Charles Ford is in the business of taking science out of the laboratory.
“I engage in my share of lab work, goggles and gloves and all, but I really like the nitty gritty and to get my hands dirty out in the field, actively experiencing what I’m researching as far as the interplay of ecology, animal behavior and human involvement.”
On campus Charles served as secretary of the Student Environmental Association and public relations officer for the Arachnology Club. He also has been actively involved with the Biology Club, Association of Student Anthropologists, and Friends of the Rouge.
If that wasn’t enough to keep him busy, Charles is a senior lab assistant in the biology department.
“Of the undergraduates that I have worked with at the University of Michigan-Dearborn, Charles stands out as one of the most dedicated to teaching and mentoring in biology,” said Dr. Anne Danielson-Francois, associate professor of biology. “He functions at a graduate student level as an undergraduate.”
And that’s just some of what Charles has done.
He has conducted research in UM-Dearborn’s evolutionary biology lab for three years, including research on the mating behavior of pirate spiders. He’s already presented research at local, national and international conferences. Charles has even earned several awards, including the Charles Turner Award from the Animal Behavior Society in 2012.
“This summer he presented his work at an international arachnology meeting in Kenting, Taiwan, where he also participated in tropical spider fieldwork and conducted experiments on spider mating behavior with me and my collaborator,” said Dr. Danielson-Francois.
Charles is also actively engaged with nature and is a self-proclaimed outdoorsman. He is the president of the outdoor adventure group, Get Out and Trek Society.
“I’ve led the group successfully through the backcountry of the Grand Canyon, Costa Rica, Yellowstone, the Everglades, and Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula, among other places,” Charles said.
Charles has many adventures ahead of him though, as he continues to combine his scholarly work with his passion for the outdoors.
“To me, it’s all for nothing if you don’t get people involved and interested in what you are doing and incite new minds to continue your work and provide new takes and fresh ideas.”