Current Lab Members

jenna with dog

Jenna Williams

Lab Co-Manager and Lead Researcher

Jenna is double majoring in Animal Studies and Psychology with a minor in Biology. As a First Year Research Associate, Jenna is working with other students on studying dog welfare in dorms versus houses. She has a research internship with ZooTampa this summer where she will be studying the impact certain exhibits and experiences have on the willingness of visitors to reduce their plastic waste. Jenna grew up visiting many zoos, like the St. Louis Zoo and the San Diego Zoo, but her love for animals started with her first pet dog when she was three. After graduating, Jenna hopes to earn her graduate degree in animal studies and work to improve the lives of animals.

Madeline Ketner

Lab Co-Manager and Lead Researcher

Madeline is majoring in Animal Studies and Psychology with a minor in Biology. Throughout high school, she worked at the Greensboro Science Center Aquarium as a docent, which allowed her to educate her community about the ocean and its inhabitants. There, she found her passion for educating others on animals and the natural environment. Since being at Eckerd, Madeline has had the opportunity to work with primates, dolphins and elephants. Upon graduating, Madeline would like to go to graduate school and develop a career based on teaching in higher education and animal behavior research.



Michele is triple majoring in Psychology, French, and Animal Studies. She first started working as a First Year Research Associate, studying dog behavior and cognition in the Eckerd College Dog Lab. Her love for animals started when she was 10 and first swam with dolphins. She spent the following years visiting places such as Clearwater Marine Aquarium, Dolphin Research Center, and GulfWorld Marine Park. She completed a marine mammal training internship with Southern Sea Otters at the Audubon Aquarium of the Americas. She currently is a behavioral research intern at ZooTampa studying the effect of up-close encounters on guests' conservation habits. After graduating, Michele wishes to spend the rest of her life with animals and apply her knowledge from Eckerd and ECCPL to educate the public on marine mammals, animal behavior, and conservation.

kayla with giraffe


Lead Researcher

Elephant Cooperation Strategies

Kayla is an Animals Studies major, minoring in Psychology and Leadership Studies. Growing up with 3 cats around the house, and visiting facilities like The Denver Zoo, Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, and Busch Gardens Tampa Bay she has loved animals from a young age. For multiple summers in high school, Kayla participated in the Zoo, and Vet Careers camps at Busch Gardens allowing her to gain experience working with animals like elephants, tigers, general hoofstock, hippos, rhinos, cheetahs, and many more. This furthered her love for animals, and inspired her to become an advocate for conservation of species. After graduating, she wants to pursue a career in animal care or zoo education and conservation.

Cassidy Frieling

Cassidy is majoring in Animal Studies with a minor in Marine Science. Growing up, she went to the Denver Zoo, Cheyenne Mountain Zoo and Denver Aquarium. She has been with the Denver Aquarium for two years now, where she volunteers, interns with the mammal staff, and works in dive operations. She has always loved animals, but her love skyrocketed when she started scuba diving. After graduating, she hopes to continue helping animals and go into marine mammal training and rehabilitation.


Sarah is an Animal Studies and Psychology major. Growing up in Florida, she visited the theme parks a lot and her favorite, beside Disney of course, was always Seaworld. Her first memory of wanting to be a Seaworld trainer was when she was about three years old and that dream has not changed at all! The summer before her senior year of high school, Sarah finally saved enough money to go to Seaworld San Antonio's career camp which allowed her to realize she was okay with having to wake up at 4 to prep all of the smelly fish for the day if it meant doing what she loved. After graduating, she hopes to become a trainer at Discovery Cove where she can teach guests about conservation issues while they are in the water with a dolphin.

Sonny Schoenhoft

Sonny is a double major in Animal Studies and Psychology. Her love for animals began with her 4 family dogs, foster puppy litters, and as many trips to the Brookfield Zoo, Lincoln Park Zoo, and the Shedd aquarium as possible. One of her hands on experiences with animals was as a doggy daycare attendant and shadow trainer’s assistant, this grew her interest in how animals cognitively interact together. Currently, Sonny works at Southeastern Guide Dogs in the Puppy nursery and Puppy kindergarten as a canine care technician and puppy educator. After graduating from Eckerd, Sonny hopes to become an official service dog trainer as well as travel the globe and compare how dogs behave and interact with others differently in contrasting parts of the world.


Aubree Fisher is a sophomore at Eckerd College this year and is very excited to be joining the Eckerd College Comparative Psychology Lab! She is majoring in both Environmental and Animal studies with a minor in Anthropology. Aubree is just starting off in this group as a Literature Searcher and hopes to build on the foundations of her future in working with animals. She does not have much previous work experience with animals, but has interacted with them all her life. Having pets growing up, Aubree has always been interested in the lives of non-human animals, inspiring her to be involved in this field. She hopes to gain knowledge about the relationships we have with animals and to be able to educate others about what we can learn from them.


Kasey Carr is an Animal Studies major with minors in Marine Science and Spanish. She has grown up always having animals in the house such as dogs, cats, fish, hermit crabs, bearded dragons, and crawfish. She grew up going to New England Aquarium and Mystic Aquarium. Her family also travelled a lot and would stop at aquariums along the way, such as in Virginia and Florida. Living on the beach in Massachusetts, Kasey grew up with a love for marine animals. She went to SeaWorld Camp in Orlando for several summers and that’s when her love for animals grew even greater. After graduating, Kasey hopes to pursue a job in marine rescue and rehabilitation.


Sean is a double major in Biology and Animal Studies. He has spent his youth traveling and working with wildlife. He has also spent time researching sloth anatomy in Costa Rica, as well as monitoring lemur behavior in Madagascar. Sean has a dog at home named Puff who is pictured alongside him. In his spare time, you can find Sean and his Bearded Dragon soaking up the sun on the beach and lounging in a hammock. Sean started in the ECCPL as a First Year Research Associate, and he continues working in the lab.


Ever since Hailey was a little girl she has always surrounded herself with animals. She grew up riding horses, and has owned multiple pets ranging from a hermit crab to a dog! Most recently she has been working around marine mammals. She has a particular love for dolphins and studying their behavior. After college she hopes to pursue a career in marine mammal training in managed care!