Notes from Nature Team Member: Aly Seeberger

Name: Aly Seeberger

Title: Graduate Student in Museum & Field Studies

Where do you work primarily? As a graduate assistant in the Zoology collections for the University of Colorado Museum of Natural History.

What you do in your day job? Anything and everything, from skinning and prepping specimens to cataloging and data entry. Once I carried a taxidermied egret across campus and someone asked me if it was alive.

What’s your role with NfN and what do you hope to gain from it?  If relevant, how will your research benefit?  My role with NfN is primarily “interested party”, but I have helped with some of the text development and beta testing for the program. I hope to integrate NfN and its users into my master’s thesis, with deals with citizen science participants’ motivations. This research will benefit the citizen science community at large by making it easier for institutions to identify and fulfill the needs of participating citizen scientists, and by satisfying these users so that their work with citizen science projects is as rewarding as it can be.

What’s the most exciting aspect of citizen science work from your point-of-view? There is essentially nothing about citizen science that I don’t find exciting, but I think for me the best part of these projects is the potential for exposure to “real science” in a way that few people get, especially those who don’t work in scientific disciplines. There is something about seeing a scan of a museum ledger, a piece of ancient papyrus or a ship’s log, that makes this data real in a way that I think really makes it meaningful. For us, museum records themselves may not be so thrilling, but even those are a glimpse into a behind-the-scenes part of the field that few people have access to, and that is a huge draw as well as a really interesting and rewarding experience.

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