rsniatowski at


2004–2007 University of California, Santa Cruz, CA

  • B.S. Biology (Ecology and Evolutionary Biology)
  • Honors Thesis “The Comparative Method: The Importance of Controlling for Phylogeny in the Study of Seabird Breeding Biology,”

2000-2004 Cabrillo College, Aptos, CA

  • AA Liberal Arts
  • Member Alpha Gamma Sigma, Golden State Scholar- Biology, National Speech Award (NCCAA)

Job Experience

2009 Santa Cruz, CA

Researcher: Independent contractor for individual evaluating wastewater regulations in Humboldt County

  • Conducted research on the efficacy and impacts of both conventional and innovative waste and wastewater management systems, including septic systems, sewer systems, and compost toilet systems.
  • Conducted research on water saving systems, including greywater recovery systems, and compost toilet systems.
  • Evaluated current applicable county regulations and the potential for modifying those regulations to reduce environmental impacts, protect public health, and allow for greater flexibility in approving innovative and effective systems.

2007 UCSC, Santa Cruz, CA

Student Researcher: NSF Grant-Funded Tropical Forest Restoration Project

  • Researched literature, designed study, budgeted project, and ordered and arranged for materials for a research project in Costa Rica (analyzing the role of bird and bat seed dispersal on tropical forest recovery in early successional habitats)
  • Conducted field research (including mist-netting, seed-rain collection, and fecal sampling)
  • Conducted lab work (including taxonomic identification of seed species and preservation of specimens)
  • Analyzed data (using Systat) and reported findings

2006-2007 UCSC, Santa Cruz, CA

GIS Lab Assistant

  • Conducted GIS and other data entry ( including integrating and digitizing GPS data and map projections)
  • Developed and managed a GIS relational database
  • Analyzed the effectiveness of natural bird-based pest control on Sacramento Valley farmland

2003-2006 Santa Cruz, CA

Tutor, General Chemistry, Biology 20A and 20C, Cell and Molecular Biology, Genetics, and Statistics

  • Worked with individual undergraduate students to develop productive study plans
  • Led individual and group discussions (reviewing course material and clarifying concepts)
  • Reviewed graded exams, laboratory write-ups, and other student work products

2001-2002 Cabrillo College, Aptos, CA

Administrative Assistant (to the Director of the Cabrillo College Early Childhood Education Office)

  • Assisted with the preparation of class materials and organized and maintained student records
  • Provided and distributed instructional materials for student use, maintained records of materials loaned, and facilitated timely returns
  • Provided students with basic information on ECE academic requirements
  • Performed general office tasks (including word processing class assignments and other documents, using office equipment, filing paperwork, ordering materials, arranging for service and repairs, etc.)

1999-2000 Boulder Creek Home School, Boulder Creek, CA

Marine Biology Teacher Assistant

  • Developed marine science curriculum and prepared written instructions for labs and activities for K-6 students
  • Taught weekly classes (including lectures, labs, and guided activities)
  • Planned and led field trips

Unpaid/Volunteer Work

2007 UCSC, Santa Cruz, CA

Research Assistant (for two UCSC biology graduate students)

  • Conducted field research on the effects of an invasive competitor species (bullfrog) and two parasitic species (chytrid and trematode) on the survival rates of threatened California red-legged frogs
  • Collected and preserved specimens (frogs) and conducted laboratory dissections
  • Also simultaneously conducted a related study on trematode cercaria for a UCSC independent study course
  • Obtained researcher use permit
  • Collected and maintained live specimens (snails and trematodes) and conducted laboratory dissections
  • Prepared stained slides of trematode cercaria
  • Made minor adjustments and repairs to equipment

2006-2007 UCSC, Santa Cruz, CA

Database Developer (for researchers at Island Conservation group and Long Marine Laboratory)

  • Designed and developed a database of marine bird life history traits worldwide
  • Operated computers (personal and online) to retrieve, enter, and edit data
  • Analyzed data using Systat and Mesquite software
  • Prepared a written study based on database analysis (“The Comparative Method: The Importance of Controlling for Phylogeny in the Study of Seabird Breeding Biology,” 2007)

2006–2007 Point Reyes Bird Observatory, Ano Nuevo Island, and Alcatraz Island

Lab Assistant (and Bird Colony Field Assistant)

  • Conducted a full range of marine bird surveys (including by mist-netting, measuring and banding chicks, and collecting other life-history data)
  • Maintained nest boxes and observed and recorded data on chick development
  • Collected specimens from the field and from Point Reyes Bird Observatory archives
  • Dissected bird pellets and identified prey species based on otolith identification

1997-2000 San Lorenzo Valley Unified School District, Felton, CA

Classroom Assistant

  • Provided technical support and served as a resource to a junior high school teacher and his students
  • Assisted with classroom experiments and demonstrations
  • Prepared and assembled materials and equipment used in experiments and science demonstrations
  • Dismantled and cleaned equipment and returned it to storage
  • Organized and inventoried science lab equipment, supplies, and materials
  • Maintained and repaired scientific laboratory equipment (e.g. light microscopes, projectors, aquarium pumps, and cooler units, etc.)
  • Also assembled and maintained habitat aquariums and terrariums for other K-12 classrooms and obtained permits to collect and possess native wildlife for teaching purposes

1996-2002 Nature Academy at Catalina Island Marine Institute, Cherry Cove, CA

Assistant Docent

  • Gave interpretive talks to student groups in unique ecological and terrestrial environments
  • Led snorkeling and sea-kayaking activities along the Catalina coastline

1997 Santa Cruz County Fair, Santa Cruz, CA


  • Planned and obtained permits to develop a large marine ecology exhibit for the Santa Cruz County Fair
  • Monitored budget; communicated with vendors, suppliers, and donors; purchased materials; and assembled and maintained equipment
  • Scheduled, trained and oversaw work of assistant docents
  • Exhibit included nine large saltwater aquariums and touch-tanks with hundreds of native species in simulated habitats, as well as interactive educational displays and presentations by guest lecturers
  • The project won the fair’s highest award, and several of my exhibits were later donated to state parks

1993-2000 Manzanita 4-H, Zayante, CA

4-H Project Leader

  • Developed and taught biology classes for a local 4-H club (including several year-long marine biology courses, a four-month course in frog life cycles, and many others)
  • Budgeted for materials costs and field trips


  • Standard biology laboratory techniques (e.g., microcopy, pipetting, centrifuging, chromatography, specimen dissection, plant taxonomy, standard chemistry techniques, etc.)
  • Standard biology field techniques (e.g., capture techniques such as mist netting, sampling techniques such as linear transects, beach profiling, etc.)
  • Computer skills (Word, Excel, Dreamweaver, Photoshop, GIS for environmental applications, Systat, PDAP module in Mesquite)
  • Design of educational displays, including simulated habitat displays
  • Care, handling and rehabilitation of a wide range of vertebrate species
  • Scuba diving certification
  • Photography and video


Yoga, native animal rescue, backpacking, scuba diving, kayaking, drawing and painting, rock climbing, photography

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