Shakira Jinez is a master’s student of Biology at SUNY Buffalo State College with a bachelor’s degree in Animal Behavior, Ecology, and Conservation from Canisius College. She has spent the past 3 years conducting undergraduate and graduate research in vertebrate conservation with her most notable research experience involving the Eastern hellbender and large ungulates. In an environment where independence, leadership, and responsibility are strongly encouraged, Shakira thrives with great confidence. Her current study explores the viability of flight initiation distance in elk. Outside of her research background, she has experience in animal care and volunteer experience with troubled and disabled youth.