Skip to Content
Texas State University

Meet the Adventurers

Once upon a time, a group of brave Bobcats traveled across the equator to learn in the forests of Ecuador. Get to know them.

portrait of AJ Sanjar

AJ Sanjar, junior, B.S. Wildlife Biology

After graduation, I want to become a park biologist in either Yellowstone or Glacier National Park.

portrait of Austin Banks

Austin Banks, senior, B.S. Aquatic Biology

I am looking forward to getting experience in fieldwork and research, and to the amazing biodiversity of the tropics.

portrait of Bianca Gebhardt

Bianca Gebhardt, sophomore, B.S. Wildlife Biology

What I am most looking forward to is getting to personally encounter the diverse flora and fauna endemic to this area.

portrait of Bria Marty

Bria Marty, M.S. Biology

I am seriously looking forward to seeing the biggest spiders of my life, not kidding, I am stoked.

portrait of Cheyenne Gonzales

Cheyenne Gonzales, senior, B.S. Wildlife Biology

I am really looking forward to seeing some cool reptiles and cute bats!

portrait of Chloe Reeves

Chloe Reeves, M.S. Population and Conservation Biology

I want to do research, preferably out of the country. I plan on working for a couple years before I go into getting my Ph.D.

portrait of Jess Hobbs

Jess Hobbs, senior, B.S. Biology

After I graduate I hope to have a career in marine conservation, specifically in the conservation of sharks!

portrait of Lisa Koetke

Lisa Koetke, M.S. Biology

I will be beginning my Ph.D. in fall 2019 at the University of British Columbia, where I’ll be studying moose movement and behavior ecology.

portrait of Mel Pechacek

Mel Pechacek, senior, B.S. Biology

I want to be a geneticist. As of this time, I’m not sure what type. I know I want to do fieldwork. This trip was made for me.

portrait of Nina Garcia

Nina Garcia, senior, B.S. Geography Water Resources

I have always thought of Ecuador as that place I’ve wanted to go, but really thought it would never happen for me. This whole trip seems more than perfect.

portrait of Shaeleigh Wuollet

Shaeleigh Wuollet, senior, B.S. Wildlife Biology

I am a wildlife biology major with plans to become a wildlife vet. After Texas State, I plan to go to vet school and then return home to Utah.

portrait of Dr. David Rodriguez

Dr. David Rodriguez

Assistant Professor, Department of Biology

I lead this program because it provides opportunities for our students that are comparative to those at large research institutions. These international experiences are immersive and incredibly impactful.

I hope that our students gain a broader perspective of the world both culturally and ecologically, and see that a career in STEM is feasible and rewarding.


Dr. Shawn McCracken

Extension Educator, Education Abroad Office

I created and lead this program to provide Texas State students an opportunity to experience the incredible biodiversity and conservation challenges and successes in the tropics firsthand in real time. It was an opportunity I always wanted as a biology student at TXST.

I want students to understand the complexities of the ecological and human interactions in the tropics, and the role these have had historically and contemporaneously on the landscape. My greatest hope is that students recognize their connection to the tropics and the role their day-to-day and long-term life decisions have on its conservation.

portrait of Dr. Shawn McCracken