Michelle Benavidez (kamibena@umail.iu.edu)

Michelle Benavidez was raised in South Texas and attended high school at Skidmore-b.JPGTynan ISD. In Spring 2014 she graduated as a McNair Scholar from St. Edward’s University in Austin, TX where she received a BS in Environmental Science and Policy with a concentration in Biology and a minor in Sociology. For her undergraduate research she worked with Dr. Peter Beck to investigate the effects of border fence construction on ocelot conservation efforts in Texas. She began her MS in Wildlife Ecology at Texas State University in Fall 2014 working with Dr. Iván Castro-Arellano to investigate the role of small mammals in disease transmission on the island of Puerto Rico. Fall 2016, she began the Bioanthropology PhD program at Indiana University in Bloomington with Dr. Michael Wasserman’s Primate Environmental Endocrinology Lab in the Anthropology Department. At IU she is researching Howler monkeys on Barro Colorado Island, Panama where she plans to investigate microbiomes in terms of differences in diet, behavior, and environment.


Tessa Steiniche (tsteinic@indiana.edu)

I received my B.S. in Biology from Truman State University (2012), and am currently a head.shot.jpgBioanthropology graduate student at Indiana University Bloomington. My major interests are primate ecology, conservation, and environmental protection. My primary research objective is to understand how environmental changes affect nutritional aspects, especially phytosteroid content, of plant foods in primate diets. I am further interested in the interplay between diet, hormones, and behavior, and how these factors influence primate fitness.