Jennifer Hastings, '16
This post was updated February 6, 2017.
This fall  I began graduate school at Ohio University, getting a masters in Plant Biology. To fulfill my assistantship duties I am working as a TA under Dr. Harvey Ballard who is an expert in violets. I am living in a house with two Muskingum alumni, Christine Holmes ’16 and Sebastian Teas ’15. Currently I teach two classes, Ohio Flora, which is a plant identification class done in the field, and a lab section of Plant Structure and Development. My research topic is a study of convergent evolution and niche differentiation of Mid-Appalachia violets. My study site will be in Virginia and I will begin trips hopefully in the spring after I defend my proposal.
My time at Muskingum helped to prepare me for graduate school. At Muskingum I was able to do two summers of research, prepare a senior thesis, and give several presentations both on and off campus. My advisor, Danny Ingold, did a great job of preparing me for this next step and I am very grateful to have had him as an advisor. Dr. Ballard had contacted Dr. Ingold looking for graduate students and he passed along the e-mail to me. I was able to contact Dr. Ballard and after chatting with him, accepted a spot in his lab.
I am very grateful for the experiences that I had and friendships that I made at Muskingum. I am looking forward to what the future may hold here at OU and after.
This post was first published January 5, 2015.
Sophomore Jennifer Hastings (on right in photo), an environmental science and biology major, spent the summer of 2014 interning at The Wilds. She explains the research she was involved with, “I worked with Dr. Ingold, Dr. Dooley and several other students from Muskingum. The internship was an amazing experience; we did grassland bird research as well as vegetation surveys at two different locations at the Wilds. Obligate grassland bird species populations have been struggling, but they seem to do well on reclaimed surface mine areas.”
When she was researching colleges, Jennifer knew she wanted to attend a small school. She considered herself “pretty shy” in high school, but once she came to Muskingum, she decided to become a tour guide: “I never anticipated…becoming a tour guide. Previously I would have been terrified to spend an hour with complete strangers, telling them about Muskingum, it was really out of my comfort zone. But I went out on a limb and decided to try it and I absolutely love giving tours.”
Jennifer is also on the women's soccer team and is a part of Circle K (a service group) and several academic honoraries. She also works as a peer tutor in the Student Success Center.