New Jersey Institute of TechnologyDepartment of Biological Sciences
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Courtney has always been interested and inspired by the complexity of the natural world. As her interest matured, and she learned more about the issues of climate crisis, urban sprawl, and the resulting loss of biodiversity, she became certain that she had to join the ranks of the academic community so she could contribute to solving these pressing problems. In the words of Jane Goodall: “Only if we understand, can we care. Only if we care, will we help. Only if we help, shall they be saved.”
Her goal is to help others discover the wonder that surprisingly complex cognition and efficient behaviors can inspire, while at the same time contributing to the advancement of behavioral research and related fields. For this purpose, she attained a B.S. in Zoology from Michigan State University and has worked in several labs locally and internationally, and is now pursuing a Ph.D in biology from NJIT.
Previous projects Courtney worked on ranged from pest-control strategies to honeybee navigation to social learning in carrion crows. Now she is devoting her attention to collective cognitive function in animal groups. She plans to undertake a project using highly controlled lab experiments to test collective decision-making in Argentine ants (Linepithema humile), with the focus of identifying the principles of collective information combination and discrimination, including how animals learn in highly collective contexts.