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Graduate Cohort 2015

Erin Connelly studied Anthropology at the University of Washington in Seattle and worked at a chocolate factory before starting at Central. She is currently immersed in the ecology side of Primate Behavior and Ecology, and her research interests include: howler monkeys, seed dispersal, howler monkey seed dispersal. Her faculty advisor is Dr. Jessica Mayhew.
Anthony Denice graduated from Northeastern University in 2013 with a BS in Biology and a minor in History. As an undergraduate, he developed an interest in primatology and volunteered on a reintroduction project of Peruvian spider monkeys (Ateles chamek). In 2014, Anthony collected behavioral data on a community of wild black-handed spider monkeys (Ateles geoffroyi) in southern Mexico. He recently completed an apprenticeship at Jungle Friends Primate Sanctuary where he cared for New World monkeys that had been retired from laboratory research and the pet trade. Anthony plans to investigate the effects of management practices and sanctuary design on the welfare and behavior of non-human primates. His faculty advisor is Dr. Jessica Mayhew.
Emily Dura graduated from Cornell University in 2013 with a major in biological sciences and a minor in education. She volunteered as a research assistant in Peninsular Malaysia, where she gained a love of fieldwork and pigtail macaques (Macaca nemestrina). In order to continue working with the species, she moved to Arizona and worked as an animal technician. Her thesis research focuses on mother-infant interactions found in Macaca nemestrina. Her faculty advisor is Dr. Lori Sheeran. 
Brenda S. Gilpin currently holds four degrees: an AA in American Sign Language Interpreting from Los Angeles Pierce College, an AS in Animal Behavior from America’s Teaching Zoo at Moorpark College (Ventura, CA), a BA in Psychology and a BS in Primate Behavior and Ecology from Central Washington University. She was a volunteer at the Los Angeles Zoo and the Chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes) and Human Communication Institute and is currently in the process of becoming a volunteer at Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest. She is interested in innovative enrichment that will effectively increase the activity budgets of captive primates. Her thesis advisor is Dr. Lori Sheeran.
Hilary Hemmes-Kavanaugh graduated from Central Michigan University with a B.S. in Biology and Physical Anthropology. In 2012 she was a behavioral research intern at the Smithsonian National Zoological Park where she worked with a troop of six western lowland gorillas(Gorilla gorilla gorilla) and six orangutans (Pongo) in a diet study that has been used to reduce regurgitation and re-ingestion in captive apes. Hilary also has experience as a canine care specialist at the Humane Animal Treatment Society, a primate husbandry intern at the Primate Rescue Center and a wildlife biology intern at the Association to Rescue Critters. Her faculty advisor is Dr. Lori Sheeran.

Kaylen Kilfeather graduated from James Madison University in 2013 with a B.A. in Anthropology and a minor in German. She has since patched together an eclectic background- working at a nature preserve in Texas, as part of a microbiology research team, as a macroinvertebrate stream monitor, and for a company that works with dolphins. She is currently researching the gestural communication and perspective-taking abilities of northern white-cheeked gibbons (Nomascus leucogenys) at the Gibbon Conservation Center in California. Her faculty advisor is Dr. Jessica Mayhew.
Courtney Martinez graduated from Washington State University in 2010 with a B.S. in Psychology and minor in Zoology. She has volunteered at the Center for Animal Rehabilitation and Education (C.A.R.E.) in South Africa, being entrusted with the daily supervision of 11 ex-laboratory chacma baboons (Papio Ursinus) and overall care of various local wildlife. Her primary interests amongst primates are communication and cognition. Her faculty advisor is Dr. Lori Sheeran.
Kristín Ocasio received her B.S. in General Biology from the University of Puerto Rico at Bayamón. She previously worked at the Caribbean Primate Research Center, Puerto Rico. Where she worked with the rhesus macaque (Macaca mulatta). She participated in a field course in Ometepe, Nicaragua, where she studied howler mantled monkeys (Alouatta palliata). Her faculty advisor is Dr. Jessica Mayhew.

Amanda Rowe graduated from Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colorado with a B.S. in Environmental and Organismal Biology. She is a former employee of the Colorado Plateau Museum of Arthropod Diversity and intern of Out of Africa Wildlife Park where she was able to work closely with marmosets (Callithrix jacchus) and ring-tailed lemurs (Lemur catta). Her thesis research will be focused on collective decision making behavior in Tibetan macaques (Macaca thibetana). Her faculty advisor is Dr. Lixing Sun.

Amanda has been accepted into the SUNY's Interdepartmental Doctoral Program in Anthropological Sciences where she will work under the guidance of Dr. Patricia Wright to study insectivory in lemurs. Amanda has been awarded a Graduate Council Fellowship from SUNY.

Alexandra Sheldon received her B.A. in Anthropology with Honors from the University of Central Florida and B.A. in Interdisciplinary Perspectives on the Environment from the University of Oklahoma.  She has lived in Nanjing, China working as an English teacher, studied behavior in mantled howler monkeys in Nicaragua and saddle-back tamarins in Peru, and lived in the Gambia at the Chimpanzee Rehabilitation Project where she was in charge of the environmental education programs. Her thesis will be on the family dynamics of four species of captive gibbon from the Gibbon Conservation Center in Santa Clarita, CA. Her faculty advisor is Dr. Lori Sheeran.
Lily Stolar graduated from the University of Arizona in May 2015 with a major in Anthropology and minors in French and Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. She was previously an intern at the Reid Park Zoo in Tucson, AZ where she worked with gibbons (Hylobates lar) and black and white ruffed lemurs (Varecia variegate), as well as many other large and small bodied animal species. She also participated in a primate field studies program in Rwanda, where she studied 10 local species of primates in the wild, including mountain gorillas (Gorilla beringei beringei) and chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes). Lily is interested in captive nonhuman primate welfare. Her current research is focused on caregiver use of monkey specific behavior during monkey-human interactions. Her faculty advisor is Dr. Mary Lee Jensvold.


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