Lab Members

 

Joshua Plotnik, Ph.D.

Principal Investigator

Joshua Plotnik, Ph.D. is the lab’s principal investigator. He is a comparative psychologist and conservation behavior researcher who has studied the intelligence of elephants since 2005. Recently, Josh has been working in Thailand to understand how research on animal thinking can be applied directly to the mitigation of human/elephant conflict. He is an assistant professor in the Department of Psychology and the Animal Behavior and Conservation Program at Hunter College, and in the Cognitive and Comparative Psychology program at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. Dr. Plotnik has earned degrees from both Emory University (M.A. and Ph.D.) and Cornell University (B.S.). He lives in New York City.

Hunter College
Graduate Center, CUNY

E-mail: joshua.plotnik@hunter.cuny.edu

                                                                    

 

Robbie Ball

Ph.D. student

Robbie is a Ph.D. student in the CCC lab and a graduate student in the Cognitive and Comparative Psychology Program at the Graduate Center at CUNY.

He received his B.S. in Cognitive Science from the University of California San Diego in 2019. He focuses on experimental cognitive work in animals, drawing from the evolutionary and developmental perspective of comparative cognition.

E-mail: rball@gradcenter.cuny.edu

 

Sarah Jacobson

Ph.D. student

Sarah is a Ph.D. student in the CCC lab and a graduate student in the Cognitive and Comparative Psychology Program at the Graduate Center at CUNY.

She received her B.A. in Neuroscience from Colorado College in 2013. Her Ph.D. project is focused on Asian elephant crop-raiding behavior, and how individual variation in elephant behavior and cognition can help predict human-elephant conflict.

E-mail: sjacobson@gradcenter.cuny.edu

Feel free to reach out to me regarding: 

Find me on:

 

Miranda Trapani

Ph.D. student

Miranda is a Ph.D. student in the CCC lab and a graduate student in the Cognitive and Comparative Psychology Program at the Graduate Center at CUNY.

Miranda received her B.S. in Behavioral Neuroscience from Hunter College in 2017. Her M.A. project was focused on applications of giant panda cognition and personality to conservation in practice.

 

 

Ekaterina Balsan

Research student, Bronx High School of Science

Kat is a high school student studying behavioral enrichment in thick-billed parrots for her research project. She is specifically interested in animal personality and the role it plays in conservation.

 

 

Summer Fiori

Master’s student, Animal Behavior and Conservation Program

Summer is a Master’s student in the CCC lab.

She received a B.A. in Psychology from Waynesburg University in 2017. Her M.A. project is focused on wild elephant behavior at various landscapes in Thailand.

Sasha Montero

Master’s student, Animal Behavior and Conservation Program

Sasha is a Master’s student in the CCC lab.

She received a B.S. in Animal Biology from UC Davis in 2017. Her M.A. project will be focused on elephant cognition and sensory perception in collaboration with the Oklahoma City Zoo.

 

 

Emma Nguyen

Research student, Bronx High School of Science

Emma is a high school student using camera trap video data to study the use of watering holes by wild Asian elephants in Thailand. She is specifically interested in patterns of elephant behaviors near watering holes.

 

 

Amanda Puitiza

Master’s student, Animal Behavior and Conservation Program

Amanda is a Master’s student in the CCC lab.

She received a B.S. in Biochemistry and Human Biology from Hunter College in 2017. Her M.A. project will be focused on elephant cognition and sensory perception in collaboration with the Oklahoma City Zoo.

 

Serene Rivera

Master’s student, Animal Behavior and Conservation Program

Serene is a Master’s student in the CCC lab.

Serene is pursuing her Master’s focusing on animal behavior. Her senior thesis project was focused on the effect of the lunar cycle on elephant crop-raiding activity in Thailand.

 

 

Matthew Rudolph

Master’s student, Animal Behavior and Conservation Program

Matthew is a Master’s student in the CCC lab.

He received a B.S. in Biology from UCF in 2017. His M.A. project will be focused on elephant olfaction as it relates to comparative cognitive research and applies to Human Elephant Conflict.

E-mail: Matthew.Rudolph39@myhunter.cuny.edu

Feel free to reach out to me regarding: 

Find me on:

Caitlyn Thai

Masters student, Animal Behavior and Conservation Program

Caitlyn is a Master’s student in the CCC lab.

Caitlyn received a B.A. in Psychology from the University of California, Santa Barbara in 2018. Her M.A. project will be focused on Asian elephant body states as they approach watering holes versus crop fields in Thailand.

 

 

Sateesh Venkatesh

Master’s student, Animal Behavior and Conservation Program

Sateesh is a Master’s student in the CCC lab.

Sateesh received his B.A. in Biology from the College of Wooster in 2010. His M.A. project will be focused on applications of elephant personality and cognition to human/elephant conflict mitigation in Myanmar in collaboration with the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute.

E-mail: Sateesh.Venkatesh37@myhunter.cuny.edu

Feel free to reach out to me regarding: 

 

Mal Walton

Master’s student, Animal Behavior and Conservation Program

Mal Walton is a Master’s student in the CCC lab.

She received a B.A. in Biology and a B.A. in Theatre Arts Performance from SUNY New Paltz in 2014. Her M.A. project will be focused on reptile cognition.

 

 

Leah Wersebe

Master’s student, Animal Behavior and Conservation Program

Leah is a Master’s student in the CCC lab.

Leah Wersebe received a B.A. in Global & International Studies and Cinema & Screen Studies from SUNY Oswego in 2012 and an M.A. in International Politics & Business from NYU in 2015. Her M.A. project is on the demographics of Asian elephant populations in western Thailand.

E-mail: Leah.Wersebe35@myhunter.cuny.edu

Feel free to reach out to me regarding: 

 

Lab Alumni

Alumni of the CCC lab have brought their skills and expertise to organizations such as:

 

 

 

 

 

Joshua DiPaola – M.A., ABC Program: Investigating the use of sensory information to detect and track prey by the Sunda pangolin (Manis javanica) with conservation in mind.

Tamara Aird – M.A., ABC Program: Conservation education in urban and rural schools in Thailand

Ariel Lombardo Aghishian – M.A., ABC Program: Contagious yawning in cats

Elizabeth Krisch – M.A., ABC Program: Accurate and inaccurate social cue following in domestic horses

Dalia Miller – M.A., ABC Program: Object permanence in Asian elephants

 

Dr. Joshua Plotnik
Department of Psychology
Hunter College, the City University of New York

695 Park Avenue, Room HN 611
New York, NY 10065
(212) 396-6442

Visit the Comparative Cognition for Conservation Lab on Facebook and Twitter

Copyright © 2018, Joshua Plotnik