GRCC alumnus, now research scientist, returns to talk to biology students

We are pleased to pass on some great news about Matt Aardema, a former biodiversity student of Dr. Matthew Douglas and Dr. Pamela Laureto in the Biology Department of GRCC, where he began working with Monarch butterflies and their annual migration.

About eight years ago, Matt enrolled as a non-traditional “older” student in Biology 153 (botany) and 154 (zoology), and passed with very high grades. After taking the majority of his science classes at GRCC, Matt transferred to MSU and worked under his research advisor, Dr. Mark Scriber, in the entomology department.  His research was related to speciation events with tiger swallowtail butterflies (the large yellow ones we see in the summer).

After receiving his BS from MSU, Matt was accepted to the MSU Master’s Program, and continued to work under Dr. Scriber.  When his advisor retired, Matt took over the entire swallowtail laboratory and its program.

After graduating from MSU, Matt was accepted as a PhD student with a full-ride scholarship (worth about $300,000) to Princeton University.  He graduated with his PhD this past spring, and is currently a sponsored research scientist at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City, receiving a full-research stipend from his benefactor, the previous CEO of Verizon.

Now, Matt is involved in a great deal of advanced genetic research involving Monarch butterflies, seals, and other animals and plants. He has published papers in Evolution, and coauthored several papers with other researchers in Science and molecular biology journals (all very high level research journals).  He travels extensively around the world, engaging in research projects in Europe, and other locations, where he works with other research teams in the molecular sciences.

Several weeks ago, Matt delivered a great “mini-seminar” to Biology 154 (zoology) students and was met with a great deal of enthusiasm.

Matt is clearly a great success story for GRCC’s biodiversity program at GRCC.

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