Melina Giakoumis ’11 wanted to be in the field and combine research with her love for animals.
By 2015, Melina Giakoumis was living her dream, working as a research technician at the American Museum of Natural History in Manhattan. Her position allowed her to study Pallas’s cats and work with DNA barcoding, a project that evolved into a wildlife trade resource for the government.
Her passion was put into practice under the guidance of the dedicated faculty members in Adelphi’s College of Arts and Sciences and Honors College. Giakoumis, who majored in anthropology and environmental studies, chose Adelphi for its location, small class size and scholarships. Her instincts proved sound, and she quickly found herself forging strong bonds with faculty mentors.
Under the guidance of Anagnostis Agelarakis, Ph.D., professor and chair of the Department of Anthropology, Giakoumis worked in the forensic anthropology lab at Adelphi, then traveled to the island of Crete to do fieldwork at a major archaeological site with the Adelphi in Greece program. She traveled with Adelphi in Australia the next year, with professors Beth Christensen, Ph.D., Aaren Freeman, Ph.D., Andrea Ward, Ph.D., and Matthias Foellmer, Ph.D. She went on to be a mammal husbandry intern at the Long Island Aquarium, teach middle and high school students through the American Museum of Natural History and Columbia University and create new courses of study at the School of Visual Arts.
“That was life changing for me,” she said. “I hadn’t realized how much I liked wildlife and conservation. Even though I had already chosen it as my career path, it confirmed that this was the right thing for me.”
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