On Wednesday, April 25th, GNCE alum Charles Van Rees (Class of 2010) returned to campus to give a talk in the Biology Seminar. Charles has just completed his PhD in Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior at Tufts University. He has also just received a Fulbright grant to continue his work on bird conservation next year in Seville, Spain. Charles's dissertation research focuses on the Hawaiian gallinule (or `alae `ula), an endangered waterbird with very specific habitat preferences. The birds live in fragmented coastal wetland areas on the island of Oahu, areas that are threatened by coastal development and likely sea level rise. Charles's research uses a combination of methods--including banding and direct sighting, genetic sequencing, and GIS mapping--to try to understand the relationships among those seemingly isolated populations. One finding that he reported was the the birds seem to like to travel along freshwater pathways, such as canals and drainage ditches. Charles is also an advisory ecologist with a non-profit conservation group, Livable Hawaii Kai Hui.
"Cyber security is high stakes for everyone -- but you have to keep calm," says Raymond Palmer '13. At a digital forensics and cyber security company, Palmer manages sales partnerships in the Asia-Pacific region, strategizing with his partners, while switching from Mandarin to Japanese at the drop of a hat. Educating local salespeople in 20+ countries, from New Zealand to India, Raymond swoops in as needed to create consensus among his partners and customers. While his favorite part of the job is traveling, Palmer also secures funding and organizes trade shows in Asia to promote his company's products. Outside of work, he tutors at the Los Angeles Public Library, helping adult Angelenos read. "I know it's cheesy, but literacy is power. I see their eyes light up when they recognize a word, and I know I'm doing the right thing."