As an undergraduate at Franklin and Marshall College (F&M), Maya worked in the Ardia lab, where she gained valuable experience in ornithological field research. In her senior independent project, Maya investigated the impact of abiotic edge effects on winter resident birds using RFID technology on supplemental feeders. This project, along with her participation in an REU program at Kansas State University and a semester in Costa Rica with the Organization for Tropical Studies, developed her passion for field biology and its application to conservation and management.
After receiving her B.A. in Biology from F&M, she began an internship with the Golondrinas de las Americas program, directed by Dr. David Winker of Cornell University. As an intern she worked with several species of Tachycineta swallows at field sites in the U.S., Canada, Argentina and Belize. She continued to develop her skills in designing and carrying out field research in an independent project that utilized RFID technology to monitor parental feeding at nest boxes.
Maya joined the Walters lab in Fall 2014. Her graduate research has focused on the Bahama Swallow (Tachycineta cyaneoviridis), an endangered species that breeds on only three islands in the northern Bahamas. Maya is investigating the ecology and life history of this poorly known species, and, through collaborations with conservation organizations, will strive to develop effective conservation strategies.
Maya believes that her participation in the IGC program has provided opportunities to discover what can be accomplished by working together across disciplines. She plans to apply the knowledge she gains during her graduate education to a career in conservation biology.