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The Student News Site of California State University, Stanislaus

Signal

The Student News Site of California State University, Stanislaus

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Faculty Profile: Dr. Ryan Terrill

Dr.+Terrill+photographed+in+his+office.

Dr. Terrill photographed in his office.

Dr. Ryan Terrill joins the Stanislaus State Department of Biological Sciences this semester as an Assistant Professor of Vertebrate Zoology. After researching birds throughout places such as Mexico and South America, Terrill is now watching the birds of Turlock, California. In fact, in his office in the Naraghi Hall of Science, he has a list of bird species that he has already identified at Stan State.
Here’s what Terrill had to say to the Signal about his teaching style and his broad research background.
Q: Tell me a little bit about your teaching background. What would you like students to know about your teaching style?
A: Most of my work before this has been research based. I taught a class in Ornithology, but my experience in classrooms is more as a student than a teacher. I want students to get out of classes, what I wanted to get out of classes which is to have an enjoyable, memorable, learning experience. While in my classes there are details that I have to teach, I try to focus on: what are the big pictures, and how does what we are learning relate back to the big picture. I find that engaged me more, and I think that with most students that engages them pretty well. I view teaching as a service to the students and I try to conduct my teaching that way.
Q: Tell me a little bit about your research background. What would you like the Stan State community to know about your research?
A:I have studied birds most of my career and I have really broad interests in the evolution, ecology, and conservation of birds. My most recent work has been in Mexico doing a project called Mexican Bird Resurvey Project where we’re trying to understand changes in Mexican bird life over the past hundred years and we found a lot that both climate change and habitat loss are having big negative effects on birds. I’ve also worked a lot in South America, where I participated in the description of a new species of bird and wrote and am the second author on the first ever field guide to Bolivia – Birds of Bolivia. The other side of my research has been in feather growth; the evolution of how birds grow their feathers and the patterns that they use to grow their feathers. Much of my research has looked into, how a bird lives its life and uses its feathers, guides the evolution of the patterns that it uses to replace its feathers.
Dr. Terrill also invites students to join him on bird walks that take place the first Friday of every month starting at 8 am meeting between the Naraghi Hall of Science and Little Lake.

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Faculty Profile: Dr. Ryan Terrill