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Cari Ritzenthaler


  • Time Zone

  • Gender

  • Organization
    University of Vermont

  • Employment Status
    University / College Staff

  • Role
    Scientist Mentor: I will mentor teams of students online

  • Research Interests (300 words)
    In the past I have spent time researching Eastern Box Turtles in Ohio and soil dwelling bugs in Hawaii. Now I research how people connect to nature and adopt behaviors that protect nature! I previously explored this idea among people who attend environmental education events and volunteer with environmental organizations in the Lake Erie region. Currently, I'm working with the University of Vermont and the USDA to explore how farmers perceive their soil health and what farm management decisions they make as a result of soil testing.

  • Profile Question 1
    When and why did you decide to go into a science career?

  • Answer the question you selected for profile question 1 here (300 words):
    I've loved science for as long as I can remember, particularly animal science. Steve Irwin and Bill Nye were (in fact, still are) my science heroes. Watching Bill Nye shows in my science classes made me love science, and watching Steve Irwin in my home only increased my love for animals. I originally was interested in becoming a veterinarian but fell in love with ecology when I first learned it in high school. It was everything I wanted in science: understanding how animals interact with their environment. I majored in ecology and conservation during my undergraduate studies. During this time I volunteered in a lab helping with research, which encouraged me to continue in research and obtain my Master's degree. I'm now interested in helping others understand science and love it as much as I do.

  • Profile Question 2
    Can you share a funny/interesting lab or field story?

  • Answer the question you selected for profile question 2 here (300 words):
    My field work took place this summer in the tropical rain forest of Hawaii! It sounds like a dream come true to most people but it was actually very challenging. First thing you should know about the rain forest is that it rains a lot! Also, these forests are a large number of invasive wild pigs. The pigs are large, about 200lbs, and will charge you if provoked, especially the mothers protecting their piglets. On our first day out in the field, we were hiking through a clearing that had knee high grass. We were about half way through the clearing when suddenly something black jumped from the grass squealing loudly. It was a piglet frantically calling for mom to come save it from these two strangers that happened upon it. We quickly ran backward. Having forest on either side of us there was every chance that we placed ourselves in between the baby and the mom, which is the most dangerous situation possible. Luckily, we did not see mom at all and could make our escape through the forest. From then on, I wore jingle bells and carried a whistle to scare away any pigs before we could get in a situation like that again. Even though it annoyed my assistant, I felt much safer with them!

  • Profile Question 3
    What was the first science experiment you ever designed? How did it turn out?

  • Answer the question you selected for profile question 3 here (300 words):
    The first science experiment involved my pet hamster. He was losing hair on his bottom and I wanted to know why. I compared his health to my brother's hamster who was not losing hair. After a week of observing him and attempting to change his diet to see if it would help, I realized I had changed his brand of bedding recently. I switched his bedding back to the brand I had used previously and his hair began to grow back. I not only learned a lesson in the scientific method, but I also improved the health of my pet!

  • Availability
    I am currently available for mentoring, please send me team match invitations

  • Preferred Student Level(s)
    Middle School Students (Grades 6,7,8)
    High School Students (Grades 9,10,11,12)
    Elementary School Students (5th grade)
    Undergraduate Students

  • Preferred Investigation Themes
    The Wonder of Seeds (seed germination and growth)
    What about Pollen? (pollen and pollination)
    Agronomy Feeds the World (where does food come from?)
    The Power of Sunlight (photosynthesis and respiration)
    Celery Challenge (plant anatomy, osmosis and diffusion)
    C-Fern in the Open (sexual reproduction, alternation of generations)
    Genetics in Arabidopsis (investigation with a model species to track transmission of traits)
    Foundations of Genetics (traits, variation and environment in rapidly cycling Brassica)
    Plants Get Sick, Too!
    Tree-mendous Trees

  • Challenge, ELL, Honors
    Academically Challenged
    Honors or AP - Advanced Placement

  • Videoconference Ability

  • Capacity: How many teams at a time are you comfortable working with?

Recent Posts

Throwing Shade Cari Ritzenthaler

Eastern gray squirrel - Wikipedia

EB for life! Cari Ritzenthaler

Considering Consciousness Through The Eyes Of A Squirrel : 13.7: Cosmos And Culture : NPR

amsforgnonewosspring2024 project 1 Cari Ritzenthaler

Really? That's an unexpected result! Why do you think that happened?

Skills & Endorsements

  • Challenges Student Thinking
    Carlos Jose Pasiche-Lisboa
  • Encouraging
    Carlos Jose Pasiche-Lisboa
  • Enthusiastic
    Carlos Jose Pasiche-Lisboa
  • Experienced
    Carlos Jose Pasiche-Lisboa
  • Knowledgeable
    Carlos Jose Pasiche-Lisboa
  • Responsive
    Carlos Jose Pasiche-Lisboa


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NSF_Logo.jpg This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant #2010556 and #1502892. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.

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