Name: Susan Tinch

Age: 25

Hometown: Rocky Face

High school: Northwest Whitfield High School

Major: Biology

Expected graduation date: Fall 2016

Why did you choose Dalton State? Very close to home and affordable.

What do you plan to do after graduation? I plan to go on to graduate school. My main focus will be on wetland management and/or conservation ornithology.

Who is/was your favorite professor and why? This is a tough question to answer. My two favorite professors have to be Dr. John Lugthart and Dr. David DesRochers. They both are passionate about what they do and carry great enthusiasm and energy in their classes. I have worked with them both on research and other projects at Dalton State and they are great to work with. Dr. DesRochers is challenging me to think outside the box and problem solve. All of this has led to both educational and personal growth. Both professors believe in my potential and are encouraging, thoughtful mentors.

What are some of your biggest achievements or accomplishments at Dalton State? Since I began my research at Dalton State with Lakeshore’s bird and plant communities, I have had the opportunity to present my findings at two scientific conferences; Southeastern Ecology and Evolution Conference and Association of Southeastern Biologists. These conferences were not only stimulating and exciting opportunities to talk with other scientists my age about research, but also provided valuable experience 

presenting my research in a professional setting. I was proud to represent Dalton State at these events and even won first place for undergraduate research poster at SEEC.

In addition, part of my research is to identify wetland plants called sedges and rushes. I was not expected to identify what species they were but to classify them to genus. I really wanted to know what species we have at the wetland and was told by several professionals that this would be no easy task. It certainly was not easy but has been challenging and enjoyable to identify these difficult wetland plants. I am in my second season of collection and found 13 species of sedges and one rush in the previous season. There will be additional species not previously collected to identify this season.

What are some of your favorite activities in and around Dalton? I enjoy hiking the Dalton State trails with family and friends. I have also recently taken up photography and love taking photographs of the different birds found at Lakeshore Park wetland.

What is your best memory so far as part of the Roadrunner Nation? If I had to pin down my favorite memory at Dalton State, it would have to be the day I decided to make my major biology. I was talking to Dr. DesRochers in his office for one of the first times and I was telling him about the difficulties I was having deciding on what major best suited me. I had always, deep down, wanted to be a field biologist but had told myself years ago I was not smart enough to be a scientist. He asked me what my interests were and when I was finished answering, he smiled and told me, “All I heard from you is I love biology.” He then encouraged me to think about majoring in biology and I took his advice. From then on I have pushed myself to do my best. Because I believed in myself, I am now in a degree and conducting research I enjoy.

What is the last book you read? I am currently reading “The Winemaker’s Marsh.”

Favorite comfort food? Pastas and hearty soups.

Favorite line from a movie? “I feel I was denied, critical, need-to-know information.”- Tremors 2

What is your guilty pleasure? Chocolate.

What do you feel most proud of? For a long time when it came to my college career I had my “blinders on” so-to-speak. I went to class and left, not really making friends or getting involved in anything. Since I’ve found myself as a biologist, I have made many great friends and have been involved in: research at Lakeshore Park wetland, presentations at scientific conferences such as SEEC and ASB, and the partnership between Dalton State and Brookwood Elementary. I am proud of finally believing in myself and doing my best in college.

What is a skill you’d like to learn and why? Brevity. I tend to take too long to get my point across.

What cheers you up? A kind word and hug from my husband.

What is your favorite book? I really enjoyed “The Lord of the Rings” books.

What is your favorite childhood memory? Growing up on a farm, I had lots of animals to play with. One of my favorite things to do was catch insects and reptiles.  

What did you want to be when you were a kid? I wanted to be a paleontologist.

What does it mean to you to be part of the Roadrunner Nation? For the first time in my life, I feel like I am doing what I am meant to. I have Dalton State’s caring professors and students to thank for that. I have been asked specifically to work on projects and am honored to represent my college. I can proudly call myself a scientist thanks to the college and that is something I will carry with me all my life.