Field team in Kansas, summer 2018

Research assistants in my lab are undergraduate students. Their contribution is crucial to the progress of research in my lab. During the summers, students have accompanied me to Costa Rica, Ethiopia, and Kansas; during the academic year we stay closer to home and work in the lab and the greenhouse. Students present research findings at campus or national conferences. Lab membership shifts each year as students head overseas for off-campus study, or new students replace graduating seniors. If you are interested in working in the lab, email me:

Current Members

Clarice Esch (she/her), Research Lab Manager ( Clarice joined the lab group in Winter 2022. She holds a PhD in Forestry and Ecology from Michigan State University. Her prior research focused on plant-soil interactions and their legacies. She has a fondness for plant-soil feedbacks, culturing fungi, and observing newly germinated seedlings.
Outside the lab she enjoys growing and cooking up delicious food, getting lost in a good book, and spending as much time in the woods as possible.

Scout Olip-Booth (they/them), Research Assistant (Bard ‘24): Scout began working in the lab in Fall 2021. They are majoring in biology and studio arts. They are especially interested in ecology and entomology. They are excited to be learning about the relationships between plants and fungi and are especially interested in microcellium and forest ecology. When Scout is not in the lab they enjoy hiking, painting, and looking at bugs.  

Mary Douglas (she/her), Research Assistant (Bard ‘23): Mary began working in the Collins Lab in Spring 2022. She is currently double-majoring in Biology and Music with a focus in piano performance. She is originally from Everett, Washington, and loves studying and being around all things plant-related. When not studying, she enjoys going for walks, eating cottage cheese, and growing things in her ever-expanding indoor garden. 

Emma Kuntz (she/her), Research Assistant (Bard ‘24): Emma started working in the lab in Spring 2022. She is a Biology major, however loves many different subjects. She loves to travel, be outdoors, and is always up for hiking or exploring. When not in the lab or spending time outside, she is probably reading, singing, dancing, watching tv, listening to music, or playing soccer. A fun fact is that she took part in her high school musicals, and even played the character of the witch in Into the Woods!

Fuadur Omi (he/him), Research Assistant (Bard ‘24): Omi started working for the Collins Lab in January 2022 as a research assistant. He is from Bangladesh and currently studies Biology at Bard College. In Collins lab, he participates in tasks that include counting seeds, preparing data sheets, recording and analyzing data. Omi likes doing research and plans to go to medical school in the future. In his free time, when not studying or taking classes in the RKC, Omi likes to read, draw, and watch movies and TV shows.

Ella Skinner-Sloan (she/her), Research Assistant (Bard ‘24): Ella started working for the Collins Lab in February of 2022. She is from Essex, Vermont, and is currently studying biology at Bard with an interest in zoology and ecology. She co-heads the Bard Owling Club where she leads weekly owl prowls. In her free time, Ella enjoys crocheting, going for hikes, and watching nature documentaries. 

Lab Alumni

Student Research Assistants: Isabella Jones (Bard ’21), Liam Bach (Bard ’21), Kane Moser (Bard ’21), Lucy Christiana (Bard ’19), Kara Kuhn (Bard ’18), Jewel Smith (Bard ’20), Lizzie Elliot (Bard ’18), Julie Roberts (Bard ’19), Shayla Williams (Colby ’16), Julia Rogers (Colby ’16), Emma Robertson (Colby ’16), Jack Lynch (Colby ’16), Melissa Preziosi (Colby ’16), Ari Porter (Colby ’15), Alice Hotopp (Colby ’15), Omari Matthew (Colby ’15), James Lucas (Colby ’15) 

Research Technicians: Natalie Scott (2018-2020)