Meet Iris McFarlin, the Applied Wildlife Ecology & Spatial Movement (AWESM) Lab's new Communications Specialist. McFarlin will work to share the lab’s cutting-edge conservation research in new and creative ways with stakeholders across the country. That will include producing stories and multimedia content for the AWESM Lab's recently redesigned website, created in collaboration with the lab's research team, led by Assistant Professor of Landscape Ecology and Habitat Management and Extension Specialist Andrew Little.
McFarlin has worked previously in a variety of wildlife and natural resources positions, ranging from wildlife rehabilitator to field biologist to apiculture technician. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Animal Ecology from Iowa State University in 2017 and will be graduating with a Master’s in Natural Resource Sciences from University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 2021. She loves finding ways to blend creativity into scientific data in order to engage a broader audience.
Learn some more about Iris McFarlin, and welcome her to the UNL SNR team.
What is your position at the University of Nebraska?
Communications Specialist for the Applied Wildlife Ecology and Spatial Movement Lab
What drew you to the University of Nebraska?
I originally came to UNL for my Master's because I was highly impressed with the School of Natural Resources and felt I could get a quality graduate school experience there. I also grew up in the Midwest and just love the culture.
What aspect of working in an educational setting do you enjoy the most?
Educational settings just feel like home to me. I love being on a school calendar and the flexibility that I'm allowed in my work style. I enjoy being around the students, and I hope to be a lifelong learner myself.
What do you consider your greatest achievement?
I don't know if it is my greatest achievement, but finishing a graduate degree felt pretty good! I am a first generation college student and the first within my immediate family to attend graduate school, so it feels like an extra special accomplishment.
What is something that most people don’t know about you?
I have never broken a bone. (I was a cautious child.) The only semi-serious injuries I've ever sustained were a concussion from sandboarding and a dislocated shoulder from kayaking. I've also been bitten in the face by a Turkey Vulture and talon-ed (is that a word?) in the head by a Barred Owl, but I suppose that just comes with the territory when you work with wildlife.
What is your life like outside of work?
Most of my time outside of work is spent relaxing with my husband and our two dogs. We love exploring Lincoln, trying new craft beers, and cooking together. We also both set annual reading goals, so we spend a lot of time at coffee shops or breweries just reading on the weekends. I'm involved in my church and help serve on the women's committee there. I also enjoy getting outside whenever I can and have recently been getting into sport climbing.
More details at: https://wildlifeecologylab.unl.edu