From Mollusks to Mammals

The Joseph Moore Museum (JMM) served as the perfect training ground for biology major Carrie Seltzer ’04. The Glenview, Illinois, native is a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Illinois at Chicago, having researched seed dispersal and forest regeneration in Tanzania for her doctoral degree.

Seltzer became involved at the JMM during her first semester at Earlham while taking a museum studies course with Professor of History Alice Shrock. Working at a museum was a requirement for the class, so since she had spent her younger years caring for animals at a nature center, performing the same task at the JMM was a comfortable fit. Other enjoyable responsibilities at the museum included organizing the invertebrate collection (especially mollusks) and leading tours for school children.

“I loved so many things about working at the museum … letting people pet the snakes, discovering interesting specimens in the collections while I was organizing, and watching Biology Research Professor John Iverson (past director of the JMM) organize the museum staff to make it all happen.”

Seltzer’s undergraduate experiences prepared her for the work she now does as an ecologist. During a summer break from Earlham, she worked as an intern at The Field Museum sorting mollusk specimens.  Now, she’s back at the Field Museum as a graduate student (in mammals instead of invertebrates). Working with kids at the JMM prepared her for her first job after graduation from Earlham, teaching science and environmental education programs for K-12 students at a field station in Virginia. Her experiences helped her discern a focus area for graduate study, as well as give her useful practice communicating science to a variety of audiences.

She recalls a number of special folks at the JMM. “Anyone who has worked at the JMM in the last generation had to be influenced by John Iverson,” she says. “He is an inspiration for how a professor can be incredibly effective in the classroom, museum, and very productive in his research. I was amazed at how he could manage the museum staff every semester to get things done.”

She also credits Carol Stocksdale, educational outreach coordinator, for giving more focus and structure to the K-12 classroom visitors and appreciates the support given by Professor Emeritus Bill Buskirk and Biology Research Professor Leslie Bishop.

Seltzer continues her involvement in education by serving as adjunct professor at Roosevelt University in Chicago and as a representative on the Earlham Alumni Council.

From Mollusks to Mammals
Carrie Seltzer 2004, Ph.D. candidate, University of Illinois at Chicago

B.A., Earlham College

Hometown: Chicago, Ill.

Major at Earlham: Biology

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