Cecilia Wagner

Major: Animal Science

Home School: Cornell University

OTS Program: African Ecology and Conservation

Spring 2024

Cecilia Wagner

“To fully immerse yourself into AEC, you have to go with the flow and trust the OTS staff. They will take great care of you!

There were countless memorable moments this semester, but a select few stand out. Seeing a pack of wild dogs feeding on the Skukuza golf course was my favorite wildlife spotting. I also loved snorkeling on Windmill beach during our trip to Cape Town. The kelp forests are incredibly biodiverse; we saw anemones, sea urchins, small sharks, numerous fish species, and an octopus!

You should absolutely take the leap of faith and join this course. It was incredibly rewarding academically. If you want to learn practical research skills, such as statistics on R or map-making on QGIS, this program is right for you. Plus, you get to experience a wide variety of beautiful landscapes and ecosystems. It is an intimate program so you will get to know your classmates very well. To fully immerse yourself into AEC, you have to go with the flow and trust the OTS staff. They will take great care of you!

My group studied the plant-plant interactions between Adenium swazicum, a threatened succulent species in KNP, and Euclea divinorum, a woody shrub. We found that swazicum are growing close to divinorum, often under their canopy. Swazicum growing close to and shaded by divinorum, tend to be taller and have larger canopies. These same plants have fewer flowers
and buds. It is clear that divinorum is impacting the growth and reproduction of swazicum, which is important when developing management plans!

I want to pursue a career in biological science, whether that be ecology field research, or laboratory oriented work, such as reproductive animal biology. I have many interests, but the constant between them all is better understanding interactions between organisms. As of right now, I plan to take time after undergrad to hone my interests and find the right masters or doctorate program. I am also passionate about education, so I hope to incorporate teaching into my career.

Ask our Alumni what they think of our Program!

You can contact one of our Alumni Ambassadors directly to ask for their impressions and recommendations for the programs we offer. Send a message to Cecilia to learn more about her experience in our African Ecology and Conservation Program.