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Dudley Receives TWS Outstanding Wildlife Undergraduate Student Award

Alex Dudley, a senior double major in wildlife and forestry, was honored with the Outstanding Wildlife Undergraduate Student Award for the North Central Section of The Wildlife Society last week. Dudley,Alex Dudley stands next to a Purdue student chapter of The Wildlife Society booth the president of the Purdue student chapter of The Wildlife Society (TWS), received the award at the Midwest Fish and Wildlife Conference in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, Jan. 28-31.

The Outstanding Wildlife Undergraduate Student Award is given to undergraduate students based on academic ability, scholarly achievement, work experience, extra-curricular activities and letters of reference.

“I’m honored to receive the TWS NCS Outstanding Wildlife Undergraduate Student Award,” Dudley said. “There are so many outstanding students at schools all across the section, so being chosen for this award is definitely a great achievement. I’m glad to have gotten the opportunity to be recognized for my work both at Purdue and within the NCS.”

In addition to acting as the current president of Purdue TWS, Dudley previously has served as secretary and vice president of the club. She was a member of the 2023 TWS Quiz Bowl team, which won the national title in Louisville, Ky., in November 2023. She also was part of the 2022 team, which finished third nationally. Dudley just completed her second year serving as the TWS North Central undergraduate student representative, a role in which she represented undergraduate students across the region to share their views in chapter events, worked with the executive board to develop programs for students, and has helped plan the section’s involvement in the 2023 Midwest Fish and Wildlife Conference. Dudley also has helped organize the North Central Section Conclave, set to be hosted at Purdue in March 2024.

“I really cannot say enough great things about Alex,” Dr. Elizabeth Flaherty said. “Alex is strong in all areas of the nomination criteria including her academic ability, scholarly achievement, and work experience. She serves as an excellent colleague in courses by helping and encouraging other students during activities. Alex is the reason Purdue is hosting the North Central Section Conclave (for TWS) this year. She’s done most of the work so far including coordinating the work of other officers and writing grants and pursuing other funding opportunities to make the cost as affordable as possible for all the teams attending. I know she has a very bright career in wildlife ahead of her and look forward to hearing about all her successes.”

Dudley has performed undergraduate research in Dr. Pat Zollner’s lab since her freshman year. Her work has focused on quantifying black vulture home ranges near the Southern Indiana Purdue Agriculture Center (SIPAC) and also compared estimated home ranges between hunting and non-hunting seasons of white-tail deer.Alex Dudley presents her research at the 2023 The Wildlife Society conference

She presented a first-authored research poster titled “The Influence of Deer Hunting Season on Black Vulture Home Ranges in the Midwest” at the 2022 TWS Conference. She gave an oral presentation on “Resource Pulses from White-Tailed Deer Hunting Season Constrict Black Vulture Home Ranges” at the 2023 TWS Conference and also presented that work at the 2024 Midwest Fish and Wildlife Conference. Later this spring she expects to submit a first-authored manuscript about her research to a peer-reviewed scientific journal.

“Alex is a self-motivated, and highly capable individual that has a passion for wildlife and being in the outdoors,” Zollner said. “She is very dedicated and hard-working and very bright and highly effective. Underlying the success of her research presentations are numerous days she spent volunteering to help trap vultures and working on analysis of data collected from those same animals. Alex is an exceptional student, a great leader, and a highly committed wildlife biologist. I could not imagine a better person to nominate for this award.”

Outside of Purdue, Dudley has worked as a biological science technician with USDA APHIS, assisting with the bird task force in downtown Indianapolis and on deer reduction projects in urban areas. Last spring, she also worked with Dr. Flaherty, tagging small mammals and other wildlife on trail camera photos. In the summer of 2022, Dudley was a small mammal technician on the Hardwood Ecosystem Experiment in southern Indiana.

Alex Dudley is a Purdue Honors College student. She also is a member of Alpha Lambda Delta Phi Eta Sigma Honor Society and the National Residence Hall Honorary. Academically, Dudley is a Presidential Scholar and has been on the Dean’s List each semester dating back to Fall 2020.

Dudley was honored as Purdue Forestry and Natural Resources’ Outstanding Junior in April 2023. She also was part of Purdue FNR’s Sustainable Natural Resources summer study abroad program in Sweden.

Dudley selection as the North Central Chapter Outstanding Undergraduate Student Award follows that of Amanda Heltzel in 2020

Midwest Fish & Wildlife Conference

In addition to Dudley receiving the Outstanding Undergraduate Student Award, she and two other members of the Zollner lab presented their research at the Midwest Fish and Wildlife Conference.

Undergraduate researcher Emma Johnson presented on “Influence of Flight Speed on Bias and Precision of White-Tailed Deer Aerial Surveys,” while PhD student Jonathan Brooks spoke on “Intention to Engage in Behaviors that Reduce CWD Spread Before and After Web App Use.”

Undergraduate research Alex Dudley presents on “Resource Pulses from White-Tailed Deer Hunting Season Constrict Black Vulture Home Ranges.” Undergraduate researcher Emma Johnson presented a poster on “Influence of Flight Speed on Bias and Precision of White-Tailed Deer Aerial Surveys.” Emma stands with co-author Jonathan Brooks and her poster. Row 2: Emma stands with her poster. PhD student Jonathan Brooks presents on “Intention to Engage in Behaviors that Reduce CWD Spread Before and After Web App Use.” Undergraduate research Alex Dudley presents on “Resource Pulses from White-Tailed Deer Hunting Season Constrict Black Vulture Home Ranges.” Undergraduate researcher Emma Johnson presented a poster on “Influence of Flight Speed on Bias and Precision of White-Tailed Deer Aerial Surveys.” Emma stands with co-author Jonathan Brooks and her poster. Row 2: Emma stands with her poster. PhD student Jonathan Brooks presents on “Intention to Engage in Behaviors that Reduce CWD Spread Before and After Web App Use.”

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