Parlee Center for Science and the Common Good

  • Dan Selechnik holding a snake

Dan Selechnik

CSCG Fellow

My main interests lie in the ecology of reptiles and amphibians, but it is difficult for me to narrow them down further from there. I really enjoy studying aspects of ecology such as behavior and selection agents, but I’m also passionate about conservation. My goal as a CSCG fellow is to advocate for animals which are declining by showing how integral they are to their ecosystems. To achieve this, I wish to earn my PhD in ecology and evolutionary biology.  Afterwards, I would like to work in academia and teach at the college level, but I am also interested in joining conservation agencies.

My Major / Minor / Campus Organizations

Major in Biology / Biology Supplemental Instruction (SI); Class of 2015 Council; Treasurer, Tri Beta Biological Honor Society; President, Cub and Key Honor Society

My Favorite CSCG Events

<– Click on the links to the left! 

My Research

I worked as a 4-credit researcher in the Cameron lab, in which we used yeast as a model organism to investigate the cellular effects of infectious misfolded protein conformations called prions. Specifically, we engineered mutations through lab techniques such as PCR and plasmid DNA transformations in order to create strains we wish to work with. We then made quantitative and qualitative comparisons between different strains for various measures, including growth and fitness.

I also worked as 1-credit researcher in the Straub lab, where we investigated the relationships between an important crop, an insect pest, and an insect predator. Although data have shown that the predator voraciously eats the pest in a lab setting, we attempted to determine if this is also the case in the field. 

My CSCG Courses

POL-399 (Science and the Common Good); MCS-275 (Decoding Science); PSYC-355 (Adolescent Psychology); ENV-360 (Conserving Biological Diversity); PHIL-344 (Blame & Shame); IDS-201 (Interdisciplinary Independent Study)

My CSCG Civic Internship

IUrsinus hosts completed my internship with the Institute on Science for Global Policy  (ISGP) during the summer of 2013. In this role, I helped to organize a science policy conference on water sustainability in Lincoln, Nebraska. I participated in interviews with expert scientists as potential conference debaters and edited position papers that they were required to write. I also spent a good deal of time researching the policy—politics interface, specifically with regards to science and environmental policy. Afterwards, I went on to help to plan the ISGP-UC Conference Pandemic Preparedness at Ursinus College, in which prominent scientists visited our school to be challenged by policy makers in government and the private sector.


Life After Ursinus

I am pursuing a Ph.D. in Biology (Ecology&Evolution) in the Rick Shine Lab at the University of Sydney in Australia. I am studying the invasive cane toad species, to answer ecological and evolutionary questions about invasions.