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Tricia Miller

Tricia attaching a telemetry unit to nestling bald eagle.

What jobs did you have before coming to WVU?

I did a lot of field jobs. I’ve done everything from nest searching for songbirds to counting and trapping hawks during migration and bird surveys. I worked for Penn State before I started my master’s doing modeling in GIS for the Gap Analysis program. Then I worked for Powdermill Nature Reserve, part of the Carnegie Museum, for about five years working with Pennsylvania Breeding Bird Atlas and leading the GIS lab. I also did some turtle surveying which is one of my favorite things to do because who doesn’t like turtles?

What has been the best or most enjoyable time/class/moment in your education?

When I was in undergrad, my favorite class was herpetology. We got to go out in the desert around Las Vegas before it got heavily developed. We’d go out and catch lizards and learn about them in their natural habitat. It was fun. 

What has been the best or most enjoyable time/class/moment in your job?

I love going out in the field and trapping eagles whether that’s golden eagles in the winter and freezing my butt off or going to bald eagle nests and handling the nestlings. I actually love eagle nestlings.

What’s one thing you wish you had known in college? 

I really wish I had taken ornithology, but I didn’t want to have to learn all the bird names! I wish I would have known that I should do an internship when I was in college. I didn’t know about that stuff until after I graduated because I was super shy and didn’t talk much with my advisor.

If you won a billion dollars, what would you do with the money?

I would buy and preserve a bunch of land in different places where there are sensitive ecosystems.

What were you most grateful for in 2020?

I was grateful that my kids were old enough to handle virtual school pretty much on their own. Not entirely, though, because one is 10 years old. I look at other friends and colleagues who have much younger children. I think about how difficult it must have been and still must be for those people. I'm also thankful that my kids were able to handle virtual school as well as they did.

What have you been excited for in 2021?

Seeing my dad. I haven’t seen him since February of 2020. We went and saw them right before the pandemic hit; he lives in Illinois. With the kids in school, we couldn’t travel because we’d come back and the kids would have to quarantine. We didn’t want to do that so we have to wait until the summer.


Just for Fun

What are you currently reading? Exercised by Daniel Lieberman

What’s your favorite meal? Any meal I can eat outside with my family 

What’s a band that you can listen to on repeat? Queen

What’s one thing you can’t live without? My kids