Meagan is a junior majoring in Animal Studies and minoring in Psychology. She is very passionate about marine mammals and is also passionate about dogs. Over the summer, Meagan volunteered at Biomes Marine Laboratory which focused mainly on sand sharks and a tortoise. She is currently working at Southeastern Guide Dogs working with dogs who are in training to become guide dogs for the visually impaired. Meagan is very excited to be able to work with this lab and get as much knowledge as she can out of it.

Taylor Fisher

CBLab Project Apprentice

Taylor is a double major in Psychology and Animal Studies. She is from Swansea, Illinois and has grown up surrounded by a ton of furry friends. Taylor knew from a very young age that she wanted to work with animals for the rest of her life. Her love for animals started at the St.Louis Zoo and Grant’s Farm where she would visit multiple times every summer. Throughout high school, she volunteered at her local humane society and helped watch and walk dogs in her neighborhood. She is so excited to start her work in the ASRC! She hopes to eventually pursue a career specializing in animal behavior.

Reilley McHale

Krueger Literature Searcher

Reilley McHale is a literary searcher in Professor Krueger’s Exploring Animal Perceptions of Art and Entertainment. Reilley is majoring in Animal Studies and minoring Film Studies. She is from Concord, North Carolina and has always had a passion for animals of all kinds. She has a deep love for marine animals and hopes to work with them in the future. She has done many excursions where she interacts with marine species and hopes to do more in the future.

Meaghan Findley

Krueger Literature Searcher

Meaghan Findley is a first year from St. Louis Missouri. She is planning on majoring in Marine Science with a minor in Animal Studies. She discovered her love of animals through her many pets growing up. Throughout high school, Meaghan participated in a program through the St. Louis Zoo which allowed her to educate visitors about conservation and animals in addition to working hands-on with animals. She volunteered in the St. Louis Zoo insectarium with the extinct partula snails and endangered American burying beetles eventually going on a release trip for the beetles. Meaghan in the future hopes to either work with rehabilitation efforts with marine animals or work in environmental policy.

FIRST YEAR RESEARCH ASSOCIATES

Hailey McGovern

ECCPL Literature Searcher

Ever since Hailey was a little girl she has always surrounded herself with animals. She grew up riding horses, and has owned multiple pets ranging from a hermit crab to a dog! Most recently she has been working around marine mammals. She has a particular love for dolphins and studying their behavior. After college she hopes to pursue a career in marine mammal training in managed care!

Tara Wehibe is a first-year student from Lancaster, Pennsylvania that hopes to double major in animal studies and marine biology! She has loved all sorts of animals her whole life, but got her first experiences with training at Dolphin Research Center’s summer camps for the past three years. Here is where she realized that the animal behavior route is perfect for her. After college, she hopes to pursue a career working with all species of animals!

Amelia Smalley


Arlo Kiss plans on majoring in Marine Biology. He is in his first year at Eckerd College. He has loved animals for all his life, and his interest in animal behavior began when he observed the social hierarchy of his Cichlid Tank as a child.. Arlo grew up in Illinois, and after graduation, he hopes to work closely with marine life and help preserve the natural beauty of the environment and the animals who live there.

Julia Bennet

Julia Bennet is a first year student from Cleveland, Ohio. She plans on majoring in Human Development. She grew up with cats, and her first word was even "kitty." Over her nineteen years of life she has lived with a grand total of eight cats. Most recently, she adopted a kitten named Olivia who will be coming to Eckerd second semester. In the future, she hopes to dedicate energy to helping senior cats find forever homes and dispelling superstitions on black cats.

ALUMNI

Katie Keck '20

ECCPL Lead Researcher

Katie majored in Psychology and Animal Studies. Her passion for studying animals and animal behavior was sparked by visiting facilities like Animal Kingdom and the Seas at Walt Disney World, the Atlantis resort, and local zoos and aquariums throughout her childhood. Katie's first experience in animal research was with Eckerd College Dolphin Project as part of the Marine Science First Year Research Program. After discovering her passion for comparative psychology she switched majors from Marine Science to Psychology and joined the ECCPL in her Sophomore Year. That year, she helped with data collection on their dog object permanence study, then did a husbandry internship in the fish and invertebrate department of the Mystic Aquarium in Connecticut. Katie was a Ford Apprentice Scholar with Professor Highfill as her sponsor. She conducted her research for this program at ZooTampa studying the efficacy of the facility's encounter programs and conservation pledges in producing conservation-based behaviors in guests. Katie hopes to attend a doctoral program in comparative psychology and do research on cephalopod behavior.


Miranda Cottrell '20

ECCPL Project Assistant

FAB Lab Tertiary Research Assistant

Miranda double majored in Animal Studies and Psychology, with minors in Biology and Marine Science. She is passionate about marine mammals, specifically, sirenians and pinnipeds. During her time at Eckerd she has interned and volunteered at Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Pathology Laboratory, the Eckerd College Dolphin Project, and the Bishop's Parker Manatee Rehabilitation Habitat. She hopes to work with marine mammals post-graduation completing some combination of research, conservation, education, rehabilitation, husbandry, and training. Overall, Miranda wants to increase awareness about threatened species and contribute to the vast pool of scientific knowledge about these animals.