GENESEO, N.Y. -- Goldwater Scholar, Edgar Fellow, and SUNY Chancellor's Award for Student Excellence winner Jeff Doser ’18 merged research and athletics at Geneseo.
When Doser visited Geneseo he immediately noticed the strong community.
“Everyone works together here, as opposed to being competitive amongst each other,” he said. “Geneseo is like one big team.”
A competitive swimmer since the seventh grade, Doser knows the importance of teamwork.
“Swimming is a huge part of my life. It also played a significant role in what college I attended,” he said.
Doser, from Penfield, N.Y., appreciated schools with strong academic programs, with coaches equally as adamant about being successful in the pool and in the classroom. He began his studies at Geneseo in 2014 as a part of both the Blue Wave swim team and as an Edgar Fellow in the College’s Honors Program, with a double major in math and biology.
In his sophomore year, Doser became a member of Associate Professor of Biology Kristina Hannam’s research lab. They worked together collaboratively to develop a research proposal for a project analyzing how to use sound to learn about the environment, primarily using bird species to track the impact of climate change. Hannam and Doser submitted a proposal which was approved.
Doser received a Geneseo Foundation Undergraduate Summer Fellowship and the Dr. Wendell and Barbara Rhodes Research Award to continue working on the research project during the summer. He used a College Undergraduate Travel Grant and the Dr. Sorrell E. Chesin ’58 Endowed Research Award to fund his work the following year.
Doser continued on to present his research at the North American Ornithological Conference in Washington, D.C. While there, he interacted with top researchers in the field.
“The conference helped me understand how other researchers were doing their work, and how to become a better scientist,” he said.
Doser continued with his research, while planning an application for a Goldwater Scholarship. He worked with Distinguished Teaching Professor of Mathematics Olympia Nicodemi and Director of National Fellowships and Scholarships Michael Mills to assist in a lengthy application process.
“They were both instrumental in helping me become a better science writer. If you aren’t a good science writer you can’t get research funding or grants,” said Doser.
Doser also rose to team captain of the swim team. He spends about three hours a day in the pool, practicing with 50 or so teammates.
“I learned a lot about my leadership style with this experience, and how other people want a leader to act,” said Doser.
In the end, Doser received the Goldwater Scholarship, the country’s most prestigious undergraduate scholarship given in the natural sciences, engineering and mathematics. It is awarded annually to about 300 college sophomores and juniors nationwide.
“I can compete with students from Yale and Harvard with this award, which really says a lot about the state of Geneseo’s academic departments,” said Doser.
Doser’s research is new and different and adding to the field of soundscape ecology, a field that has only been developed over the past 20 years. He is continuing his research by constructing an environmental monitoring system to identify bird sounds so that he doesn’t have to do so by hand.
“Identifying cardinal or blue jay sounds can be tedious,” Doser admitted. His research applies the sounds of birds to help scientists better understand habitat loss and the general effects of humans on the environment.
“The best part of Geneseo is that I have been able to draw from many different academic departments for the same project. You couldn’t get that at a larger school where the departments are too large to interact between,” said Doser. Doser reached out to faculty from the physics, biology, and mathematics departments to better craft his research.
Emeritus Distinguished Professor of Physics David Meisel was a standout faculty member for Doser and served as a mentor.
“He is the science guru and showed me how to become better, and he taught me how to perform research more efficiently,” said Doser.
After Geneseo, Doser is on his way to Michigan State University to pursue a doctorate in forestry and a master’s degree in computational mathematics, science and engineering. He is working alongside associate professor Andrew Finley in the department of forestry and geography there to continue his research conducted at Geneseo. He would like to stay in academia following graduation and find employment as a professor.
“I have received so many opportunities to advance my career as a scientist, yet I have also been able to engage in swimming, and I have made life-long connections that really embody what Geneseo is to me: a community and a lifelong team,” said Doser.
- By Kitrick McCoy '19