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College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences


Airianna P. McGuire

Airianna P. McGuire  Airianna P. McGuire

School of Environment and Natural Resources 
Forestry, Fisheries and Wildlife - Honors 
Mansfield, OH 

2023 Distinguished Senior Award Recognition Reception Program (.pdf) 

2023 Distinguished Senior Award Recipient Reception Poster (.pdf) 

As a freshman interested zoology, Airianna McGuire knew she wanted a hands-on education with plenty of real-world applications and reasons to get outside and experience the environment first-hand. She found what she was looking for in the Forestry, Fisheries and Wildlife Honors program. A first-generation college student, she wasted no time getting involved in hands-on research at the Kottman Hall Aquaculture Research Lab, an experience she credits with cementing her desire to attend graduate school.

Her work at the Aquaculture Research Lab taught Airianna about genetics, nutrition, husbandry, and the scientific methods that underpin all research. She has assisted with larval rearing—a process Arianna remembers as demanding but rewarding—and 
been involved in several graduate students’ projects, providing her with invaluable learning experiences and insights into what her future as a graduate student researching aquaculture might entail. Airianna has completed her own research project aimed 
at determining the mitotic interval in zebrafish. Last year she attended the World Aquaculture Society conference, an experience which introduced her to the broader aquaculture research community and gave her a greater appreciation for the discipline. 
Airianna considers her achievements and growth in the lab to be her greatest undergraduate accomplishment. 

When the chance arose to do field work, Airianna seized the opportunity much as she did with lab-based research. Through SENR classes like Stream Ecology, Aquatic Methods, and Fish Taxonomy, she developed her field research skillset; more importantly, she was able to see, experience, and identify wildlife species in their own habitats. Coming just after pandemic-necessitated limitations on in-person learning were lifted, Airianna also appreciated the opportunity to connect with fellow classmates through field research, making for one of her most enjoyable undergraduate experiences. 

As former Treasurer and current President of TerrAqua, a water science-focused professional development club at the university, Airianna gained valuable experience leading an organization, managing its finances, and planning and executing programming 
for its membership. “This year,” Airianna shared, “we worked on a lot of really exciting things, such as field trips for students, water quality monitoring training, acquiring speakers to talk about environmental careers, and a lot more.”

Airianna recognizes Dr. Mackenzie Miller as her undergraduate mentor. Airianna shares, “Mackenzie has been working with me since I started at the lab in 2020. She has taught me almost everything I know about fish and aquaculture and has been amazing the entire time. She helped me plan my classes, helped me join the honors program, and has helped me write several research proposals and create posters, abstracts, and more. She has helped me become more confident in my abilities as a student and as a beginner scientist, and I am so grateful for her patience and understanding throughout the years.”

Her plans for after graduation include a gap year in which Airianna hopes to work at a zebrafish facility. Following the gap year, she plans to apply to graduate schools. 

Service, involvement, and accolades: TerrAqua, president, treasurer | Undergraduate Research Apprenticeship Program | STEP Program

Airianna McGuire - Press Release