Hi! My name is Emery Valencia and I’m now a 4th year undergraduate at UCLA! Currently I’m pursuing my bachelor's degree in Biology with a minor in Conservation Biology. Ultimately, I plan to go to veterinary school (hopefully Davis!) and become a large animal veterinarian with a specialty in equine medicine.
I joined the marmoteers this summer as a research assistant, and what can I say? I really like it here! The marmots are super cute, the scenery is amazing, and the people are some of the coolest I’ve ever met. Anyways, back to those marmots! At the lab here in RMBL my job consists mostly of conducting observations, recording the behavior of various colonies of marmots that live near the RMBL site. This data could be used for almost anything, from determining population dynamics to analyzing social structure. By now I’ve memorized almost all of the marmot individuals with their very different personalities! The pups have particularly distinct personalities and are perhaps my favorite things here. Although it can be hard sometimes to record PLAY PLAY PLAY PLAY (but more detailed of course), I can’t get over their chubby faces and arms! Afterwards, I come back and do some data entry...
Other than that sometimes I get to do trapping where we take the marmot’s measurements and hair, blood and fecal samples. We also mark their backs with a special dye that allows us to recognize them. Fortunately, I participated in drawing blood and, at first, couldn’t hold the syringe right! Well, everyone needs a little practice at something they’ve never done before! But, thankfully, when I did do it, it went very well and here starts my veterinary career!
I’m so happy that I get to be a part of the Marmot Team, especially since this year is the 50th anniversary of the study! Although I’m not working on an individual research project here, I’m so glad to be exposed to field research and have ideas that I plan on pursuing when I get back to UCLA!