2022 Graduate Stories

From Research in the Bay to Studying Endangered Turtles

By Melanie Thibeault
A headshot of Morgan Tunnell

Marine Biology major and Aquarium Science minor Morgan Tunnell ’22 will apply her research experience at RWU in her new role as a part-time technician for the Department of Herpetology at the University of Illinois. Tunnell will be researching Blanding's turtles, which are a semi-aquatic species that’s mostly extinct except for the Great Lakes region, and will conduct population studies. 

Professional Connections: “Professor Bayer is a big mentor of mine. She really helped me figure out what I wanted to do after college and put me in touch with people. I want to go to graduate school, but I wanted to do research first. I didn’t know that a research technician was something I could do without going to graduate school. It’s really cool that I was able to get this position right out of college.” 

Marine Bio Strengths Drew Her to RWU: “I came to Roger for the Marine Biology program. There were some great classes. I had to pick and choose what I wanted to do; I couldn’t fit all of them into my schedule. One class was about aquatic animal health, where I got to do a lot of dissections. Another was a herpetology elective. I was able to meet a lot of professors.”  

Hands-on Research: “With Dr. Bayer, I’m working on a research project in the bay. We’re setting up oyster cages off the dock and seeing how it affects biodiversity in the area. We’ll be filming to see how many fish go around and interact with the cages. The hope is to see more biodiversity in the area and then be able to argue in favor of more oyster farming, which is sustainable. I’m excited to be working with her on that.” 

Tunnell is from Pound Ridge, N.Y.  

Every May, as Commencement nears, RWU spotlights members of the graduating class. Suggestions are welcome. Email: stories@rwu.edu.

2022 Graduate Stories