Jonathan Sikora is a Biology major with a Psychology minor who will graduate in 2021. He is a URA Scholar and a member of the Honors College.
Title of your research project: Comparing song repertoire size in male and female Eastern Bluebirds
Describe your project: I am investigating whether male and female Eastern Bluebirds can sing the same number of songs. This will help further our understanding of female song in songbirds; an emerging field in ornithology.
Who is your mentor(s) for your project? Dr. Kevin Omland
How did you find your mentor? Dr. Omland taught my BIOL 142 class. He made a posting on blackboard looking for field assistants for an undergraduate researcher's independent project. I applied, and was eventually accepted into the lab.
Why did you choose them? I thought Dr. Omland's work was incredibly interesting, and I loved what the Omland lab was doing. I thought that having the opportunity to work in this field would would be a great way to expand my interests and find something I'm really passionate about.
How did you become interested in this project? I had already assisted with a previous project on female song in Eastern Bluebirds, and I really enjoyed the experience. Doing research out in the field was unlike any other experience I had before. When Dr. Omland offered me the opportunity to lead a similar project of my own, I knew right away that it was something I wanted to do.
What has been the hardest part about your research/what was the most unexpected thing about being a researcher? Recording birdsong out in the field can be quite a challenge. It took me a while to understand how much goes into making a quality recording. Finding the correct distance, positioning, and recording settings all proved to be difficult tasks.
What has been the most rewarding part? Having the opportunity to explain my work is definitely the most rewarding part about research for me. I love being able to explain my findings to others and how they apply to the world around us, and I'm so grateful that this experience has afforded me that opportunity.
How will you disseminate your research? I will be presenting at URCAD and possibly publishing my results in a peer reviewed journal.
What is your advice to other students about getting involved in research? Talk to your professors in your favorite classes and see if you can get involved with their work. Try to find something you're really passionate about. And don't think that research has to be strictly within the sciences, as there are many different types of research you can get involved with (social sciences, art, history, etc.)
What are your career goals? After graduation, I plan on attending medical school and becoming a physician.
Check out all of our URA Scholars: