Observe and interact with Collections Manager Courtney Brennan and Case Western Reserve University PhD candidate Sydney Brannoch as they prepare bird and insect research specimens for the Cleveland Museum of Natural History's research collections.
Courtney Brennan is a Cleveland native and graduated from Cleveland State University with a Master's degree in Environmental Science with research focused on birdsong variation. Her work at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History began as avian specimen preparator before being promoted to Collections Manager for the Ornithology Department. As Collections Manager Courtney assists in the curation, care, and maintenance of the museum's 36,000 avian study skins, 4,000 eggs and nests, and its 1,500 osteological specimens. She also coordinates weekly volunteer specimen preparation sessions, which adds approximately 500 new specimens to the Ornithology collection annually.
Sydney K. Brannoch is a Ph.D. Candidate at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History and Case Western Reserve University whose research focuses on praying mantis systematics, morphology, and sensory systems. Brannoch, a National Science Foundation fellow, has conducted fieldwork in Vietnam, Africa, and Australia targeting praying mantises that reside exclusively on broad-leaf vegetation, bark, or on the ground. Prior to pursuing her post-graduate work in entomology, she completed her undergraduate degree in Philosophy with a focus on cognitive science from the University of Maryland in College Park, MD. Brannoch's research has included the description of a new genus, two new species (including one named in honor of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg), and the development of two novel morphological character systems to help distinguish mantis species and analyze their evolutionary history.