Anytime I need motivation, I remind myself of my goals and how this will benefit me in the future with the passion I have for wildlife research.

Curt Vandenberg
Graduate Student/Quail Research

  • Alum
College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources
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Related Department
College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources
Lincoln, NE
College Major
Agricultural and Natural Resources
Year Graduated

Curt Vandenberg previously managed a microbiology lab but decided to follow his true passion, which was to research wildlife. After leaving the lab, Curt graduated from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, where he spent the next two years working around the country in the wildlife field. His jobs included working with deer, tortoises and bats. Curt is now enrolled at A&M-Commerce and working on his master’s degree in the College of Agricultural Science and Natural Resources while researching native Texan quails.

A Conversation with Curt

What would you tell a student who is thinking about attending A&M-Commerce?

You'll enjoy A&M-Commerce if you enjoy small classes and personal relations with professors.

What is your favorite part about working on the Quail Research Team?

My favorite part is working up close and personal with the birds during my research. I also enjoy working with others on the quail team who are studying different aspects of the quails. Working with teammates allows me to be a part of their research as well. I'm not only learning about my research but gaining knowledge and experience from my teammate’s research.

Tell us about a project you are currently working on or recently completed.

I am testing the hypothesis that captive-reared California valley quail exhibit different predator avoidance behavior than wild California valley quail, which results in higher mortality rate and failed introduction to the wild. This study will examine the differences in terrestrial and aerial predator avoidance behavior between captive-reared and wild-translocated California quail in a controlled environment. The results of this research will provide additional knowledge on the predator avoidance behavior differences, which will be useful for future quail population restoration techniques.

Tell us about one of your favorite professors and why.

My advisor, Dr. Kelly Reyna. It is because of him that I am here. He has helped guide me through my research. He likes to give his students their own space and let them learn for themselves. He is full of ideas and can always get me what I need. I always get an extra boost of motivation after I talk to him in person. He always has a story to tell.

What are your plans for after graduation?

I plan as starting a career as a wildlife biologist or returning to school for a Ph.D.

Have you received any scholarships? If so, which ones?

I have received the following;

  • Julie Gough Memorial Endowment
  • Dwight & Pam York Agricultural Endowment
  • Aloha Hausner EB Scholarship IWLA
  • Nebraska Division Scholarship
  • Portia A. Goke in Memory of Alvin W. Goke Scholarship CPBS
  • Room and Board Scholarship
  • Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Holling
  • Memorial Scholarship
  • Early Abroad Scholarship
  • Summer Global Getaways Scholarship

Educational Background

  • M.S., Agricultural Sciences & Natural Resources, Texas A&M University-Commerce, 2020-Present
  • B.S., Fisheries and Wildlife, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, 2017

Awards or Honors

  • Dean's list, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, 2017
  • Graduation with Honors, UNL

Research Interests

  • Animal behavior
  • Animal movement patterns
  • Predator-prey dynamics
  • Ornithology
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