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Elizabeth Mack '15

Elizabeth Mack '15

Kinematics of Prey Capture and Swallowing in Sand Boas: Balancing Conflicting Functional Demands

Major/minor: Biology
Hometown: Hanover, PA
Project mentor: Dr. Frances Irish

Project Details:

  1. Briefly describe your SOAR project.
    I studied the feeding mechanisms of sand boas and am investigating how each part of their anatomy moves in order to balance the conflicting demand of burrowing observed in these species.
  2. What motivated you to participate in SOAR? 
    I wanted to experience research outside of the classroom and gain knowledge in a new field of study.
  3. What are the results of your work on this project? 
    We gathered a fair amount of data through filming, and we are in the process of analyzing it. I am continuing my research into the Honors program.
  4. What are your personal takeaways from the project? And do you plan to continue work on this project after SOAR? 
    I gained knowledge of different research methods and learned that sometimes there is not a definite answer. I thoroughly enjoyed the process of research and discovering alternative improvements to methods throughout the project as we worked to make our observations.

Biographical Information:

  1. What clubs/sports/activities/community service are you involved in? 
    I am a member of the varsity softball team, pre-health club, Sigma Sigma Sigma, and am the Senior Resident Advisor of Jo Smith.
  2. Have you received any awards/recognitions here? 
    I made the dean’s list for three semesters, have made the All-Conference and All-Region awards for varsity softball, and am an academic All-American.
  3. Briefly, what are your future plans and career goals? 
    I plan to begin dental school next fall and become either a general dentist or an oral surgeon.