Rachel Flanagan Biography



Rachel Flanagan is currently a senior undergraduate zoology student at the University of Oklahoma. Rachel has lived in Oklahoma her whole life, originally from Norman, Oklahoma where she spent her high school career going to Norman North. Rachel’s fields of interest include herping, an activity in which herpetologists go out into the field to hunt frogs and toads, turtles and alligators, or lizards and snakes. Rachel is also quite interested in sexual dimorphism and antagonistic coevolution involving the two sexes and how the differences between their characteristics can affect their sexual fitness.

Rachel has taken Molecular Techniques and Field Herpetology at the University of Oklahoma Biological Station these past two summers, leaving with skills that will benefit her future in zoological research. In Field Herpetology, taught by the one and only Geoff Carpenter (aka Carp), Rachel learned that it is not safe to try to catch a venomous snake without the proper tools, and when holding a turtle it is better to hold it upside down so that they will calm down enough for you to process them, even though defecation from the turtle is expected either way. Rachel learned so much and had such a great time with Geoff from Field Herpetology that she has been quoted saying that “it was the best class I have taken so far at the University of Oklahoma”. Rachel also worked for the Department of Agriculture in Oklahoma City this summer where she went to different counties in Oklahoma to set imported fire ant traps. Imported fire ants are an invasive species to native fire ants in Oklahoma and have a horrible sting, so figuring out if they have migrated north is important to know so that the state can set more regulations on transporting farming equipment or hay across county borders.

Rachel is concentrated on graduating this year with her bachelors’ degree in zoology. She will take a year off before applying to graduate school, and hopes to travel and decide what she really wants to research for her career. Ultimately, she finds herself is interested in too many subjects to make this decision anytime soon.

Most recently, Rachel has developed an independent project to swab museum specimens for chytrid fungus.