For most people insect repellent is a necessity during outdoor activities throughout the summer. But for Clint Meyer, repelling insects is the last thing he wants to do.
You could say Meyer has a passion for the six-legged creatures and as an assistant professor of biology at Simpson, he has the opportunities to fulfill that passion.
“To be honest, I did not become a biologist because of anything I ever read in a text book,” Meyer said. “For me, it was being out in the field catching and identifying insects that helped me decide what I wanted to do with my life.”
Despite being the newest faculty member in the biology department, Meyer has wasted no time submerging himself in research opportunities across campus.
“Last summer, two students and I performed field samplings of soil, plants, and invertebrates to assess the recovery of restored wetlands in the central Platte River Valley of Nebraska,” Meyer said. “This summer, those students and I are quantifying the early emergence of periodical cicadas in the Flint Hills of Eastern Kansas and I am also working on an interdisciplinary project with Mathematics Professor Heidi Berger and several students in which we are looking at novel approaches to model fly populations.”
Just recently Meyer secured funding from the Iowa Science Foundation to work on another project which studies the effects of tile drainage on the quality of headwater streams in central Iowa.
Aside from actually performing research, Meyer also co-chairs Simpson’s Annual Research Symposium, which is designed to showcase the outstanding scholarly works produced by Simpson students. More than 60 projects were submitted this year where participants presented their research projects in papers, performances, posters and round-table discussions.
“Many graduate and medical schools are looking for students who have experience conducting research, and the opportunities at Simpson help make students competitive for post-graduate options,” Meyer said. “I believe there is an increasing research presence on campus, which I hope will continue to benefit our students.”
Although Meyer admitted that conducting research can be frustrating at times, he says it’s also a very rewarding experience.
“Research keeps me moving forward in my discipline by motivating me to find out what other researchers are doing and where gaps in knowledge may exist,” Meyer said. “Because of all of the skills and work you put in to get to the end results of your research, you can’t help but feel a sense of accomplishment and ownership of the project.”
Meyer’s work has been published in many articles and journals and he believes it’s tremendously important for him to continue conducting research.
“Doing research helps me stay active in topics and skills that I teach in my classes,” Meyer said. “One of the best ways I can improve the way I teach scientific writing to students is by being active in writing myself.”
6 Things about Clint Meyer • The strangest thing in my office is: A bald faced hornet nest. I’m 90% sure it’s vacant. • Book I think everyone should read is: Desert Solitaire by Edward Abbey. • One thing people wouldn’t know about me is: I have a horseshoe kidney. • My inspiration is: My family. • If I wasn’t a professor, I would be: Back home on the farm. • If I won the lottery, I would: Set up one heck of a research scholarship at Simpson College. Then I would move to Austin, Texas.