Ian Perkins-Taylor '13, a biology major and with a minor in statistics from Swarthmore, Pa., is the recipient of a 2012 Goldwater Scholarship, which recognizes outstanding sophomores or juniors intending to pursue careers in mathematics, natural sciences, or engineering. As one of 300 scholars chosen this year, he will receive up to $7,500 to fund his undergraduate expenses for his senior year.
Perkins-Taylor hopes to pursue a career in biology research, with a special focus on animal behavior. His extensive research experience reflects his future plans. This summer, he serves as a research assistant for a team of scientists studying hyena behavior in the Serengeti grasslands of Kenya. Specifically, he will be assisting two projects exploring how hyena behavior and spacial use can be an ecological health indicator, as well as examining the effect of human-induced stress on female hyenas' level of maternal care.
Last summer, Perkins-Taylor studied forked fungus beetle behavior at Mountain Lake Biological Station in Virginia while on an NSF Research Experience for Undergraduates grant. During his research, he worked with Assistant Professor of Biology Vince Formica. Perkins-Taylor is currently in the process of writing an article on his research for publication in the Journal of Insect Behavior.
"Part of fun of these projects has been the people I have met while doing them and also the opportunity to travel and enjoy nature," says Perkins-Taylor, who is also active in the Swarthmore Queer Union, the dance group Rhythm N Motion, and a regional wind ensemble. "I hope to focus my future on field biology, since I find it very fulfilling and exciting to be able to experience nature while also doing what I love."