Former Students

Chelsea Center

Tyler Thomsen

I am from Normal, Illinois and graduated in May 2017 from the University of Wisconsin–Whitewater with a B.S. in Biological Sciences and an emphasis in Marine and Freshwater Aquatic Biology. I worked for the Illinois Natural History Survey the summer of 2015 interning as a Fisheries Field Technician with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources where I traveled central Illinois doing stream surveys. In addition, I studied abroad in Australia for two semesters in 2016. In pursuit of my M.S. in Biology, I joined Dr. Lamer’s lab in June 2017 where I used GPS satellite transmitters to track the movement of Asian carp in the Upper Illinois River. I am a certified SCUBA diver and enjoy underwater photography.
CM-Center@wiu.edu

Ashley Stanley

Ashely Stanley

My name is Ashley Stanley and I’m from Danvers, Illinois. I received my bachelor’s degree at Eastern Illinois University in Biology. At EIU I was introduced to fisheries through ichthyology and fisheries management classes with Dr. Colombo. My junior year I took an internship with the Illinois Natural History Survey in Kaskaskia and helped with creel work and regular field sampling for the first time. My senior year I did an independent study cutting and aging silver carp cleithra, sorting larval fish and cutting channel catfish spines. After I graduated I worked as a technician with the Illinois River Biological Station in Havana. After witnessing all the great opportunities that come from having a graduate degree I made the decision to apply to Western Illinois University. At WIU I looked at ontogenetic shifts in diets of blue catfish using species specific stable isotope signatures. I used hoop nets, and trotlines to target blue catfish. I utilized fishing tournaments to obtain tissue samples as well.
AL-Stanley@wiu.edu

Tyler Thomsen

Tyler Thomsen

I am from Thurston, Nebraska and I graduated from Emporia State University with a B.S. in Biology with a concentration in Ecology and Biodiversity in May of 2017. While attending Emporia State University I worked at the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks, and Tourism as an environmental technician. This allowed me to travel all around the state conducting zebra mussel detection surveys, gathering samples for disease testing, and performing vegetation mapping in different Kansas impoundments. I began my Master’s degree in Biology in the Spring of 2018. Working under Dr. Lamer, I conducted research on the abundance of larval Asian carp in the Mississippi River utilizing light traps and trawling.  In my free time, I enjoy fishing for catfish, hunting and, watching the Chicago Bears.
tc-thomsen@wiu.edu

Maddie Tomczak

Maddie Tomczak

I am from Cleveland, Ohio and graduated from the University of Toledo in May 2018. I received my B.S in Environmental Science with a concentration in Biology. While attending Toledo, I worked as a technician for the Ohio DNR tracking the spawning of Grass Carp in a Lake Erie tributary. My honors thesis focused on the developmental stages of the Grass Carp eggs collected to describe and track the progression of development from spawning ground to river mouth. I am pursing a master’s degree in Biology at WIU working on the age, growth, and emergence of larval fishes in the Upper Mississippi River. In my free time I enjoy hiking, camping, skiing, and snorkeling.
mg-tomczak@wiu.edu

Zack Witzel

Zach WitzelI am from Centerville, Minnesota and graduated from University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point in the spring of 2016 with a major in fisheries and a minor in biology. During my time at Stevens Point I was the president of the fly fishing club for the 2014 school year and the treasurer of the Student Chapter of the American Fisheries Society for the 2015 school year. I also had the opportunity to work for the USGS Wisconsin Cooperative Fishery Research Unit for two years until I graduated. In the summers of 2016 and 2017 I worked at the Michigan State/Michigan Department of Natural Resources Black River Sturgeon Facility as a research technician. While at the facility I had the opportunity to work with all life stages of lake sturgeon and the biotic and abiotic factors that affect their survival. In the spring of 2018, I joined Dr. Lamer’s and began my research. In my free time, I enjoy spending time outdoors. I enjoy shooting my bow, bow hunting, fishing, hiking, canoeing, and just being outside. I am currently working with the Illinois Natural History Survey at the Illinois River Biological Station as a Large River Fisheries Ecologist.
zj-witzel@wiu.edu

Dominique Turney

Dominique TurneySome would say “Ah, da region? You’re just a Region Rat!”, but I just say I am from Valparaiso, IN.  In 2016, I received my B.S. degree from Purdue University with a double major in Wildlife and Fisheries & Aquatic Sciences.  As an undergraduate, I had the exciting opportunity to work on a variety of research projects.  My junior year, my project analyzed the effects of changes in environmental and anthropogenic stressors during the 2010 Deep Horizon Oil Spill  on the reproductive and physiological success of Gulf Killifish (Fundulus grandis).  As a senior, my project focused on using creel survey data from Indiana and Illinois DNR surveys to analyzed mark-recapture modelling to obtain estimates of angler abundance and migration in Lake Michigan waters.  Since graduation, I have worked as a naturalist aide for the Indiana DNR evaluating glacial lakes and reservoirs under the fisheries management biologists.  I began pursing my M.S. at WIU in January 2018 with my thesis research focusing on paddlefish movement and habitat usage through acoustic telemetry above Lock and Dam 19 on the Mississippi River.  In my free time, I enjoy hanging out with my pup, geocaching, and scuba diving when I get the opportunity! I am currently working with the Illinois Natural History Survey at the Illinois River Biological Station as a Large River Fisheries Ecologist.
dd-turney@wiu.edu

Jesse Williams

Jesse WilliamsI am from Rochester, Illinois and graduated WIU the Fall of 2016 with my B.S. My degree consisted of Biology with and emphasis in Zoology with a minor in Law Enforcement.  I recently completed my masters thesis at WIU quantifying daily growth increments from YOY Asian carp otoliths above Lock and Dam 19 on the Mississippi River. I started my fisheries career volunteering with the graduate students and quickly fell in love with working on the water and with fish. I enjoy fishing and spend as much time as I can around any kind of water body. These two passions led me to the Asian Carp otolith project as an undergraduate. I enjoy hunting, riding four-wheelers, and pretty much anything with a motor in my spare time. I am currently working with the Illinois Natural History Survey at the Illinois River Biological Station as a Large River Fisheries Ecologist.
JA-Williams3@wiu.edu

Boon La Hood

Boone La HoodI’m originally from Spring Bay, Illinois.  I received my B.S. in Zoology with a specialization in Fisheries and Aquaculture and a minor in Environmental Studies at Southern Illinois University Carbondale in 2014.  I am interested in the management of invasive fish species, such as Asian carp.  I’m also interested in the preservation and restoration of threatened and endangered sturgeon species.  My thesis research involved using lighted traps to sample for larval fish in Pools 17, 18, and 19 of the Upper Mississippi River.  I’m was looking for evidence of Asian carp reproduction and surveying populations of native fish larvae.  My hobbies include jigging for crappies, bow hunting, and listening to Cubs games. I am currently working with the Illinois DNR in as a district biologist in southern Illinois.
BM-Lahood@wiu.edu

Charmayne Anderson

Charmayne Anderson

Originally from Melrose, Wisconsin, I have spent most of my life living and working on my family’s 58 cow dairy farm. I graduated with a B.S. degree from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls (fall 2014) majoring in Conservation with minors in Animal Science and Biology. I started my masters degree in Biology at WIU in spring 2016. My thesis research involved validating aging structures in Asian carp from the Illinois River, using microchemistry and stable isotopes to determine the natal origin of Asian carp in Pools 16-19 of the Mississippi River, and determining the presence of young-of-year Asian carp found in native piscivores fish diets in lower Pool 19 and its tributaries. I enjoy hunting, fishing, Green Bay Packers, and cheese curds. I am currently working with the Illinois DNR in Yorkville, IL.
CL-Anderson3@wiu.edu

Cortney Cox

Cortney Cox

My name is Cortney Cox.  I am from Palmyra, Missouri.  I graduated from the University of Missouri with a B.S. in Fisheries and Wildlife Sciences in 2014.  I came to WIU in the summer of 2015 to pursue my master’s degree in Biology.  My research involved the harvest and exploitation of asian carp.  We collected both bighead and silver carp in the Upper Mississippi River, and applying jaw tags in order to determine if the fish are caught again and harvested, and where they have moved to.  In my free time I enjoy hunting, fishing, and painting.
CL-Cox@wiu.edu

Allie Lenaerts

Allie Lenaerts

I grew up in Wolcott, Indiana and received my Bacholor’s degree from Purdue University with a major in Wildlife and a minor in Fisheries in 2013. While attending Purdue, I assisted a graduate student with an Asian Carp movements project and completed an independent study examining silver and bighead carp eggs collected from the Wabash River. Since graduating, I have held technician jobs in Massachutes, Oregon, Washington, and southern Illinois. I finished my Master’s degree research at Western Illinois University in August 2019. My thesis at WIU focused on the commercial harvest and reproductive potential of Asian Carp in the Upper Mississippi River. We determined reproductive potential of Asian carp by quantifying fecundity, gonad somatic index, and egg size from mature females.  I am currently a Large River Fisheries Ecologist for the Illinois Natural History Survey in Yorkville, IL.
lenaers@illinois.edu

Katie Mainor

Katie Mainor

I completed my master’s degree at WIU in May 2018 studying common snapping turtles in Illinois. The goal of my project was to identify management objectives for common snapping turtle harvest within the state. I collected demographic data from 8 locations in 2015 and 2016. Using this data I will populate life history tables and estimate population generation times to better understand snapping turtle population dynamics in Illinois. My research interests include conservation and management of reptiles and amphibians, population monitoring, distribution, habitat use, relative abundance, conspecific behavior and movement of imperiled species. I graduated with my B.S in zoology from Western Illinois University in 2015.
Katiemainor13@gmail.com

Tad Locher

Tad Locher

Originally from Springfield, Illinois, I spent a lot of time hunting and fishing in the outdoors of central Illinois; most notably on the Illinois River, duck hunting with my dad since I was 2 and a half years old. It was this early exposure to wildlife that led me to pursue an education at WIU in all things biology, but more specifically, fisheries. I developed a well rounded background of fisheries techniques working on the Illinois River throughout my undergraduate years, and then furthered my knowledge of riverine systems by working on the Mississippi River during graduate school. I successfully defended my master’s thesis in March 2018 studying blue catfish piscivory on bighead carp and silver carp in the Mississippi River.  I am currently working as an Illinois DNR fisheries biologist in Springfield, IL.
tad.Locher@illinois.gov

Andrew Mathis

Andrew Mathis

I am from Ottawa, Illinois, and I graduated from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign in 2014 with a B.S. in Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences with a concentration in Fish and Wildlife Conservation. I began pursuing my M.S. in Biological Sciences at WIU in August 2015 and successfully defended my thesis in March 2018, My thesis research focused on assessing movement and habitat of Asian carp in the upper reaches of the Illinois River using experimental GPS tags. This is the first study to use GPS transmitters on fish in a riverine system. In my free time, I enjoy fishing, hiking, and watching sports.  I am currently working as a Large River Fisheries Ecologist with the Illinois Natural History Survey in Yorkville, IL working on various Asian carp projects.
mathis5@illinois.edu

Eli Lampo

Eli Lampo

I received my B.S. in Biology at WIU in 2014 and recently completed my M.S. in Biology at WIU. My thesis research focused on establishing a length relationship between digested silver carp hard structures and silver carp length, and then applied that relationship to determine the size of silver carp being predated by largemouth bass in the Illinois River. I also had the opportunity to work full-time as a research assistant at the Kibbe Field Station from 2016- 2018 working closely with the USGS monitoring Asian carp movement on the Upper Mississippi River using acoustic telemetry technology. WIU and the Kibbe Field Station provided exceptional resources that allowed me to pursue a career as a Fisheries Biologist. I am currently working with the Illinois DNR in Yorkville, IL.
Eli.Lampo@illinois.gov

Cory Anderson

Cory Anderson

I graduated with my  Master’s in Biology in the spring of 2016. My thesis was titled Juvenile Asian carp as forage in the La Grange Reach of the Illinois River. For this project we looked at 1527 diets from 9 predator species to see if they contained young of the year Asian carp, and in what quantity. We also conducted this study on Pools 19 and 20 of the Mississippi and dissected over 2200 diets from 21 predator species. As part of my research assistantship, I have spent two years working at Kibbe conducting boat electrofishing on Pools 19 and 20 of the Mississippi for the Long Term Resource Monitoring Program. Additionally, I co-led a team in charge of the LTEF electrofishing on Pools 17, 18, and 21 during the year 2014. The research assistantship and thesis research really boosted my interest, knowledge, and experience in freshwater fisheries ecology.  I am currently employed by the US Fish and Wildlife Service in Wilmington, IL.
cory_anderson@fws.gov

Rebekah (Haun) Anderson

Rehbekah Anderson

Originally from McNabb, IL, I graduated from Western Illinois University in May 2010 with a B.S. in Zoology and was the co-founder of the WIU Subunit of the IL American Fisheries Society.  My graduate research compared fish community composition and structure among river reaches of the Upper Mississippi River to determine the effects of Lock and Dam 19 in structuring fish assemblages using Long Term Resource Monitoring PDC boat electrofishing from June 2013-October 2014. I have had the opportunity to present my research findings at three conferences in the Midwest this year and presented at the national AFS meeting in Portland, Oregon in August 2015. I am currently employed by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources in Utica, IL as the Upper Mississippi River biologist.
Rebekah_Anderson@illinois.gov