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Principal Investigator

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Drew Sweet

Assistant Professor
Department of Biological Sciences
Arkansas State University
Jonesboro, AR USA


Graduate Students

Alex Worm
Ph.D. Student
(co-advised with Than Boves)

I’m a central Arkansas native that is turning a lifelong love of the natural world into a research career. I earned my BS in Wildlife Ecology and Management from A-State in 2013. During undergrad, I conducted research on over-wintering Red-tailed Hawks and American Kestrels. I joined the Boves Lab at A-State in 2014 to work on range expansion and hybridization of Scissor-tailed Flycatchers and Western Kingbirds for my MS in Biology. After graduating in 2017, I worked as an instructor at Hendrix College and A-State and as an avian tech with NC Wildlife Resources Commission. I returned to A-State to join the Sweet and Boves Labs to continue work with Tyrant Flycatchers for my Ph.D. Specifically, I will be continuing research on the hybridization between Scissor-tailed Flycatchers and Western Kingbirds, incorporating whole-genome sequencing. Another aspect of my work will focus on comparing co-phylogenetic divergence of a clade of kingbirds and their ectoparasites.

Paige Brewer
M.S. Student

I am from Walnut Ridge, a rural town in northeast Arkansas. I am currently an M.S. student in Biology at A-State. In Dr. Sweet’s Lab I am helping to build an ectoparasite database and collection to document the biodiversity of bird lice in Arkansas. Additionally, we are sampling birds in various environments to measure the interactions and dispersal of different lice species. I am also learning how to analyze genetic data to answer questions about the evolution of lice. In academia I enjoy learning about ecological interactions and evolutionary processes and how these impact conservation decisions. Aside from school, I like to spend my time being in nature, cooking, and exercising. 


Undergraduate Students

Callie Beaird-Campbell

I am a nontraditional undergraduate biology student at AState. I am majoring in wildlife ecology and management with a minor in Spanish, and I will be graduating in December 2022. My two children are in grade school, and my husband is on track to obtain a PhD in environmental science in the next few years. My goal is to eventually get a doctorate in conservation science and become a professor, ideally teaching classes and mentoring students with a passion for wildlife conservation. I also hope to manage university collections in the future, with an emphasis in restoring, updating, and databasing underutilized study collections for use in research projects. The thing I love about conservation science is that it is an all-encompassing field --- specialists across so many scientific disciplines have provided sources of information that have contributed to our knowledge of current species and our ability to preserve and protect them, and collections are part of that contribution. I can’t wait to see what my future holds for me!

Mikayla Westman-Forbes

I am from Jonesboro, AR and am majoring in Biology with an emphasis in pre-Professional studies and a minor in Psychology. In Dr. Sweet’s lab, I work with crane flies and their parasitic mites, which includes DNA extractions, PCR, and imaging and measuring specimens. Working in the lab helps with my general lab skills and gives me experience with genetic techniques that will be useful for my future career goals in the medical field. Outside of the lab, I am an Ambassador for the College of Science and Mathematics. I also like to bake, and I really love to binge watch TV shows. 

Salma Abdel-Karim

My name is Salma Abdel-Karim, and I am from Jonesboro, AR. I am currently an undergraduate student at A-State, and I am majoring in Biology and Chemistry, with a pre-professional emphasis. I hope to attend medical school after I complete my undergraduate education in order to become a physician. In the Sweet lab, I am analyzing the mitochondrial genomes of lice and helping to sequencing DNA from arthropods.

Jasmine Jones
Paige Jennings
Joe Green

Lab Alumni

Kendall Lee (Undergraduate): Pilot school in Memphis, TN 
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