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College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences

CFAES

EMMA R. ROBINSON

Emma Robinson Emma R. Robinson

School of Environment and Natural Resources
Forestry, Fisheries and Wildlife
Dublin, OH 

2024 Distinguished Senior Award Recognition Reception Program (.pdf) 

2024 Distinguished Senior Award Recipient Reception Poster (.pdf) 

Emma Robinson once dreamed of studying color in coral reefs. Instead, she has taken advantage of opportunities in the College of Food Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences to study color in bird feathers, intern with the Schiermeier Olentangy River Wetland Research Park (ORWRP) and develop a new passion for science communication.

As a freshman, Emma became a field technician in Dr. Christopher Tonra’s lab, assisting graduate students monitoring Prothonotary Warblers. Her days started before sunrise, navigating almost waist-high waters and buttonbush thickets twice her height, in one of Ohio’s forested wetlands. She learned these special birds spend summers in Ohio, winters in South America, and are a state Species of Concern. She has realized that global conservation can begin in our backyards.

She has also undertaken an honors research thesis about UV Reflectance in Prothonotary Warbler feathers. Her work led her to the college’s Ornithology Club, which she now serves as president. She helped plan, support, and facilitate the “Lights Out” monitoring program, an ongoing effort to document bird window strike victims on Ohio State’s Columbus Campus during migration season. She will graduate with research distinction.

Starting her undergraduate program during the COVID pandemic taught her “success is resilience and persistence through the changes we all face in our lives,” she said. Once classes began to meet in person again, she “appreciated the community of peers and colleagues who were there to learn and make the world a better place.” Emma is grateful to mentor Brett Baughman. He “invests time and energy into each ENR scholar” and helps them succeed, she said.

Emma has engaged with the ORWRP, first as a passerby and then as an intern. According to her nominator, she volunteered at the on-campus bird banding station in 2021 and became an outreach intern in 2023. As an intern, she monitored the Tree Swallow nest boxes and assisted with K-12 outreach programs and tours. As the social media manager, Emma transformed the ORWRP’s limited social media pages with engaging content. She developed guidelines for future interns to use, to ensure posts are professional and provide consistent Ohio State branding. She created opportunities for involvement for other students in the School of Environment and Natural Resources, CFAES, and the entire university. Thanks to Emma’s hard work, the facility is now inundated with requests for research and volunteer opportunities.

In addition to her studies, internships, and club activities, Emma has worked for three years at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium as an educational interpreter, a camp-in counselor and an animal care intern in the aquarium. She said, “The knowledge about ecosystems and wildlife I learned in class helped me with creative metaphors and allowed me to share my own experiences learning about nature.” She hopes zoo guests now look at wildlife outside of the zoo, too.

After graduation, Emma plans to combine her “passions for science and art as a science communicator and storyteller while still nurturing her scientific queries as an ecologist.”

Service, involvement, and accolades: School of Music’s University Band, oboe | Creatives at the Barnett Cohort, Barnett Center

Emma Robinson - Press Release

Emma Robinson - Photo Album