The Team

Caren Cooper

Caren Cooper, PhD

Caren is an Associate Professor in Forestry and Environmental Resources at North Carolina State University and Assistant Head of the Biodiversity Research Lab at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences. Caren’s research focuses on bird behavior and reproduction, residential stewardship and conservation, and community pollution bio-monitoring and mapping. She has two current citizen science projects: Sparrow Swap and Sound Around Town. She is the author of Citizen Science: How Ordinary People Are Changing the Face of Discovery.

Suzanne Hartley

Suzanne is a graduate student at North Carolina State University pursuing a master’s degree in Fisheries, Wildlife and Conservation. She became interested in birds, insects, fungi and plants through her experience growing up on a farm in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Her previous research experiences include working with juvenile salmon and aquatic insects in Alaska and studying the use of parasitic nematodes as a control for an invasive cranefly. She is also passionate about sharing the curiosities of science and the natural world with people of all backgrounds and ages.

Mariah Patton

Mariah is a recent graduate from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville with a Bachelors of Science, majoring in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. She is interested in plant genetics and biotechnology exploration, bat population dynamics of Eastern TN in the face of white nose syndrome, ecomorphology of ant species throughout eastern US in relation to climate and climate change, macro invertebrate herbivory and nitrogen deposition effects on dominant grassland plant species, and feral horse herbivory effects on desert plant community dynamics. Presently, Mariah is very excited to be a part of engaging the public in more research through citizen science at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences. She helped successfully expand the Sparrow Swap in 2016 and is now currently working to kickstart an urban soundscape project called Sound Around Town. In her free time, Mariah also is an amateur gardener and baker, a semi-professional roller derby skater named Tempest on the Carolina Roller Girls, and loves to assist in bat conservation outreach, drink good stouts, go on long hiking and camping trips.

Aubrey Wiggins

Aubrey is a naturalist who enjoys all wildlife from bluebirds to turtles to moths. At the Museum, Aubrey can be found helping curate mice in the mammal’s collection, entering data for the herpetology research lab at Prairie Ridge Ecostation, talking to visitors about flesh eating beetles, and being an essential part of the Sparrow Swap Team. As part of the Sparrow Swap Team, Aubrey photographs the house sparrow eggs when they arrive at the Museum, monitors the team’s bluebird boxes, creates Facebook posts, and keeps everybody smiling.

Nicole Williams

Nicole is a senior undergraduate student at North Carolina State University pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Science and minor in Political Science. She hopes to someday be involved in revising and creating environmental policy that will accurately benefit the planet. She also loves doing hands-on activities that positively impact our ecosystems, such as restoration projects. Being a Florida native, Nicole has a special interest in wanting to protect coastal ecosystems. When she’s not busy at work or studying for exams, Nicole enjoys watching TV or simply spending time with friends.

Kathryn Jewell

Kathryn Jewell is an undergraduate at NC State studying Zoology and Fisheries, Wildlife and Conservation Biology. She is an intern for the spring semester, and is currently spending the majority of her time working on the SpotEgg software until the eggs start coming in! At NC State, she is a member of Kappa Alpha Theta and when not studying, enjoys being outside and training for her spartan race!

Hannah Mazeski

Hannah is a sophomore in Environmental Technology and Management at NC State. Her love for the environment developed at a young age as she grew up in a small town in Oregon. Her main interests are in studying the effects contaminants and pollutants have on ecosystems, she is also interested in developing green and bio friendly products one day.

Heather Colter

Heather is currently a junior undergraduate student at North Carolina State University, majoring in Fisheries, Conservation, and Wildlife Biology. She is definitely interested in wildlife and loves spending time outdoors identifying birds, trees, and the like. She is thrilled to be involved with the Sparrow Swap team and obtain some great experience working in a research lab within the museum. She has always wanted to work within a museum ever since volunteering throughout high school at the live animal center in the Museum of Science in her native Boston, MA. When Heather isn’t in the lab or studying for school, you can find her walking around downtown Raleigh exploring, or vegging out on the couch with some buffalo wings watching Grey’s Anatomy on Netflix.

Emma Hirschy

Emma is currently a Freshman at NC State University, majoring in Environmental Science. Her interests and hobbies include sustainability, herpetology, and exploring the outdoors. She is excited to keep learning about the environment in the coming years at school. As a kid, she has always had an interest for birds, and would document which species came to her backyard feeder. Because of this, Emma is very excited to intern with Sparrow Swap and gain research experience.

Citizen Scientists (You!)

You too can be part of the Sparrow Swap Team by joining the project, sending house sparrow eggs to the Museum, and sharing your observations and feedback with us. You can join the project in SciStarter by clicking here.

Past Members

Christine Hawn, PhD

Christine is an ecologist and science communicator at UMD Baltimore County. Christine received her PhD in Zoology at North Carolina State University with a focus in conservation biology.

Cole Parlier

Cole is currently a senior at NC State double majoring in Fisheries, Wildlife, Conservation Biology and Environmental technology.

Imani Bell

Imani is a recent graduate of the University of South Florida. She has a bachelors in science and majored in Environmental science.