Rest in peace, Lucas

We were all extremely shocked to learn that Lucas Shanker died in an accident at school this week. Lucas was a math and computer science major at Purdue, but we knew him from his time working in the lab as a high school student as part of the Students and Teachers as Research Scientists (STARS) program. During his summer in our lab, Lucas worked on two experiments testing aspects of decision making in bees (sampling and tracking, and social information use). We all quickly learned that Lucas was very smart, but also had a strong sense of intellectual curiosity about all kinds of topics. Equally important, Lucas was a kind, thoughtful, and truly good human being.

That fall, Lucas was featured in the Science Matters show on our local public television, KETC. He was interviewed during the summer by Jim Kirchherr about the bees and his work in the lab, and at that moment we knew he had not only understood the work at a deep level, but could also explain it with such eloquence. He could explain every single experiment running in the lab. Those of us watching behind the scenes agreed he did a better job than the rest of us probably would have on that day. UMSL Daily did a little story about his interview

STARS_KETC_shanker_16x91
Lucas being interviewed by the KETC crew in July 2015. (Photo by August Jennewein)

Our condolences go out to Lucas’s parents, family, and friends. He was well-loved in our lab, and I am certain that our response is a universal one for everyone who knew him.

Congratulations to Itachi!

Lots of congratulations for Itachi Mills, who successfully defended her masters thesis last week and is submitting her final thesis today! Much more video analysis of gruesome predation events of fruit flies still to come.

Animal Behavior Society 2017

We all made it home from the Animal Behavior Society annual meeting in Toronto. Sleep-deprived, but excited to hear and talk about so much cool science. We had a busy meeting: Michael attended as a Charles Henry Turner undergrad fellow, Itachi presented a poster on her thesis work, Andreia organized our outreach efforts, and Aimee gave a talk in the cognitive ecology symposium. Plus we got to visit with lab alumna Isabel and see her excellent talk on sampling in chickadees from her new lab. Thanks to Pablo, Matt, and Randall to holding down the lab while the rest of us traveled.

 

 

 

More congrats to Matt!

Congratulations for Matt Austin, who was recently awarded a TWA Scholarship from the University of Missouri System. This is a great award that will help fund education and research expenses for Matt’s next year, and will help make more of the genetic and anatomical additions to his summer field work possible.