Throughout its more than 50 year history, Stroud Water Research Center has provided a unique opportunity for hundreds of university students to work alongside freshwater scientists and educators. Courtland Hess and Adam Gochnauer, the newest members of the Entomology Group, were introduced to the Stroud Center as summer interns. Hess joined the Stroud Center as a full-time staff member in July 2019 and Gochnauer in January 2020.
Tell us about your goals and aspirations. What do you aspire to accomplish while working at the Stroud Center?
Hess: I’m excited to expand my knowledge and put it to use here at the Stroud Center. There’s a lot to learn about aquatic insect identification and other laboratory and field procedures. I look forward to continuing to learn and educating others in the skills that I master.
Gochnauer: My most immediate goal right now is to familiarize myself with species-level identification of mayflies, stoneflies, and caddisflies, in order to pass the Society of Freshwater Science’s taxonomic certification exam. I’m also excited to teach the new entomology interns, to help inspire the next wave of scientists coming up.
What has your experience been like so far? Has anything surprising or remarkable happened? How do you feel about being here?
Hess: My experience at the Stroud Center has been great. I knew it was a renowned research institution but I didn’t truly appreciate the scope of its work until I became a part of it. I not only enjoy my work and the feel of the campus, I also truly enjoy my co-workers’ company.
Gochnauer: After my internship here, I knew I wanted to work in an environment like the Stroud Center. Had I known that I would find my way back here I would have been ecstatic! One of my favorite aspects is that the Stroud Center gives each employee the “big picture,” encouraging everyone to learn about the work of the different departments and research groups.
What experiences in your life led you to your work at the Stroud Center?
Hess: For as long as I can remember I wanted to work with insects, thanks in no small part to my parents, but a presentation by an entomologist at a high school assembly really solidified it in my mind. I went to Millersville University and took every entomology-related class I could with Dr. John Wallace; he was the one that referred me to the Stroud Center’s internship program. I learned a lot as an intern but I know that there is always more to learn.
Gochnauer: Biology has always been a fascination of mine and knew it was what I wanted to spend my life doing. Both my parents are teachers — my mother specifically a science teacher — so they always encouraged my interest in science. It was an easy decision to study biology at Millersville University. I was introduced to the Stroud Center during a tour with Dr. John Wallace’s aquatic entomology class, and he encouraged me to apply for an entomology internship following my graduation.
Tell us about your hobbies and interests. What do you enjoy doing in your free time?
Hess: I enjoy activities like hiking, reading, and tinkering with technology. But what I enjoy most of all is spending time with my family and friends, whether we’re hanging out at home, going out for a bike ride, or playing games together.
Gochnauer: I enjoy everything from playing video games with friends to hiking and camping. Rock climbing has become a favorite activity of mine. Between the views you experience while climbing outside and the challenge of pushing yourself to climb harder routes — it’s great for exercise and stress relief.