Biology Bear grads often lead careers at least in part working behind the lens of a microscope.
Their impressive professional achievements should also be brought into focus.
This includes the work of biology alumna Krissy Sardina. She recently received the Early Career Professional of the Year Award from the Southwest Region of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Showing commitment to conservation
According to the Oklahoma Fish and Wildlife Conservation Office’s (OKFWCO) monthly report, Sardina began working in the office as a biological sciences technician in September 2019.
She was promoted to the position of permanent fish biologist by April 2020.
The monthly report credits Sardina with maintaining an active role in all OKFWCO projects since starting at the office. This includes making vital contributions to studies centered on invasive carp.
Sardina also serves as a new employee mentor. She is a frequent field work leader and volunteer for the Tribal Wildlife Grant Selection Committee.
Beginning her biology journey at MSU
Sardina served as a graduate student in the research lab of Dr. Day Ligon, biology professor at Missouri State, for two years while attending MSU.
She developed two research projects as starting points for her career path during her time there.
One centered on improving housing conditions for a captive population of alligator snapping turtles. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service maintains Sardina’s work as part of a reintroduction program, Ligon shares.
Sardina’s other student project centered on investigating how the turtles develop a healthy gut microflora. This fuels efficient use of their digestive systems.
“Both of Krissy’s studies served as key contributions to conservation efforts,” Ligon said. “Her findings are especially relevant as alligator snapping turtles are considered for listing under the Endangered Species Act.”
A remarkable researcher
Ligon considered Sardina a standout in his lab.
Her work ethic led her to a student internship at Tishomingo National Fish Hatchery. Then, an eventual job offer there.
Sardina worked at the hatchery for about a year before beginning her role at OKFWCO.
“Krissy was incredibly dedicated to her research,” Ligon said. “She worked impossibly long hours in the vivarium of Temple Hall to ensure she completed the best work that she could.”
About the award
The Early Career Professional of the Year Award serves to support service employees who demonstrate a commitment to and passion for furthering the mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
The service grants the award to one current service employee annually.
“It speaks volumes about Krissy that she was even nominated for the award, much less selected over all other nominees,” Ligon said. “Recognition at this early stage in her career will help to open doors for her in the future.”