I can't begin to say how grateful I am to have been part of the Şekercioğlu lab for the Spring 2014 semester. It took me five years as an undergraduate to figure out what I wanted to do with myself, and when I finally realized what it was, I was able to dive in to the lab and get some valuable and practical experience in the basics of biodiversity and conservation research. I wish I had started sooner, but the connections I made and experience I gained during my semester with the lab will invaluable as I go on to bigger and better (I hope) things in this marvelous field. Cheers, everyone, and thanks! You're all beyond great.   - Peter Bergeson   

     Working in the Sekercioglu Lab was the most fulfilling experience of my undergraduate career. Though a relatively small lab, it has many volunteers coming and going that provide a diverse group of people interested in the aspects of environmental ecology. My two graduate student supervisors were extremely helpful and supportive with my extensive project and were genuinely interested and invested in my success. However, while making sure of the fact that I knew they would be available for assistance and advice, they allowed me to run my own project with little input. This enabled me to gain the experience of conducting my own experiments and creating my own protocols through trial and error. This is science at its basics.
     I learned so much from working here, that I will always use the skills I gained in my future jobs. Not only do employees and volunteers alike understand more about environmental ecology, but I learned more about individual and team projects, banding birds, research methods, and all of the work and effort behind both small and large ecology projects. Though Dr. Sekercioglu was frequently absent from direct lab contact, he was always highly supportive and accessible through email if he couldn’t be there in person. He also took a vested interest in all of the projects taking place in his lab, no matter how small or seemingly trivial.  
      The argument can be said that I learned more from working in the Sekercioglu lab than I did from a majority of my undergraduate classes, just from the work experience. Putting into practice what I was studying in my courses taught me more about science in general than anything else. It also gave me insight to what a career as a scientists would be like. Overall, working in this lab was the best decision I ever made.
    - Sarah Windes 

     Seven members of Great Salt Lake Audubon recently had the opportunity to observe the Sekercioglu Lab bird banding operation in Red Butte Canyon. Our host, Evan Buechley, and his team received us warmly and invited us to work side by side with them as they went about their day’s work. Ten individual birds representing seven species were caught in the mist nets. Evan carefully walked us through the banding and data gathering process and allowed us to assist in releasing the birds. He explained the history and objectives of the banding project and patiently answered our many questions. To witness the beauty of part of the canyon “behind the gates” was an added bonus! Evan and his staff clearly understand and appreciate the value of this resource. Interacting with volunteers who are so enthused with their work is refreshing. This outing was clearly a highlight of the summer. We were pleased to receive an open-ended invitation to return. GSLA plans to make this a semi-annual event.     - Great Salt Lake Audubon      

      I was given the opportunity to take part in this lab because of the ACCESS program. At first, I was a little bit apprehensive about where my lab placement would be. I felt that many lab duties in the biology and chemistry department labs were uninteresting to me. I did not want to be stuck wearing eye protective goggles, pipetting liquids and running centrifuges all day. When I came into this lab, I was excited to learn about the projects that were in going on. I have always had a love for wildlife and the outdoors and so I felt that being placed in an ecology and conservation lab was a good fit.     - Maxine Gavin   

       Working in the Sekercioglu lab has been one of the most fulfilling experiences I have had at the University of Utah. I enjoyed working in the lab because it provided me with hands on experience with many things such as data entry, fieldwork, and writing research papers. Working in the lab has helped me develop what I would like to do after my undergraduate career. I would strongly recommend anyone to volunteer/work in the lab that has the chance. Cagan and the graduate students are always willing to help out to provide experience and knowledge to anyone who needs it.     - Erin Gamertsfelder

       My overall experience was very pleasant. The actual task turned out to be much more interesting than I thought it would be and the work atmosphere was very relaxed and I had no qualms about seeking help or asking about anything. My volunteer coordinator was excellent at responding to emails promptly and answering any questions I had – he was also great at explaining the project and what was expected of me. It was a pleasure to help the lab out.      - Julie Valentine