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December 15, 2022

Student Spotlight

Annmarie Sanderson '24

Image of Annmarie Sanderson sitting in lab with various experiments and tools behind her.

Annmarie Sanderson is a Kutztown University sophomore on the road to achieving her dreams.

A native of Emmaus, Pa., Sanderson is a biology major who has obtained a great deal of experience in academic research in a short time.

She has worked for the Wild Lands Conservatory for the past two years. During her time there she connected with Kutztown alumni who encouraged her to reach out to Dr. Todd Underwood to begin her research journey. She had not had experience with research previously but knew she wanted to pursue her passions for animals and birds full time.

Sanderson followed the advice of her colleagues, and in May of 2021, Dr. Underwood invited her to join him in investigating a nesting of a rare breed of owls, the long-eared owl, at the perfect time to collect their pellets. Over the summer of 2021 Sanderson spent her time dissecting over 800 owl pellets to study their eating habits throughout the winter and comparing the bones found to mammals and birds.

In August of 2021, Annemarie started her freshman year and continued to focus on this research. After studying and preparing throughout her freshman year she completed her research. She received a Neag travel grant to the July 2022 Wilson Orthnithology Society Conference, in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where she presented her research.

“Annemarie accomplished more in one year than many students will pursue in their four years at Kutztown,” Underwood said. “She is a great example of what is possible for motivated students and what opportunities Kutztown holds for its’ current and prospective students.”

Ann Marie Sanderson smiling outside on a sunny day, with foliage and bushes in the background

Sanderson encourages incoming students to get involved early. 

 “Be more excited about research and do not be afraid to jump in as soon as possible,” she said. 

This year Sanderson continues to work on a new project started through the Kutztown University BEARS Summer Research grant. 

The KU BEARS Grant Program supports faculty and student research pairs over the summer. The goals are for undergraduate students to develop the necessary skill set to become student researchers and to provide faculty members with paid student research assistants. The grant will also provide housing for research being done over the summer on campus.  

“I hope to use my experience and knowledge to build myself even more as a researcher,” Sanderson states. 

 If you are interested in Ornithology and want to be more involved, you can join the ornithology club by contacting Dr. Underwood at underwoo@kutztown.edu. 

by Savannah Bowers '23

Amnarie standing aside her poster presentation.