Honors Projects


The goal of this research was to evaluate the impact of the BGSU Herpetarium on students, both as a means of academic success and preparation for the workforce. The Herpetarium offers undergraduate students the chance to volunteer, serve in leadership positions, conduct research, and develop a network of like-minded peers and faculty. Because of the great opportunities for student involvement, we hypothesized that the Herpetarium would prove successful in positively impacting students’ college experiences and leave them better prepared to graduate and take their next steps. To assess these impacts, a variety of qualitative and quantitative data was collected. Six BGSU alumni/Herpetarium volunteers were interviewed over the phone about their time as undergraduates and their responses were analyzed for trends in attitudes about the Herpetarium. Also, historical survey data gathered by Drs. Eileen Underwood and Matthew Partin were studied as a means of gauging the impact of working in the lab on students’ attitudes toward biology, reason for working in the lab, and the impact of the experience on retention at BGSU. These two data sets support the claims that the Herpetarium aids in student retention, creates a sense of community among students, and leaves them well-prepared for life after graduation. To obtain quantitative data, the group of Herpetarium volunteers from the exit survey was matched to a control group of former BGSU students who did not volunteer, but had similar incoming ACT scores, GPAs, and majors. It was shown that significantly more students in the volunteer group graduated from BGSU as opposed to those in the non-volunteer group. However, the years to graduation were not shown to be significantly different between the two groups. Overall, the Herpetarium has a positive impact on students across numerous majors and programs.


Biological Sciences


Ecology and Conservation Biology

First Advisor

Dr. Eileen Underwood

First Advisor Department

Biological Sciences

Second Advisor

Dr. Eric Worch

Second Advisor Department

School of Teaching and Learning

Publication Date

Spring 5-1-2018